Ahh… the 80’s… such fond memories. Bad hair, loud colors, leg warmers and classic TV shows (I wish we could bring back some of these TV shows today). I thought that I would pay tribute to this fun time period in history. TV programs were funny, family oriented and had all types of quirky plots but, we loved every minute of them. I invite you to stroll with me down memory lane with 10 of my favorite “TV Families” of the 80’s.
1. Who’s the Boss – 1984-1992-Tony Danza played Tony Micelli widower, father of Samantha (Alyssa Milano) and former baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals who was forced to retire due to a shoulder injury. He ended up taking a job in an upscale Connecticut neighborhood as a live-in housekeeper for Angela Bower (Judith Light) a divorced advertising executive who lived with her son Jonathan (Danny Pintauro) and her man-crazy mother Mona.
2. Different Strokes-1978-1986- Phillip Drummond, a widowed Manhattan millionaire and president of the mega-firm Trans Allied Inc., adopts two orphaned black brothers from Harlem 8-year-old Arnold and 12-year-old Willis. Drummond had made a promise to their dying mother, his housekeeper that he would care for the boys after she passes on; their father had died years earlier. The boys, whom Drummond always introduced as his two sons, went from rags to riches literally overnight.
3. Family Ties – 1982-1989 – This TV series blended family comedy with politics and centered on the Keaton family. Steven and his wife Elyse, a couple who were ardently left-wing political activists in the sixties face the problems of raising a family with four children (Alex, Mallory, Jennifer and Andrew, who was born in 1985) who have strongly conservative views.
4. Silver Spoons – 1982-1987 – Edward Stratton III-the father– likes Pac-Man, pinball machines and electric trains and his son Ricky Stratton is mature, sensible and understands computers. But Edward is in his 30s is really the “child”, while son Ricky only 12. was the “adult” on this funny TV show. The most memorable feature of the show was the indoor, rideable toy train in the living room of the mansion. Afhonso Ribeiro who played Alfonso Spears was Ricky’s best friend.
5. Full House – 1987-1995 – This is a story about a sports broadcaster later turned morning talk show host Danny Tanner and his three little girls, D.J. (Donna Jo), Stephanie and Michelle Tanner. Before the show begins, Danny Tanner’s wife is killed by a drunk driver. So he needs help raising his three little girls. He asks his rock musician brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis, and his comedian best friend, Joey Gladstone, to move in with them.
6. The Cosby Show – 1984-1992 – Cliff and Clair Huxtable are masters of parenting without over-parenting. They let their kids make their own mistakes and then help them grow from them. (Remember the episode when Theo has to start paying rent to his “landlord” father? Classic.) The other distinguishing feature of The Cosby Show clan is the closeness among the siblings. That added support system creates a single, cohesive unit.
7. Growing Pains – 1985-1992 – Dr. Jason Seaver is a psychiatrist who works at home because his wife, Maggie, has gone back to work as a Journalist. They had three children Mike, Carol, and later Ben. Mike was notorious for getting into and causing trouble in and out of the house. Carol was the brainiac, straight-laced middle child.
8. The Facts of Life – 1979-1988 – It was a spin-off TV show to the sitcom Diff’rent Strokes on which Charlotte Rae played Mrs. Garrett, housekeeper to Philip Drummond’s household. In The Facts of Life, Mrs. Garrett has become headmistress to an exclusive girl’s boarding school, Eastland. Though these girls aren’t family through blood, they were school sisters experiencing the joys and the trials of adolescence under the guiding hand of their housemother. Later in the series, Mrs. Garrett is promoted to school dietitian and four of the girls move into new quarters above the cafeteria. Eventually she leaves the school and opens her own business, with help from her girls.
9. Married With Children – 1987-1997 – What is TV without a little dysfunction? The dysfunctional Bundy family lives in Chicago. Bud is a salesman married to Peg, an obnoxious nag. They have a pretty but dumb blond daughter, Kelly, and a son, Bud, the only one in the family to have a college education.
10. Kate & Allie – 1984-1989 – When friends Kate and Allie both end up divorced, they decide to team up and raise their kids under one roof. While the two women have very different attitudes when it comes to parenting (Kate’s cool and laid-back; Allie’s the uptight one), their different personalities ultimately complemented each other. The result? The kids had someone to confide in (Kate), and someone dependable (Allie) to rely on.
Is one of your favorites not on here? Leave your comments or favorite 80’s TV family below. Heck, a family is a family. No need to limit it to the 80’s.