Girl Talk: Does learning a little about life lessons from old sitcoms help deflect some of the pain?
Life imitates art. Often our first experiences or exposure to things come from seeing them on television or experiencing them through the media. We were raised on “Rugrats” and had Clarissa explain it all to us. What about our first exposures to love and relationships?
Clarissa had Sam climbing through her bedroom window every night; the ultimate friend zone. Dawson and Joey found that sometimes, even at the creek, dating your best friend doesn’t always work out. These are the lessons we were raised on, and while I never had a boy climb through my bedroom window (much to my parent’s delight), TV love and life situations in the ’90s set the standard for the millennials knowledge of relationships and growing up.
Whether you found yourself dreaming of a life-long love like Cory and Topanga or had an insatiable secret crush that never came to fruition like Doug Funny and Patti Mayonnaise, these were lessons of the heart that we were learning, whether we realized it or not. As an adult looking back on the reruns, I am seeing so many real issues that as a child I found as mere entertainment. Love and life my friend. Love. And. Life.
“Full House” was a picture of life wrapped up in one neat little 30-minute bow. Whatever problems life brought to the Tanners, they were resolved like a 1990’s Domino’s pizza delivery; in 30 minutes or less. Under its bubblegum surface however, the problems were real. They dealt with relationships and heartache, problems with childcare and debt, a tough job market and battles between friendships.
“Family Matters” touched gently on race issues under the shadow and comic relief from the delightful Steve Urkle and his ridiculous antics. “Did I do that?” Yes, Winslow family, you did. Additionally, the show “Step by Step” brought to the forefront the struggles of divorce and living in a blended family twisted with the dynamic of growing up a teen in the ’90s. The TGIF lineup really had a little bit of everything about life to teach us.
These are the life situations on which millennials were raised. No wonder we are all so confused now. Life doesn’t happen in 30 minutes. Problems can’t always be solved by a family meeting and an ice cream sundae. Broken hearts hurt, debt builds, people fight, jobs suck, friends leave and life sometimes knocks you out. There is no laugh track in the background of reality and we can’t just change the channel or take a commercial break.
Maybe we should strive for a simpler time? Maybe life’s answers are found by having your best friend climb through your window or by throwing a Frisbee in the back yard with your dad while you talk about life. Perhaps ’90s TV sitcoms and the lessons they taught us were onto something. We all need our own Mr. Feeny to guide us along life’s path. We all need a Pacey to our Dawson because friendly competition between friends keeps life interesting. Finally, we all need Uncle Jesse, because, “have mercy,” the world needs more eye candy.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.