Coming Up 90s: Five Shows that Helped Raise a Generation


by Krystin Pipkin (@Krystin_Makari)

Girl Meets  World, the long  rumored sequel series to Boy Meets  World, was finally  green-lit with Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel on board. Oh, happy day!  The Corey and Topanga we all know and love are back, raising their thirteen-year-old  daughter Riley, played by newcomer Rowan Blanchard.  There is no  official word on whether Rider Strong (Shawn Hunter…swoon!) or Will  Friedle (Eric Matthews) will be a part of the show or not.  However,  original creator Michael Jacobs said that all of the BMW cast members  are invited to join the cast.

I don’t  want to get my hopes up, but how can I not get excited? Boy Meets  World helped  shape my childhood! These people are family! And I want to have faith  in the future of family television. There used to be so many fantastic  shows growing up. There are many to choose from, but here are five of  my favorite shows that helped to raise the ’80s and ’90s generation.


What we loved: We experienced a young, budding  bromance grow into an unbreakable bond between Cory and Shawn. We envied  Cory and Topanga’s childhood love and watched it endure junior high  drama, high school woes, and college terrors. We were there for every  tear and break-up that eventually led to a wedding. We were taught sound  wisdom and advice from Mr. Fee-hee-heeeee-nay! And we watched Eric Matthews  go from relatively normal to borderline insane. He was a loose cannon,  but he was our loose cannon. And he married  a moose. Oh, and Shawn’s sexy half-brother Jack. Ya, ‘Nuff said.

What we learned: Growing  up is full of both joy and disappointments, but the love of crazy friends  and family is what makes us strong!

wonder years


What we loved: Speaking of Ben Savage, his brother Fred was in the hugely successful Wonder Years. Raw and realistic, it wasn’t a sitcom like Boy Meets World, but had a unique quality in its double nostalgia. Set in the late  ’60s/early ’70s, it showed us what seemed a simpler time for our country  than it is today. We experienced how our parents grew up, and related  to the issues of “coming of age” we experience as we grow up. We  grew a connection to Kevin. We fought for him to be with Winnie! We  struggled with friends and family as he did, realized that we gain and  lose friends along the way, and learn about ourselves.

What we learned: I think Kevin  says it nicely: “All our young lives we search for someone to love,  someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners.  We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope, all the while wondering if  somewhere, somehow, there’s someone perfect, who might be searching  for us.”



What we loved:  The Huxtable family was  one of the funniest and most relatable families ever to be on television.  Cliff and Claire are my definition of perfection.  Their children  Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy were all so uniquely different  which is how most kids truly are. The lessons taught each week were  applicable to everyone who watched. Sometimes, your sister marries that  boy no one really gets…or likes. Maybe you feel like the odd-sibling  out and don’t feel as smart or as talented as your family. Sometimes,  your sister goes away and comes back married to a recently divorced  man with an extremely hilarious and adorable kid. INSTA-family! And  sometimes, your dad has hideously amazing sweaters.

What we learned:  We all want to be a  Huxtable.  If you don’t feel this way, you haven’t watched this:



What we  loved: What  could be wrong about Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier raising  a family? NOTHING. It was an awesome three-part harmony. Just like their  singing. Even more awesome were DJ, Stephanie, and Michelle Tanner.  I’d be lying if I said I never wanted to be a Tanner. Mostly because  of Uncle Jesse, and DJ’s high school boyfriend, Steve. Sigh. Steve… And even though Michelle  got most of everyone’s attention, I really related to Stephanie. She  was the funny and sarcastic one who said what we were all thinking.  As they grew up together as a family, we too, grew up with them. Even  shed a few tears and saw grown men shed a few tears. And although Kimmy  Gibbler was crazy, we waited to see what she would do next as she kept  Danny in check.

What we learned: Sometimes, it takes three men and Becky to raise a  family. It may not be traditional, and they may sing a lot, but it’s  a pretty fantastic.



What we loved: Not all of us were born and raised in west Philadelphia,  but no matter where we were from, we all kind of wanted to be the prince  of Bel-Air. Being uprooted and shipped off by your mom to move in with  her sister and family can’t be an easy adjustment. Not only was the  city alien to him, but he felt like an alien to his family. We felt  the resistance between Will and his Uncle Phil, but he was the father  figure Will needed and it was exciting to watch them interact. And let’s  not forget our favorite, lovable cousin Carlton. Cue Tom Jones music.  Complete opposites, Will and Carlton still found common ground, but  their differences were cause for great entertainment. Hilary’s pretentious  attitude and Ashley’s rebelliousness were endearing.  And of course  Geoffery, the cynical butler, was the man!

What we learned: Even though he didn’t initially fit in, in the end,  Will stayed in California. Looked at his kingdom, he was finally there,  sitting on his throne as the Prince of Bel-Air.


  1. AlisonMarch 19th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    The Cosby Show was a Great and Funny Show

  2. MarianneMarch 19th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    Wonderful article! I would have also included Growing Pains on this list, but I loved all of these growing up. Shows like this are noticeably absent and incredibly missed from current television.

  3. MeghanMarch 20th, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Another great 90s show was Home Improvement and Jonathan Taylor Thomas is going to be on Tim Allen’s current show Last Man Standing!

  4. SammiMarch 20th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I agree with Marianne, I loved Growing Pains. Family Matters wasn’t included on this list either – Urkle made it ok to be dorky and still stand up for yourself. There definately needs to be some shows like this back on the air.

  5. Krystin PipkinMarch 20th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Totally agree Sammi and Meghan! I wrote this with several shows in mind, but I wanted to keep it brief so I just chose the ones that I loved the most. But there are so many shows that I loved! Growing Pains, Family Matters, Saved By the Bell, Sister Sister, and so much more! We were very lucky to have awesome shows like this! 🙂

  6. mrjroc83March 20th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Ahh, I almost cried from getting emotional when reading this article as it brought back memories and feelings that I got from growing up with these shows. I too would add Home Improvement, Family Matters, Step By Step, and Growing Pains to this list, along with Family Ties (I was born in 83′). My brother and I would mimic Steve Urkel and characters from Full House. We got into trouble once for staying up late and watching Home Improvement, we were already grounded from TV that day. The next day we with our mom in a store and laughing and quoting lines from the previous night’s episode, needless to say our Mom caught on, oops.
    All of these shows bought great entertainment, with most of them having parents or parent-like figures that were respectable and not dummy-down by the writers, the characters in the show may had a slip-up, but they always came back to “reality” or learned from their mistake. These shows taught decent life lessons, and offered more then what is being offered on TV today.

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