Growing up my best friends were sitcom stars. No, I wasn’t raised in Hollywood, I was raised in front of the TV. I think I knew more about sitcom characters than about my actual school pals. I hung out with these guys from 8-10 pm every night. I witnessed all their wacky antics, their hairbrained schemes, their hilariously relatable experiences (unbelievably resolved in 27 minutes). I understood these guys, and had they been three-dimensional off-screen people in my life, I think they would have understood me too, especially this crew of would-be BFF’s. These are the ones I would have invited to my birthday parties. I would have made them braided bracelets out of gimp. I would have written them notes folded into complicated triangles. The ones I would have been a great friend too, because if they were real, I think they would have been great friends to me.
1 ) Janet Wood: This down-to-earth fellow brunette works as manager of the “Arcade Florist” on Three’s Company and worked her way into my heart. Why, Janet? Damn, did that girl put up with loads of shit: Jack’s craziness, constant comparisons to “hot blonds” and the consistent rotating of roommates with whom she had to sleep next to in her tiny single bed. And she put up with it all like a champ. She had spunk, sass and always brought home lovely plants. And the moment that really made me crush on Janet? Episode 6.5, titled “Some Of That Jazz” when after turning down her instructor Michael’s advances he said “No, Janet. No. Let me level with ya… I don’t think you have what it takes to make it as a dancer!” To which Janet, Ms Wood if ya nasty, replied “Well… let me level with you, Michael. I don’t think you have what it takes to make it as a human being.” Hell yeah, you go gurl!
2 ) Natasha “Natalie” Green: I learned lots about The Facts of Life through my girl Natalie who was the first of the crew to loose her virginity with her beau Snake. The girl dated a guy named Snake! How could you not want to be her friend? She was sweet, had cheeks you wanted to squeeze so hard they’d bleed and she was unapologetic about her love of food. I imagine we’d have sleep over parties filled with pizza, movies, cake, fun and more pizza. She was also a writer so we could total have a writers group to share our overly dramatic teen poetry and short poorly spelled stories with each other. Nat was once quoted as saying, “Who wants to be a skinny pencil? I’d rather be a happy Magic Marker!” And a magic marker she was, coloring my life with friendship. Awwwww.
3 ) Angela Shostakovich: She may have been Heather’s best friend on Mr Belverdere but in my mind Heather hit the bricks and left Ang to be mine, all mine. Her main purpose in my circle is to make me laugh. Her mispronunciation of Mr. Belvedere’s name got me every time: Mr Bellyflop, Mr Bricklayer and Mr. Butterfinger. (Insert me howling with laughter and waving my hand in that “Oh God!l Please too much! Stop!” way here).
4 ) Vanessa Huxtable: I think there’s a little Vanessa in us all. She’s a girl who wants to do the right thing but also wants to have fun. She was an excellent student even graduating early but also had a bad side wearing make-up before her 15th birthday and having friends who smoked cigarettes in her room, both in violation of her parents’ rules. The best was when she snuck off to Baltimore to see The Wretched. Although she got in major trouble, I give her props for being a bookworm gone bad-ass. Had I been her friend, I would have warned her NOT to give her tickets to a scam artist. Plus, I would totally be super close with Vanessa’s mom, Claire. So much so, me and V would probably get into a fight where she’d be all, “Sometimes I feel like you only come over to hang with my mom!” and I’d be all, “Sorry Nessa, but your mom is the coolest!” Then her mom (because she is AMAZING) would walk in and say something extremely philosophical about friendship and love and we’d all go out for french fries.
5 ) Jonathan Bower: This little Who’s The Boss nugget is just swell. I, and I think everyone, knew he was gay and what a fabulous gay pal he would have made to insecure, loud, young me: he was sweet, he had good hair and he had a grandma who could teach us all about S-E-X. I would have gone to him for love advice when in 7th grade, Jimmy P dumped me at the park by riding up on his bike and yelling “ya dumped!” and riding off. Jonathan would come over to cheer me up wearing his popped-collar dungarees jacket and sing me show tunes. Oh Jonathan, I found the trail and at the end was you.
6 ) Dorothy Zbornak: Do I even need to give a reason why any one of the Golden Girls would be a part of my clique? All of those women are amazing! I hate to pick a favorite, but I love me some Dorothy. She’s a strong, sarcastic, a Brooklyn-born Italian chick you don’t wanna f**k with. The lady has been through a lot, she got pregnant in high school and married then divorced her shlub of a baby daddy Stanley. She’s the OG Sammie Sweetheart, a big bitch with a heart of gold minus the spray-tan. Dorothy would boast my confidence and protect my ass from my high school bully, Katy Kearney’s evil pestering. She’d pee in your enemies shampoo bottle and then bring you cheesecake so you can eat your feelings. That’s my girl, DZ.
7 ) Sandra Clark: Because everyone needs a, erm, promiscuous friend, 227‘s sexy lil’ minx would show me how to perfectly put my boobs in a push-up bra and put a condom on a cucumber. She’d be my wing-woman, giving me tips and tricks on how to land a man and boasting my confidence with her sex-positive high self-esteem swagger. We’d work out together doing lots of squats to get our butts in spandex-wearing shape. We’d high-five a lot. Her constant purring of “Maaaaaaa-rrrrrrry” would send me and everyone at the party into hysterics.
8 ) Jennifer Keaton: the Family Ties tomboy would be my most “normal” friend. Jennifer would be the pal who’s house I loved having dinner at because her super liberal, actually-interested-in-my-life parents would talk to me like a grown-up discussing politics, history and Woodstock. As we grew up together, Jennifer and would discover the joys of teasing our hair and off the shoulder sweatshirts. We’d gripe together about our desire to be friends with the “cool kids” and I’d so be on her side when her parents planned her that lame purple birthday party. Together, we’d be cooler than we ever dreamed.
That’s my lunch table crew – who would be in yours?