Thursday, November 8, 2012

Everything old is new again: Resurrecting old sitcoms

Earlier this week, news broke that the Disney Channel would be revitalizing the sitcom ‘Boy Meets World.’

Children of the 1990s will remember that ‘Boy Meets World’ was about best friends Corey (Ben Savage) and Shawn (Rider Strong) and the family members and friends that wafted in and out of their lives.

The new show, called ‘Girl Meets World’ will revolve around Corey’s daughter (with wife Topanga) as she maneuvers the same difficulties her father did 15 years ago (she is now 13).

The announcement did a couple of things for me.

First, it made me feel old. Thinking of Corey and Topanga as parents of a teenager is all kinds of creepy. The show went off the air in 2000 – and there was no baby at the time – so I’m guessing a little soap opera rapid aging is going to be involved here.

Second, it made me realize that this is a cast of actors that largely faded into the unknown. Strong had an appearance in one of my favorite horror movies – ‘Cabin Fever’ – but the rest of the cast has been largely absent from the screen (I’m talking about the younger cast, the older cast – like William Russ and William Daniels -- has still been relevant).

The third thing I immediately thought of was what other old sitcoms can we dust off and pass on to the next generation?

It’s not that I didn’t like ‘Boy Meets World.’ I did like it. I didn’t love it, though. Still, I’m insisting that Will Friedle’s Eric Matthews be a regular. I used to have a huge crush on him back in the day.

Back to the question at hand, though. What older sitcoms could be updated for a modern audience?

A Different World – I think it would be fun to follow Dwayne and Whitley’s kids as they go to Hillman College. Both Dwayne and Whitley could be busybody professors. Who doesn’t want to see what kind of head case would be raised by these two high strung individuals? Plus, you just know that “Uncle Ron” is around giving these kids horrendous ideas – and hitting on their friends. The BET should get on this. It’s definitely better than the revamp of ‘The Game.’

The Facts of Life – All four actresses need work. How about their kids go to boarding school together? Or, better yet, Natalie was the best character from the original. Why not have her be the new Mrs. Garrett to another group of girls? I'm betting the problems tackled in this show would be a little more hard-edged than the problems handled in the older show, though.

Full House – D.J.’s husband dies and Stephanie and Michelle move in to help raise her children. I have no idea how the Olsen twins will split up the role as adults, but I suggest they cede it to their ultra-talented younger sister Elizabeth Olsen. Even sharing the role they’re not talented enough to make it endearing. Watching two stick-figure adults wander around saying "You got it dude" is going to get old pretty quickly.

Growing Pains – We can follow the suddenly ultra-religious Mike and his gaggle of kids as they go on missions to help those less fortunate across the world – offering them food for their conversion to Christianity. Then, when the Rapture comes, we can watch his family struggle in a post-apocalyptic world where they decided which kid to eat first.

My Two Dads – An adult Nicole can go to a judge’s office and get told that her old boyfriend left her half of something . . . a 13-year-old boy, and she may or may not be the mother. Whoops, that doesn’t work.

That 70’s Show – In the 1980s, we find out that Fez has been deported, Jackie and Hyde have reunited, Eric and Donna are struggling to raise a family and Kelso thinks he’s on a constant episode of ‘Miami Vice.’ Okay, you caught me, I just hated the ending of ‘That 70’s Show.’

Family Ties – Alex P. Keaton is the new Rush Limbaugh. He has a radio show where he spews right-wing rantings that are aimed at all those liberal-leaning people that are ruining this country – like his parents. Mallory and Nick are married – and Alex points out that Nick is one of those people that expects the government to finance his lifestyle as part of an entitlement society. Jen has become a nun. And Andy? He joined the young Republicans and is a closeted homosexual that is going to gay correction school but is obsessed with Barbara Streisand for some reason.

Roseanne -- Roseanne and Dan are still living in the same house (I'm pretending that awful final season didn't happen). They're struggling to hold on to what they have in another down economy. D.J. is back home living with them. Jackie is still dating losers. Darlene was down-sized. Becky and Mark have divorced (I don't want to see Mark recast and Glenn Quinn has died). They can all move into the house together and raise Becky's sarcastic kids. Or, better yet, just move everyone to Roseanne's nut farm and see what happens.

What do you think? What old sitcoms do you want to see resurrected?


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