Oh boy do I miss TGIF. Not the TGIF that signifies “Thank God it’s Friday” and still crops up tantalizingly in emails and Twitter feeds on a weekly basis. No, I’m talking about the ABC channel Friday night line-up of the 1990s. Technically, the network claimed it stood for “Thank Goodness it’s Funny” but even at age five, I knew that was complete bulls**t.
When my boyfriend and I first started dating, the conversation at some point turned to TV and (inevitably, because it’s me we’re talking about here), TGIF. Luckily for the future of our relationship, it turned out we both grew up watching it. Also, we admitted (sheepishly on his part, gleefully on mine) that we both missed it. In fact, we wanted it back. Really, there was only one thing to be done. So after much research, the necessary Netflix queue adjustments and some creative finagling of what actually constitutes a “TGIF Show”, we were ready. We brought back TGIF, in one glorious Friday night. And you can too!
Pick a Friday that works for everyone involved. Whether it’s a date, a slumber party, a girl’s night or family bonding, your TGIF Party MUST TAKE PLACE ON A FRIDAY. This is the single most important aspect of the entire affair. Ideally, you’d stick to TGIF’s regular hours (8-10pm, East Coast Time) as well. But most important is to pick a Friday. Get everyone to commit. Write it down. Get psyched.
Decide what shows you’re going to watch. This is tricky for several reasons. The TGIF lineup changed yearly, sometimes more than that. Depending on which years you were at your TGIF-watching prime, you might have a totally different memory of TGIF than someone just a couple years older or younger than you (The Hughleys anyone?). Also, not all of TGIF’s shows are available on DVD, even if you’re willing to buy-them-maybe-bootleg-and-have-them-overnighted like some people I may or may not know/be. As I hinted above, Chris and I were flexible with our choice of shows. We knew we had to include as many as we could of what we considered to be the classics (Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, Dinosaurs). But when we hit roadblocks in acquiring DVDs, we threw in a Punky Brewster (specifically “The Perils of Punky,” the scariest episode of any TV show, ever) and an ALF for good measure. I mean, they have that certain TGIF je-ne-sais-quoi, do they not? We also hand-picked the episodes we wanted to see (I prefer the Stephanie-centric Full House story arcs), regardless of chronology, which was fun, but other organizing factors could be watching the pilot of each show, or all the season premieres from a certain year, etc. Only you know what is right for you when it comes to TGIF.
Snacks. A crucial factor in any TGIF viewing experience. I’m a big fan of buying the foods I would have wanted at the best TGIF sleepover party ever. Let’s be real here, that’s pretty much my standard for choosing what food I eat all the time anyway. We went to a supermarket – NOT a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s but a real suburban-type supermarket – and loaded up. In case you’re still unsure of what goes well with a side of Cousin Cody, a sample menu might include Doritos (only in the classic Nacho and Ranch flavors, of course), giant liters of soda, stove-top popcorn, Milano cookies and all the fixings for a make-your-own sundae bar. We also ordered two giant pizzas and I definitely had to lie on the floor at some point until I felt less full (a classic fifth-grade-me experience).
Attire. Pajamas, sweatpants, or full on ’90s regalia. There is nothing else.
The big night is finally here. Lay out your snacks ahead of time. Dim the lights just a little. Decide in what order you’re going to watch the shows and whether you’ll allow viewings of more than one episode per show if that’s where the night takes you. What if a show is more boring than you remembered (cough, Family Matters)? Are you allowed to turn it off? Think about these potential pitfalls and decide how you’re going to handle them.
Finally it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy. You did it! Stuff your face! Make Suzanne Somers thighmaster jokes! Wonder what ever happened to Rider Strong and his frog-like beauty. But most of all, say to yourself, over and over again, THANK GOODNESS IT’S FUNNY!!!!!!!
If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will have a wonderful TGIF viewing experience. It may even inspire other nostalgic marathon TV nights. I’m almost done planning my SNICK Party, coming this fall to a living room near me.