Thank God (or goodness) it’s Friday!
And time for hours of television on ABC, who were the king and queen of TGIF vibes in the 1990s. Shows were wholesome yet they touched (somewhat superficially) on issues affecting teens and families. Launched in September 1989, popular shows like Sister, Sister (1994-1999), Full House (1987-1995), and Family Matters (1989-1998) would air before the all-too-serious 20/20 (1978-present).
Side note, can we talk about how 20/20 was, um, kind of terrifying?! I watched it as a kid after all the TGIF shows and was routinely scared. I didn’t eat sunflower seeds for years because one time they aired this piece on this little girl who died because she got a sunflower seed stuck in her esophagus.
OK, so back to the fun stuff!
An ABC Tradition
TGIF followed in the tradition of other popular ABC programs also aired on Friday nights like Leave it to Beaver (1958-1963) and The Brady Bunch (1969-1974). Developed by Jim Janicek, the concept helped launch the careers of stars who would become household names. Most famously, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The list also includes Tia and Tamera Mowry, John Stamos, and the well-hated Dave Coulier.
When I look back at these shows, they were iconic for their 90s fashions. While each show had a distinct style, they all fed into the same 90s vibe. I did look up the wardrobe credits for my top four favorite shows from TGIF. This list includes Sister, Sister, Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003), Boy Meets World (1993-2000), and Family Matters. Each show had different costume supervisors, and I don’t see any crossover when looking at the IMDB credits. So! They all were obviously amazing at their job of capturing the era from the beginning, middle and end.
Jumping the Shark
The concept of family-friendly shows on Friday night evolved too much, in my opinion. ABC seemed to throw ideas at the wall to see what stuck. From music specials featuring Hanson to early reality television like Making the Band, it seemed like they didn’t really know what they were doing with programming. By the end, there were so many shows that there’s even lists out there of forgotten TGIF shows.