At a recent birthday party, a friend of mine, a grown-ass, adult woman received the complete box set of Hey, Dude. This is why the Greatest Generation hates us.
My friend is a lovely, kind woman who has an off- beat sense of humor and an incredibly high tolerance for cheese. It makes sense to me that she would still be entertained by 20-year-old kids shows. And because of my fondness for her, I find this particular kind of nostalgia endearing instead of annoying. But it did remind me of another indisputable pop culture fact: 90s TV was horrible.
I’ve mentioned before that a lot of our childhood entertainment was garbage. But until you google “best shows of the 90s,” you really don’t have any idea. Sure, there were your X-Files and your Simpsons and your Picket Fences, but none of those were your ratings giants. Those were not your TGIF line ups.
And TGIF was the worst. The worst. There’s barely enough good show in a decades’ lineup to make one decent show. Even the name was offensive. Thank Goodness It’s Funny? We really were such infants we couldn’t handle hearing “Thank God” on TV? It gave us the absolutely lowest common denominator, paint-by-number, “cue touching music now” bullshit anyone my age has seen. This is fact.
What’s still up for debate is which show was the absolute worst. But no longer. Below is the definitive ranking of all TGIF shows that ran in the 90s which had two or more seasons (which means you’re spared for today, Camp Wilder. But we will need to come back to talk about this.) Shows that aired during any part of the original TGIF era (1989 - 2000 lineup) are fair game. Rankings from best to worst.
16.) The Hughleys
Actually this one I feel kind of bad about. DL Hughley himself is very funny. But his TV show was infected with the intentionally bland, completely unremarkable humor that ABC demanded in the 90s. Luckily it didn’t kill his career.
14 - 15.) Boy Meets World and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
Listen, people, I still have to work here.
13.) Muppets Tonight
It’s not that Muppets Tonight is a bad show. I’m just not sure why we keep trying to make it a thing.
12.) Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper
Another example of a funny stand up having to do a very unfunny show. Minus points for the dropped “g.”
11.) Sister, Sister
Because why have a plot when you could have twins? (Also sorry about the video. They only have full episodes available on YouTube. And a Sister, Sister channel. I don’t know why.)
10.) Where I Live
I have absolutely no recollection of this show. But it did star Vee so we’ll put it firmly in the middle of the pack.
9.) Baby Talk
Apparently an unauthorized adaptation of Look Who’s Talking with Tony Danza taking over John Travolta’s role, George Clooney, and this hair.
Only this high on the list because if you squint it’s hard to tell if that’s early 90s Cloons or early 90s Joey Lawrence.
Clueless’s biggest crime was that is was a subpar show based on a surprisingly entertaining movie. It’s the Hangover 2 and 3 of the TV world. Extra points for giving us more Donald Faison, minus points fore more Stacey Dash.
7.) Just The Ten Of Us
These women are not biologically related.
But I’m willing to ignore the terrible casting since they never did an episode where the daughters formed a girl band. Oh, wait. What’s that? Of course they did that episode.
6.) Mr. Belvedere
I feel bad for doing this to you, Mr. B. Because only the very tail end of your show made it into TGIF. You were of a different era, and shouldn’t have to share the blame for what came after you. But also, you were a terrible show.
5.) Step By Step
The only thing that keeps this pile of garbage from being at the bottom of the list is that their “colorful character” didn’t have a catchphrase.
4.) Perfect Strangers
Don’t. Just don’t with this. You know. You know deep down that this show was bullshit. Cousin Larry. The Dance of Joy. The writers’ insistence that “immigrant” means “unrefined, unadaptable idiot.” All of it was bullshit. And if you think I’ve forgotten what this show would later introduce to the world, then you don’t know about my ability to hold a grudge. This show is garbage.
It’s like the creators of this show looked at Michelle Tanner, and thought “But how do we make this face punchable?” The answer is to make it into a baby, dinosaur puppet. God, I want to punch that baby in the face.
2.) Family Matters
Fuck you. Yes, you did that.
1.) Full House
There isn’t a single redeemable thing about this show. Not a single solitary thing. The nauseatingly mawkish heart-to-hearts, the terrible jokes, the lack of coherent plots (where the hell is this magical attic Uncle Jesse is living in? The top of that house is flat). And does every single, goddamn character need to have a catchphrase? Was ABC trying out a new writing computer that just inserted programmed lines into any blank spaces in the script? This shit right here?
May god have mercy on your souls, Full House. May god have mercy on your souls.