These days it all seems to be about NickJr this or ABC1,2 or 3 that, with so many kids shows to choose from, they all seem to blend into one another without any real decipherable originality. Back in the day, we had hyperactive, trendsetting orphans, alien life forms and cartoon superhero twins; now that’s what I call a Saturday morning cartoon lineup!
Given that Penelope “Punky” Brewster was dumped by her mother at a shopping mall and was subsequently fostered after finding an abandoned apartment to live in, she was probably one of the happiest girls on television in the 80s. Maybe because she was happy she had Brandon the Wonder Dog by her side. Punky’s fashion was super cool and idolised by tweens everywhere.
Adopted by the rich boss of their deceased mother, African American brothers Arnold and Willis Jackson, moved into his penthouse and not only lived a life they had never dreamed of, they suddenly had an older Caucasian sister. Although very humourous, the boys were faced with some of the more serious issues in life including racism, illicit drug use and sexual abuse. Arnold coined the unforgettable saying, “What’chu talkin’ ’bout Willis?”
A Country Practice
Set in a small Australian country town, Wandin Valley, the story lines in the television series A Country Practice mainly revolved around the local hospital, vet clinic, RSL and the police station. Full of typical Australian characters from the serious Sergeant Gilroy who had a pet wombat to Ms Watson, the town gossip, the series appealed to many age groups. The episode where the popular Molly passed away from Leukaemia remains the most remembered and viewed episode of the series.
The hilarious ALF (Alien Life Form) lived in secret with the Tanner family after crashing into their garage one day. Causing all kinds of mayhem for the Tanner’s, including constant suspicion from their nosy neighbours; when Alf wasn’t hiding out in the kitchen, he was often seen chasing the pet cat Lucky in the hope of eating him.
The Wonder Years
Set in the late 60s to early 70s, The Wonder Years is about the life of a young man named Kevin and the issues he faces at school and with his family. Narrated by an older Kevin, the episodes are based on his recollections as a child. With his geeky best friend Paul, Kevin was often the target for older brother Wayne to pick on relentlessly. His hippy sister Karen was a great disappointment to their father who worked in defence. Many of the story lines involved Kevin’s long time crush on his neighbour Winnie, who eventually became his girlfriend.
Created by Jim Henson using Muppets, the Fraggles lived in underground caves with other creatures called Doozers and Gorgs. Although very different, the survival of each species relied on each other. The silliness and craziness of the Fraggles involved lots of music but it did have a serious side with topics like prejudice and social conflict underlying many of the story lines.
Twin sister of He-Man, cartoon character She-Ra was the equivalent of Xena to Hercules. Kidnapped as a baby, She-Ra (born Adora) was transformed into She-Ra after having the “For the Honour of Greyskull” routine performed on her. She-Ra had super strength, speed and agility in her favour and was constantly fighting fully grown men and robots. She owned a sword that could turn into anything other tool she needed at the time however it could only be used as a means of defence. Although one tough cookie, She-Ra had a soft side and often helped injured animals.
Do you remember these shows? What was your favourite television show growing up?