The '70s Shows We Can't Wait To Share With Our Teens

by Miranda Gargasz
Originally Published: 
Robin Williams and Pam Dawber as Mork & Mindy from the '70s show, looking at each other.

My husband and I have gotten rid of cable. There are a thousand channels’ worth of Kardashian-level crap on television, and we couldn’t justify spending upwards of $80 a month on it. Instead, we have Netflix and Hulu. While they both severely limit what we can watch (and, personally, I’d rather be writing or reading a good book instead), we have found some nuggets worth sharing with our kids.

Here is a list of five shows we watched growing up that we can’t wait to share with our teens:

1. Welcome Back, Kotter

I loved this show as a kid! Granted, most of the hormonal humor went over my head because I was quite little when this show was on. However, even my little kindergarten self knew a hot dude when I saw one. Vinny Barbarino was the epitome of my 5-year-old crush. We won’t discuss the fact that my first IRL boy crush looked just like him. As an adult, I’ve found myself trying to avoid writing “Epstein’s Mother” at the bottom of my kids’ excuses just for giggles.

2. Happy Days

Heeeyyy. You know you loved this show, too. Who could resist all that wholesome goodness wrapped up in true ’50’s fashion? Though, if I’m being honest, I loved this show even more when Pinky and Leather Tuscadero showed up. I was a tomboy, so a female demolition derby driver was awesome. I liked her sister, Leather, too. It was a popular name in its day. In fact, it was so popular among kids my age that I had a friend growing up who was allowed to name her baby sister. Guess what she was named? Yes, that poor girl got “Leather”-ed. I’m sure The Fonz would approve.

3. Laverne & Shirley

This show was the Thelma & Louise-meets-The Marx Brothers of its time. These girls got themselves into loads of trouble. Regardless of how innocently things started out, they always went sour. And let’s not forget Lenny and Squiggy, their bizarre neighbors, who drove them crazy almost daily. So much of Laverne and Shirley’s vernacular made it into popular culture that I doubt there’s a ’70s kid out there who doesn’t know what “vo-dee-o-doe-doe” means, hasn’t tried milk and Pepsi, or wished they had a Boo Boo Kitty of their own.

4. Mork & Mindy

This show deserves to be on television again, and not just because I’m still heartbroken about Robin Williams. I pulled this series out of Hulu last year when I read the sad news of Williams’ death. My kids and I sat mesmerized, although I had to explain some ’70s jargon to them. I loved this show so much when I was little. As an adult, there’s another layer of funny to it that went over my head originally, but caused me to belly-laugh today. It escaped me back then how poignant the closing conversations were between Mork and Orson. I burst out crying on several occasions. Nanu nanu, my friend.

5. The Carol Burnett Show

No ’70’s kid is ever going to forget the skinny redhead with the Tarzan yell who tugged on her ear in every show opener. Whether watching Vicky Lawrence’s “Mama” yell at Eunice, ogling Carol Burnett’s “Scarlett O’Hara” wearing the curtains with the rod still in, or just trying to keep a straight face when Tim Conway made Harvey Korman lose it, this show never ran short of laughs. It was mostly good, clean fun with pee-your-pants gags.

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