Remember Nick at Nite in the 90’s? When they actually showed programs from years in the past rather than shows that JUST went off the air? I mean, I’m not old at all but seeing Friends on Nick at Nite makes me feel REALLY old. Nick at Nite is supposed to have TV shows from when my parents were kids, not when I was a kid and then also an adult. I know there’s the internet and Netflix and everything and the next generation can watch old shows there but there was always something great about watching these shows with my mom that she watched growing up.
I guess Nick at Nite was supposed to be like “for the parents” but I was always the one in my family interested in watching it. They’d watch it to be like, “I hated this show” or “This is a great show” but I was the one who was really passionate about Nick at Nite, and obviously Block Party Summer.
Two of my all-time favorite things are television (obviously) and Skewing Older Than I Am When It Comes to Pop Culture (I don’t know either). So Nick at Nite was a perfect for me on both counts; I got to watch all these awesome shows and make references to them in casual conversation, thus further confusing people who guess my age at 20/21.
Here are five TV shows from Nick at Nite that ruined my life:
1. The Monkees
I was obsessed with The Monkees. I loved all their songs, I thought Davy Jones was TO DIE FOR (and therefore, that bit in The Brady Bunch Movie where Davy Jones plays and only the Brady kids and the adults care really hit home for me. DREAM BOAT). I mean, when Davy Jones died this February my mom immediately emailed me and we both got sad about it. Except like, she was actually a kid when The Monkees was on.
The problem was, I had NO CLUE that this show was not new. I was bopping along and just loved everything happening on screen so I didn’t even think about it. Then one day my mom and I were watching it and she mentioned watching it growing up.
[record scratch] “Say WHATTTTT?”
I was BAFFLED that this wasn’t a current TV show and was so sad. I mean, it was on TV, how was I supposed to know it was old? I mean, I LOVED doing the walk from the opening of The Monkees, so how could it not be current?
There’s also a great joke in The Simpsons with Marge as a little girl and her lunch box of The Monkees.
Girl: [seeing her lunch pail] Ew! You like The Monkees? You know they don’t write their own songs.
Marge: They do so!
Girl: They don’t even play their own instruments.
Girl: That’s not even Michael Nesmith’s real hat.
[back in the present] Therapist: Kids can be so cruel.
Marge: But it’s true. They didn’t write their own songs or play their own instruments.
Therapist: The Monkees weren’t about music, Marge. They were about rebellion, about political and social upheaval!
2. I Love Lucy
Like any girl watching Nick at Nite I loved I Love Lucy and therefore, Lucille Ball. I distinctly remember being a kid and thinking Mr. Ed was too stupid to watch but I adored Lucy and her antics. I loved them so much I did a report for a Spanish class in middle school about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I mean, I even went to the Museum of TV and Radio and watched some clips of them for “research” on a trip to NYC.
I wanted an Ethyl (obviously I was Lucy in my mind) to get into crazy situations with me. I mean, realistically, it’s like, why don’t you just tell Ricky the truth? He’ll probably be fine. But at the time it’s like, duh, obviously this is an appropriate way to react. Lucille Ball is the absolute perfect entertainment for a child such as myself.
I even remember thinking how fun it was that they slept in separate beds. “Oh good, then they won’t bother each other while they sleep!”
I mean, at the end of the day, as someone who was constantly making my family come to my performances and is still upset her parents didn’t make her a child model, I also really identified with Lucy and her many attempts at stardom.
3. The Brady Bunch
The Brady Bunch was awesome because I could watch it in normal syndication AND on Nick at Nite. Obviously I was a Marcia fan and didn’t really care about Cindy because I’m not into these like hyper cute youngest children (see also: Michelle on Full House).
I pretty much wanted to be Marcia (self-centeredness and all) and was a big fan of everyone’s clothes on this show. I loved Alice because she was such a good caretaker for all the kids and she dated Sam the butcher who was amazing as well. Once I learned more about Ann B. Davis I was even more in love because she was born in my hometown of Schenectady, NY (just like Mickey Rourke! – they both moved away as kids, but still!) The Brady Bunch also just felt like the perfect family. No one ever seemed super upset that one of their parents was dead (I know that Carol’s first husband isn’t really mentioned since they wanted them to be divorced initially but let’s assume he died too) and everyone is mostly like, cool, you’re my new family – let’s all be Bradys! I mean, I would have probably preferred being in The Partridge Family but since The Brady Bunch Movie has singing in it anyway, I was pretty convinced the Bradys were the place to be.
I’m still longing for Marcia’s hair.
And I’m really not sure how to feel about the re-boot…
I love everything about Taxi but you really have to focus on the cast: Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman, Jeff Conaway, Marilu Henner, Judd Hirsch, Christopher Lloyd and Carol Kane. COME. ON.
I went on to love Tony Danza in Who’s The Boss? (what a hunk) and when I saw Independence Day I nearly fell over from excitmenet at Judd Hirsch. (I love how many actors named Judd I loved as a kid. . . by which I mean two. . . the other obviously being Judd Nelson.)
Also since Taxi takes place in New York City this was basically the set up to the rest of my life and desires for living in “The Big Apple.” And since I currently live in Queens so those shots at the opening going over the Queensboro Bridge really get me. I remember realizing that was the bridge from Taxi and freaking out.
Also, this scene is amazing.
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
This one is a big one for me. I mean, firstly, I was already a fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show (and the subsequent reference to Rob and Laura Petrie in the amazing episode of The X-Files, “Arcadia”) so the transition to this was a no brainer.
This show also has an amazing cast (BETTY WHITE, YOU GUYS!) who I’ve gone on to love in…everything. But the main thing was that they work in TV.
While I never wanted to work in news, I definitely can credit this show with part of my desire to work in the television industry. There are a lot of important things about The Mary Tyler Moore Show that didn’t really hit home for me as a child. I mean, I knew Mary Richards was single and was very focused on her career but I didn’t see it as a big deal. (I mean, this was in the 90’s and I was also a big Murphy Brown fan so that importance was lost on me at the time.)
I’m obsessed with the theme song (like everyone) and always want someone to say that about me and I loved Rhoda and dreamed of having a gal pal like her. (I did once have an outfit that my mom described as very “Rhoda Morgenstern” so I maybe I’ve become the Rhoda of the situation but whatever – I can still turn the world on with my smile!).
I mean, I’m still upset about The Mary Tyler Moore Show finale.
It IS a long way to Tipperary…