Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime… You name a streaming service and I probably have it. While I love being able to watch what I want, when I want, #livingmybestlife, the excitement and camaraderie that came with gathering around the tube at a certain night and time to watch that must-see show just really isn’t around anymore. I mean our LIVES revolved around some of these shows. If someone wanted to make plans with me at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night in the late 90s they had better be planning to watch FRIENDS with me, amiright?
Before I was a teenager and “too cool” to stay home on Friday nights, watching the TGIF line-up on ABC was something I looked forward to all week. Besides the programming being some of the most wholesome, hilarious and family-friendly content ever, my family and I had very specific traditions on Friday nights to accompany this world-class TV lineup. Traditions that are missed, and now, thanks to the magic of Hulu, traditions that all of us can re-create now!
With the stress of the school week over, young me would immediately drop my backpack and my cares at home after walking home from school on Fridays. My parents, brother and I would have a quick conversation about what kind of pizza we wanted for dinner. Fridays were usually pizza night in my home. You see, at the end of the week my parents were too exhausted to cook something, pick something up or take me and my brother out to an actual restaurant. Before the days of UberEats and DoorDash, pizza and Chinese food were about the only things a suburban family could have delivered to their home for a meal. And let me tell you, small towns outside of Denver are NOT known for their fried rice and dumplings. So, after some lively debate about the toppings and provider of said pizza (I always wanted cheese and I always wanted it from Pizza Hut because breadsticks, duh?), my parents would call in the order (*gasp* – I know, I know, they couldn’t do it online) for a 6:30 p.m. delivery. In merry excitement for the evening ahead, I would then ride bikes, partake in a lively Mario Kart tournament or check out the neighborhood happenings until dinner was delivered.
I bet you’re wondering why the pizza was requested for 6:30 p.m. Well, the TGIF line-up began at 7 p.m. MST. This provided enough of a buffer, in the event that it was late, and ensured we wouldn’t be making plates and gathering pizza accoutrements while the first show began. Remember, there was no DVR, rewinding of live TV or streaming device available to catch anything you missed during the show. You had to rely on a questionable recap from your sibling or wait an excruciating few months for reruns during seasonal hiatuses if you missed anything. So, pizza at 6:30 p.m. and TGIF on the television by 7 p.m. #winning
As soon as I could hear the sweet serenade of the opening jingle, I knew I was in for a night of sitcom hilarity. “It’s Friday night. And the moon is bright. Gonna have some fun, show ya how it’s done. TGIF!” Please tell me I’m not the only one who still remembers that song?! My family and I spent the night together relaxing and viewing some of the most loved shows from the era.
TGIF programming ran from 1988 until 2000, according to Variety.com. Friday night is notoriously known for low ratings, so this type of powerhouse TV schedule was unheard of. Because of its unprecedented success, CBS and NBC quickly tried to follow suit with their own line ups on Thursday and Friday nights. Popular shows on TGIF included Perfect Strangers (which was actually the first show added to TGIF), Full House, Step by Step, Family Matters, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Sister Sister, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World and so many more. Some of these shows were moved to alternative nights on certain years and the TGIF line-up often changed every year. For a pretty solid listing of the TGIF line-up for every year from 1990-2000, check out Thebestofthenineties.com.
Go ahead. Try and choose your favorite line-up from the link above. Pretty tough, huh? Lucky for us, we can now create our own epic block of shows for a custom TGI (insert any day you want here) line-up, thanks to Hulu. According to Hulu.com, the agreement between them and Warner Bros. Domestic Televsion Distribution allows for over 800 episodes from Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper to be available on Hulu, exclusively, for streaming. Since Hulu’s original announcement this summer, two more shows were added. Boy Meets World and Dinosaurs. Let the binge watching begin!
Since these shows were added in September, I’ve been able to watch a few of my favorites from past Friday night schedules. Let me be the first to admit, they still have me laughing and crying just like they did on their original air date. #allthefeels While I wasn’t able to order pizza and enjoy them with my family like in the past, it was awesome to be able to create my own TGIF line-up and be able to choose what day of the week to watch it on. Oh, and limited commercials doesn’t hurt, either. *wink*
If you don’t have a Hulu account yet, I highly recommend signing up for one. The monthly fee is minimal, and you’ll have access to TGIF sitcoms along with other fine programming. #notanad Once you sign up, check out the list below, from yours truly, of hand-picked and highly recommended episodes.
- Season 1, Episode 1 | “Knock knock, Who’s there?”
- To fully appreciate this eight season series, you can’t miss the introduction between Larry and his distant cousin from Mypos, Balki. Also, this show was the O.G. on the TGIF block so it only makes sense to start from the beginning.
- Season 5, Episodes 9 & 10 | Happy Birthday, Babies, Part 1 & 2
- Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky finally become parents to twin boys in this heart-warming pair of episodes, but not without some drama. Aunt Becky goes into labor during Michelle’s Flinstone-themed birthday party and Uncle Jesse has to head to the hospital in his Fred Flinstone costume. The Tanner/Gladstone/Katsopolis clan becomes complete with the addition of Nicky and Alex.
BOY MEETS WORLD
- Season 5, Episode 24 | Graduation
- Why can’t all teachers be like Mr. Feeny? Cory, Topanga and even Shawn graduate from John Adams High. Class of 1998. #mindblown Topanga is accepted to Yale University, but decides to propose to Cory during graduation ceremony instead. Thank goodness! My heart could not have handled a long-distance relationship between this iconic couple.
- Season 5, Episode 8 | Dr. Urkel and Mr. Cool
- The Winslows are great and all, but we all know Steve Urkel MADE this show. His charming, less-geeky alter-ego, Stefan Urquelle, makes his debut in this episode when Steve tries to impress Laura. Again.
Whether you take my suggestions above or create your own rad TGIF block of programming, be sure to check out these sitcoms from the past on Hulu. You never know how long they’ll be streaming for! Pizza is highly encouraged, though not required, and now you can watch them whenever you want. Did you all have any Friday night rituals or traditions? What is your ultimate TGIF line-up? Any favorite episodes? Be sure to share your thoughts and memories in the comments section and sign up for our email newsletter to get a sneak peek into future blog posts.