Between Hollywood reboot mania, reunions from the likes of 98 Degrees and the Spice Girls, and the televised resurgence of both Christina and Britney, it’s clear that the 20-teens are saturated with nostalgia for the recent past. That’s no problem for kids of the ’80s and ’90s; since our childhood favorites must be the pinnacle of culture, it only makes sense for those properties to be reborn in a modern context. (We learned our narcissism by watching you, Boomers!)
So when our generation learned yesterday that Lisa Whelchel and Michael J. Fox are both returning to the small screen, it was hard to contain our excitement. Alex P. Keaton coming back to the medium that made him a star? Yes, please! Blair Warner as a Survivor contestant? Not exactly what you’d expect Whelchel’s comeback to look like – but if any of Mrs. Garrett’s girls could outwit, outplay, and outlast the competition, it’d be The Facts of Life’s snobby manipulator. Or Jo.
When Fox and Whelchel’s shows premiere, we’ll be watching with baited breath. Until then, though, we’ll bide our time dreaming about which other beloved ’80s stars may follow their lead.
Whelchel is pioneering a unique strategy for her cohort: Go the reality route, but don’t appear on a show with the words “celebrity” or “stars” in its title. Maybe she’ll inspire Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano to band together for the next season of The Amazing Race, or Keshia Knight Pulliam to shake things up on The Bachelorette now that House of Payne’s run is over. Oh, and what’s that girl from Square Pegs up to these days? You know, Sarah Jessica Something? She might do well on Craft Wars.
Then again, stars from the Reagan era might be more likely to return to TV if, like Fox, they’re given their own sitcom. TV Land already has a slew of vehicles for second-round celebs like Valerie Bertinelli and Wayne Knight – but it’d be great to see more of them getting bigger platforms on bigger networks. My idea: Bring Can’t Get Arrested – a web series starring Full House veterans Jodie Sweetin and Dave Coulier (and, sometimes,
Mr. Belding Dennis Haskins) – to Showtime, which is already home to comedies featuring Friends alumni Lisa Kudrow and Matt Leblanc. Arrested’s aesthetic would make it a natural time slot companion to Episodes – and who doesn’t want to see Stephanie Tanner and Joey Gladstone yukking it up on the small screen?
Which ’80s and early ’90s stars do you yearn to see on TV again, PopWatchers? And which sort of series would you like to see them on: Existing reality programs? New sitcoms? Some crazy genre that hasn’t even been invented yet?