Our favorite revelations from this oral history of our beloved '90s TGIF
TV might be pretty good now, but it’s nothing compared to the magnificent Friday night block of TGIF. Launched in the late 90s, with the OG four-show block including Perfect Strangers, Full House, Mr. Belvedere, and Just the Ten of Us, it soon went on to become a television cornerstone. Seriously, as a kid, how many nights did you curl up on the couch to watch TGIF? How many sleepovers were focused around TGIF? How mad were you when slowly, all the regular TGIF shows went off the air?
Over it’s 11 year run, TGIF gave us not only Full House, but Family Matters, Step by Step, Boy Meets World, and Odd Man Out (come on, I can’t be the only one with a late-90s crush on Erik von Detten). In a long-read story from Entertainment Weekly, they talk to some of the brilliant minds and hilarious stars behind some of the programming block’s biggest shows. The entire article is worth a read if you’re craving some nostalgia right now. Here are some of the best tidbits from it.
TGIF doesn’t stand for what you think it stands for
It’s actually: Thank Goodness It’s Funny, and …….what. I feel like my whole world is shattering.
Everyone claims stake in creating the name
Of course everyone wants bragging rights for creating TGIF. But we’re going to credit it to former ABC President (and current Disney Company CEO) Bob Iger, who claims, he’s “bad at humor but…good at corniness.”
We can thank some frat boys for the creation of Steve Urkel
Steve Urkel didn’t appear until mid-way through Family Matter’s first season. He was supposed to only appear in one episode. According to Jaleel White, “For my first taping, a frat showed up. Any scene that I wasn’t in, they were chanting, ‘Urkel! Urkel! Urkel!’ Like, ‘We don’t want to watch this s—, bring the nerd back.’ I’m coming out between scenes and waving at them, and I’m not a star in the least — as a matter of a fact, I walked with them to their cars because we were all parked in the same structure.” He was hired the next Monday as a series regular.
The simple fact that you forgot a TGIF theme song existed
“It’s Friday night, and the mood is right, we’re going to have some fun, show you how it’s done, TGIF!”
TGIF fostered a family community
It’s a big deal when shows do a crossover nowadays, but during TGIF’s time, it happened at least once a season, if not more. As White explained, “Nobody would’ve asked Rachel to be on Seinfeld at NBC, but it was a very organic request to say, ‘We need Urkel on Full House.'”
The kids all hung out together off-set
“Robin Thicke and I were in a dance battle at Candace Cameron’s birthday party,” White states, which is a very weird sentence to read in 2015.
The kids knew about everything
As Full House lore goes, Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos liked to fool around on set a lot. As for the kids, from Candace Cameron Bure, “We just played dumb because if we let on, our moms weren’t going to let us hang out with them.”
The kids helped themselves get on the Internet
Remember, this was the 90s, and the Internet was slowly starting to take off. Bure notes that the tween and teenage stars went the extra mile to make sure that they were on the world wide web. “One of the first interactive fan clubs that popped up online was a site called Celebrity Sightings…We had events — me, Jodie [Sweetin], Andrea [Barber], Christine Lakin, the Savage brothers, Danielle Fishel, Ryder Strong. The Internet wasn’t as developed as what’s easy for us to do now [and] we actually had to gather together in a building and manually take pictures to say, ‘Hey, we’re here.'”
The Internet also decided Corey and Topanga should get married
The then-head of ABC Entertainment, Ted Harbert, did NOT want Corey and Topanga to get married (they were only 19 on the show, so yeah, we get that). He called up executive producer Marc Jacobs, and Jacobs suggested that they put a poll up on ABC.com asking viewers if the two should tie the knot.
“They put up the question at 8 o’clock and in 20 minutes we had over a quarter-million hits and the thing broke,” Jacobs explained. “Out of 250,000 hits, 250,000 answers were positive. [Ted] called me the next morning and said, ‘Could you please marry them in Sweeps?'”
Corey Matthews wasn’t a hit at first
In the beginning, Corey was actually the least liked character on the show. But then, from Jacobs, “Cory became a hero for being himself, and everybody flocked to [that idea.]”
(Image via ABC.)