Lets face it, it was the best part of our childhood. We worked hard all week in the classroom, dealt with hateful teachers, ate mediocre at best food and got rejected by the girl of our dreams! We had definitely earned a mere two days off. Two days to relax. Two days to play. Two days to just be a kid! The only thing that was expected of us was to have fun and fun we did have! I have many good memories of my childhood and many of them are attributed to weekends.
My weekends began at 3:30PM Friday afternoon! I was going to make the most of it. I was determined to enjoy every last second of my freedom. On a typical Friday evening I was found watching TGIF!
I couldn't wait to watch my favorite sitcoms. I was hooked early on with Full House.
What happened to a moral of an episode? Watch these old shows and you will find a good moral lesson in nearly every episode. As far as Full House was concerned, the main reason I watched it was because I thought Joey was hilarious and after DJ got better looking, that helped out as well! Given that Joey was one of my favorites on the show, I especially liked the episode that featured him on Star Search.
What about Perfect Strangers?
A goofy immigrant named Balki moves in with his easily annoyed, short tempered cousin Larry. Balki was hilarious with a childlike innocence that I guess kids could easily relate to and Larry was always scheming! Once again, their girlfriends Jennifer and Mary Anne didn't hurt the ratings either and gave all average looking guys out there glimmer of hope that they could one day too get a hot girlfriend which I am guessing for 99% of them didn't happen! I remember an episode where Balki had to fight a swordfight duel with a member of a rival family from Mypos. I remember it was funny because the winner cut the other person's ears off and kept them as a trophy!
Family Matter was a favorite as well. Steve Urkel was the star of course which is odd because he wasn't meant to be a regular cast member, but only appear in an episode or two. Carl was a little arrogant at times, but still self conscious about his weight and lack of hair. Harriet was the over bearing, but caring wife. I remember always feeling sorry for Steve and actually despising Laura. The most memorable episode for me was when Steve and Carl got into a big argument and decided to settle it on American Gladiators. There was also the episode where Steve was able to have powers like Bruce Lee. Granted the show was over the top at times, but its one of my favorite shows from when I was growing up.
Probably my favorite TGIF sitcom was Boy Meets World! I really identified with Cory. The only thing missing was the Topanga in my life. (That came later!) That was the main problem with the show as far as being realistic (at least to me). The nice, caring, hot chick in real life never really seemed to go for the average looking, sweet, decent guy. It just didn't happen. I was a happy kid for the most part, but I stayed down about not having a girlfriend in middle school. I kept hoping and thinking that my Topanga was just gonna show up one day! Little did I know that I would be 20 before that would happen. It was a show about growing up and facing the same things that all kids face: trying to fit in, love, domestic problems (in Shawn's case), bullies, etc... I liked any episode that involved Frankie Stechino.
What a tortured, poetic soul!
As far as bullies go, I would say the best was the original, Harley. I can say that of all the shows I grew up watching this is the one I still can watch and enjoy the most now. It still brings back memories of middle school and things that I was going through, girls I liked, friends I had and the emotions that went with all of those memories.
Typically we had stopped by the local movie store on the way home and got in on the 5 movies for 5 nights for $5! Now it was imperative that you go as early on a Friday evening as you could otherwise all of the good movies would be gone! Also we had picked up a delicious Domino's Dominator!!!! It came out in the early 90's and was 30 slices and a yard long! Throw in a Coke with that and you would be eating pizza all night long!
So when TGIF went off and 20/20 came on, the movies came out. I wasn't about to watch Barbara Wawa do a piece about unsanitary conditions at a hot dog factory! So typically we would watch such classics as Dumb and Dumber, Father of the Bride I and II, Rocky, the Lion King, and Christmas Vacation. I never got into the whole horror movie genre that my friends were into. I remember watching 15 minutes of the Leprechaun and it freaked me out! I will also add that Pennywise the clown still haunts me to this day just because I watched the sewer scene as a 10 year old boy...
We all float down here...
After I got a little older, I ended up going to football games more often and hanging out with friends on Friday nights instead of watching TGIF. Typically though the hanging out with friends only occurred if I went to a game with some friends. My dad had a no wandering rule if I was with him, so I had to stand along the fence with him and the guys he went to high school with which may sound like it wouldn't have been fun, but really... IT WAS! It was a chance to see Dad as an everyday guy and not just Dad. He would joke around and laugh and talk about the "good ol' days": stupid things they had done together, memorable football games, cars they had, fights they had been in, etc. To be honest depending upon the quality of the game being played in front of us, a lot of times we didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it. There was one team that we played that was about an hour drive and the main reason I liked it was that I only got to go if it was with a buddy of mine's family b/c dad wasn't going to drive that far for a regular game. The highlight of the trip was the stop at the Russell Stover's chocolate factory!
I always made sure to have at least $20 when we went there. You could buy the normal stuff and the regular price which I may have bought a sampler, but the best part was the cheap "seconds" these were chocolates that tasted the same, but didn't come through the line looking the way they should have for the packaged boxes of chocolates! Oh we loaded up on those.
I stayed over at friends' houses quite a bit on the weekends. The friend that I have previously mentioned was probably the most common to stay with. After we got home from the games and were chowing down on chocolate, we would whip out the Sega! We would play TMNT: THE HYPERSTONE HEIST all night long. I hated it for him that he had to play with me b/c I was really bad at the game. He was good enough though to carry me through most of it.
After sleeping in, his mom would wake us up to biscuits and chocolate gravy. Oh it was heaven!!! My mom made a lot of gravy and I had eaten a lot of gravy, but this was the only place that I had CHOCOLATE gravy!!!! If you have never had biscuits and chocolate gravy, you have never lived and I pity your meaningless life.
My friend had a ping pong table so a lot of our time was spent perfecting our game while listening to Boyz II Men, Green Day, etc...
If he had a bunch of guys over, it also was customary to have a massive royal rumble in his living room! I remember going to his house one Friday evening and we had about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground so in the morning we got out in his driveway which was extremely steep and where his dad had driven in and out the tracks were somewhat wide and had iced over during the night. I had thought the night before about sledding and brought two exercise mats with me. These were lightweight foam on the inside and extremely slick plastic on the outside! We were FLYING down the hill! I wish you could have seen how steep this driveway was. We played out in the snow for hours. I would probably die of exhaustion now just trying to climb that hill!
However, I didn't always spend the night at friend's house especially in elementary school. In those days, Saturday morning cartoons were it! You had to get up early for these babies! (8 A.M. being early that is...) We had it made in the early 90's before so many programs had to be educational. We had shows like Slimer! and the real Ghostbusters, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, Smurfs, Darkwing Duck, Beetlejuice, Muppet Babies, Bugs Bunny and Tweety show, Gummi Bears, TMNT and MORE!!!! I also remember that after these would go off that typically a movie would come on. My favorite was The Mouse and the Motorcycle!
Saturday nights growing up involved more movies, but I made sure they didn't cut into my SNL!
I loved the Spartan Cheerleaders skits. The most memorable episode was when Jim Carey hosted it. The hot tub lifeguard skit was a memorable one. I also liked the Night at the Roxbury skit with him in it. Wayne's World as well always cracked me up even though some of the humor I was too young to understand. What is weird is that as I often I as I watched it, I missed out on some of the classic Farley stuff. I am very glad that Netflix has added the SNL seasons to instant streaming!
Sundays changed over the years. We got in church around the time that I was in the 8th grade. Prior to that we would get up and go for long drives as a family. We would go to the mountains and drive through Cades Cove in the Smokies or dad would drive us around to places that he delivered to that were interesting. We would wind up at different festivals, antique shops, log cabins, etc...
It always seemed like it was over before it began. Monday was back before you knew it and your freedom was over. It was like releasing someone from prison only to drag them back a week later and say it was some sore of clerical error and it happened over and over and over. I guess the weekends have changed now. I still look forward to them as long as I don't work, but the excitement of absolute freedom is no longer there with a yard to mow, a house to keep clean and a little girl to watch after. I actually look forward to my daughter getting a little older and getting to experience things the way I did and hope that I can relive a little of my childhood watching her enjoy hers!