’90s kids, rejoice. Hulu has answered our prayers and brought back 75% of the ABC Friday night “TGIF” lineup. This is seriously the bright spot that we need right now since the world can really bring us down these days.
We can relive those glorious times when life wasn’t so freaking stressful and the news headlines weren’t so damn depressing. TGIF lineup take 2 on Hulu includes all of our favorites: Family Matters, Full House, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers, Dinosaurs, Hanging With Mr. Cooper, Boy Meets World, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. If this doesn’t bring you joy, then I don’t know what will.
One of the most fun parts of parenting has been sharing stuff from my childhood with my kid. And because there seems to be a serious amount of ’90s nostalgia out there, it’s really easy to do. Right now, one of my kid’s favorite movies is Mulan. I remember seeing it in the theater when I was 12. Singing the songs with him is just so much fun for both of us. That’s why when I saw that Hulu was bringing back all of the shows I grew up watching, I was doubly excited. Not just because of my own love for ’90s pop culture, but because it might be a way for me and my son to watch the shows together and enjoy them the same way I did with my parents.
Well, kind of the same way, because this time around, we can binge-watch an entire season in one day if we try hard enough. None of that waiting until next week to see what happens or enduring a painfully long summer without any new episodes of our favorite sitcom families. And chances are, I’ll be laughing before the jokes are delivered because I already know what’s going to happen.
Rewatching family TV shows you loved as a kid as an adult is even more fun than the first time around, mostly because you finally understand what they’re talking about.
You’re not just watching Family Matters to watch Steve Urkel fully embrace nerdom. You can now understand the jokes the grown-ups are making about their adult responsibilities. I can empathize with the parents now while laughing at how blissfully ignorant the children are when it comes to adult life. Like, when I watch The Little Mermaid with my kid and Ariel says “I’m 16. I’m not a child!” I literally bust out laughing. Girl, please.
And when watching Full House, I can find similarities between me and Stephanie Tanner (we both loved to dance, and I also had to wear glasses, though mine have lasted 20-plus years and hers lasted one episode) while also sympathizing with Danny Tanner (though I could never be that clean).
It’s also amazing (and oftentimes maddening) that the issues these shows tackled back then that are still issues today. Though these days it’s not necessarily an abstract idea that will get wrapped up nicely at the end of a half-hour.
For instance, Eddie getting harassed by the cops because he’s black in an episode of Family Matters is still relevant over 20 years after it first aired.
I can also understand Danny Tanner’s struggle of being a single parent. Granted, I’m not a widow, but some single-parenting struggles are universal. And I’m taking a lesson from the family on Step by Step because they didn’t shy away from the messiness of a blended family living under one roof. Mr. Feeny’s lessons still feel incredibly important, too, even though I’m well past the age of needing them.
And hat tip to Hulu for bringing back the original shows and not forced a series of reboots with the same dated themes and a very tired plotline *cough* Fuller House on Netflix *cough*.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing, especially now. We all want that little slice of the way things used to be before life got complicated. Back then, out entire week seemed to be a rush toward TGIF when we could stay up late and watch our favorite shows, knowing that we could sleep in on Saturday morning and hang out with our friends all day if we wanted.
We ’90s kids cling to our childhoods because they came at the end of a simple time — before social media, before smartphones. Many of us millennial parents fondly remember getting our first email address and also the day we joined Facebook.
Now we’re starting to move into our next phase of life. The one where we hear that Usher song on the oldies station and say, “Wait, that song came out when I was a senior in high school! Wasn’t that only a few years ago?” before realizing that we’ve already gone to our 10-year high school reunion and showed off our kids’ baby pictures. So now we can embrace both parts of our lives — our past and our present — with these shows from our youth. We get to share our childhoods with our kids, and even though the stories may be dated, they’re still really fun to watch.
The world might feel like a hot mess some days, but putting on our comfy clothes, popping some popcorn, and cuddling up with our families for a taste of TGIF might be just the stress relief we need.