Oh, how I loved television in the ’80s and ’90s. Big hair, high-waisted pants, zippy theme songs. And the hangouts—the characters on these shows had the best seats in the house at the coolest places in town. If only these places were real…
The Cheers Bar
Just once, I’d like to walk into my living room and have everyone say, loudly and in unison, “Mia!” I know everyone here knows my name, but they’ve got their heads looking down at their iPads. But at the Cheers bar, man, I could feel like a rock star, just like Norm.
The Smash Club
The coolest place to hang out if you’re under 21, or have cute kids who say catchy things like “How rude!” and “You got it, dude!” I’d get there early so I could get a good view of Jesse and the Rippers, just in case it’s a full house. This truly was the best TGIF hangout. And, now that there’s talk of a spin-off show, we can only hope The Smash Club gets resurrected. Save me a seat next to Aunt Becky.
Mrs. Garrett’s Kitchen
In what other place could I wear my roller skates, just like Tootie, indoors? And, as we sat around the kitchen table, we could talk about the facts of life and I could ask Blair for hairstyling tips and ask Jo for advice on fixing my car’s air conditioner. Natalie could proofread one of my articles.
This was not only a place to grab a burger and fries at lunchtime, but it had a dance floor—and a jukebox! Yes, those were happy days. And, if you were Fonzie, you could get the jukebox to play a song just by hitting it with your fist. I’d love to grab a booth with Richie, Potsie and Ralph Malph and see if maybe Pinky Tuscadero was around. Then we could all hang out and say stuff like “Sit on it!” even though I still have no idea what that means. Man, those guys on this show had it made in the shade.
The Peach Pit
I’d love to squeeze in next to Brenda and Brandon and find out if they miss their old home in Minnesota or if they feel like they finally fit in with the kids living in Beverly Hills, in the poshest zip code around. But the best part would be eating one of Nat’s peach pies while humming the 90210 theme song and double-air-punching Dylan’s chin.
The Diner on Seinfeld
Nothing much ever happened here, which, was, of course, the point of the show. Just a lot of yada, yada, yada. But how fun would it be to sit across from Jerry and the gang and shoot the breeze? Now that would be something. (Actually, the facade of the diner is Tom’s Restaurant so this one is real! Who wants to join me in New York for a pastrami sandwich?)
Today’s shows should take a page from these classic programs and highlight their own go-to spots. Modern Family and The Middle, are you listening?