Everyone has a favorite hangout – or they had one at one
Maybe it’s the Dairy Queen at the center of a one stoplight
town (was that just me?) or maybe it’s a family diner.
Television is no different. And, while most television shows
become synonymous with their stars, there are some that become synonymous with
So, what are television’s best hangouts?
10. Moe’s Tavern: Ah,
Springfield. Sure, it’s a cartoon. It’s still important to a lot of people,
though. The truth is, ‘The Simpsons’ wouldn’t have survived for as long as it
did without being something of a pop culture lightning rod. At the center of
that lightning rod is Moe’s Tavern – the home of double entendre and macho
men. While Moe’s doesn’t have the appeal of being a place you can see yourself
hanging out (personally, I’ve never had much luck imagining myself into a
cartoon), it does have the appeal of being a place you would really want to
hang out if it was 3-D.
9. The Bronze: There were a lot of different sets over the
seven seasons of Buffy. It could be argued
that the library was actually a
better hangout than the Bronze – but it was blown up in season three. Then
there was the magic shop, but it was blown up in season six. There was the
Summers’ house – but it lost some of its appeal when Joyce died in the living room in season five.
Really, the only place in Sunnydale that was always there was the Bronze. That’s
where Willow pretended to be a vampire, Oz played with his band, Faith and
Buffy dirty danced and Cordelia talked down to her minions. The good news is
that The Bronze didn’t blow up over Buffy’s run. It was, however, swallowed
into a giant hole in the final episode. Yeah, Buffy had a certain pedigree in property destruction.
8. McLaren’s: I really am over ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ The
show has yanked me around for a few too many seasons, quite frankly. Still, the
early seasons of the show were magic. Who doesn’t think it would be absolutely
entertaining to live in an apartment above your favorite bar? Seriously. How
convenient would that be? McLaren’s has been the site of some of the most
important moments in the show’s history. And, even if I no longer care who the
mother is and I find the Robin and Barney relationship ridiculously forced, I
do have a soft spot in my heart for McLaren’s and the memories it holds.
7. The Peach Pit:
Every teenager has a hangout, but the pure
genius of the Peach Pit on ‘Beverly
Hills 90210’ was the fact that both the
adults and the kids could interact in a way that didn’t feel forced or
contrived. Sure, Nat was an adult and he spewed advice like a psychologist on Ritalin,
but he was also a friend that would just sit and listen to the kids when they
needed it. Not only did the restaurant serve as a great job for Brandon, but it
also proved that Dylan had a heart when he stepped in to save his friend
(several times). The restaurant was also a place for drama throughout the years, with Brenda being held at gunpoint and Nat nearly dying of a heart attack. Man, I miss the old 'Beverly Hills 90210.'
6. Regal Beagle: Even though the apartment set on ‘Three’s
Company’ was the central location for all the action, the Regal Beagle was
easily the second most important place on the show. Without the Regal Beagle,
we wouldn’t have been privy to all of John Ritter’s wonderful slapstick action –
because if he didn’t meet a girl at the Regal Beagle and bring her home, Jack
Tripper wouldn’t have been able to fall over himself (sometimes literally) to
get himself out of situation after situation back at the apartment. Plus, who
doesn’t love the awesome 70s music
and fashion on display at the Regal Beagle?
5. Boar’s Nest: When you think about 1970s television, it’s
easy to overlook ‘The Dukes of
Hazzard.’ When you do that, though, you ignore
the macho masterpiece that was the early precursor to the ‘Fast and Furious’
movies – as well as the fact that the show was filmed in a time where two “good
ole boys” could drive around in a racist car – and nobody cared. I remember
loving this show – and one of the things I loved most about it was the Boar’s
Nest. The Boar’s Nest was a sexist retreat – kind of like an antiquated Hooters
– where the women walked around with their butts hanging out of their shorts
while the men swilled beer and ogled them. Today, it’s seems shallow and embarrassing.
It’s still pop culture gold, though.
4. Cheers: It’s fun to have a place where everybody knows
your name – and Cheers was one of those places. This show was one of the few
ensembles that survived the loss of a major character and not only carried on –
but also got better. Cheers wasn’t just
about the workers at the bar. It was also about the people that frequented it.
There’s an adage that says you can’t pick your family – but that’s exactly what
they did on Cheers. Even though these people weren’t related by blood, they
were still a family in their hearts and deeds. That’s why the show was so funny
when they tortured each other.
3. The Foreman’s Basement: When you talk about locations
being another character on a show, you
can’t overlook the basement on ‘That 70’s
Show.’ Sure, we all knew what they were doing down there – but it still felt
like an awesome environment. The Foreman’s basement was fairly dirty, sometimes
cluttered and always smelly – but it was still the best place to hang out in
Point Place, Wis. Between Kelso and the “stupid helmet,” Hyde and his shower
full of beer and Eric and his ‘Star Wars’ models, the Foreman basement was full
of more than memories. Sure, there was a lot of pot down there, but there was a
lot of love, too.
2. Arnold’s: ‘Happy Days’ was before my time, but I remember
watching reruns when I was a kid. Besides the Cunningham house, the only other
recognizable set that made it into pretty much every episode was Arnold’s. The greasy diner screamed 1950s comfort – and
fans were just as happy to visit the restaurant as Richie, Potsie and Ralph
were. To be fair, ‘Happy Days’ went downhill pretty quick in its final years –
and let’s not even discuss that whole shark jumping thing – but I don’t know
anyone that doesn’t get a little bit nostalgic when they see Arnold’s on their
1. Central Perk: The coffee shop on ‘Friends’ was almost another character in the
show – it was that recognizable. While the shop didn’t make an appearance in
every single episode of the show – it did make an appearance in about 75
percent of them – and that’s a pretty good number. Central Perk had a fairly
unrealistic layout – and I find it interesting that our “friends” always managed to snag that
couch – but there’s a sense of familiarity about Central Perk that cannot be
denied – and I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want to hang out there. Some of
the most important moments in ‘Friends’ history happened there – including Ross
and Rachel’s first kiss, Rachel’s entrance to the show, Phoebe’s singing sets
and Ross and Chandler’s bully confrontation. Really, could that place BE any
Honorable mentions go to:
The Pit: ‘A Different World’ went through a lot of cast
changes and thematic surges over the course of its run, but The Pit was one of
the few things that lasted multiple seasons. Besides Whitley and Dwayne, The
Pit was one of the few things that could be considered a mainstay.
Ten Forward: The entire Enterprise was kind of a hangout,
but ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ hit on a great idea when they introduced
the social center of the ship. The best addition to Ten Forward was the
facility’s other-worldly bartender – Guinan.
The Double R:
‘Twin Peaks’ is one of those shows that still
manages to have a devoted fanbase – even though the show went off the air 20
years ago. Think about that. It was a two-season show that still has a
fanatical following. Sure, I guess you could call it a cult classic – but that
doesn’t mean it won’t be remembered forever. The Double R is part of the mystique of 'Twin Peaks' that still entertains.
‘Frasier’ is one of those shows that I loved
part of the time and hated the rest of the time. I can’t put my finger on it.
Still, most of the scenes in the quaint coffee shop were both entertaining and
welcoming. Café Nervosa was one of those sets that actually lets viewers feel
like they’re part of the action.
Monk’s Diner: I was never a fan of ‘Seinfeld.’ Just wanted
to get that out there. Still, if there was a location that was important to the
group, it was Monk’s. What’s interesting about Monk’s is that it might have
actually had more heart than the group. Do you think that was on purpose?
The Max: ‘Saved by the Bell’ is never going to win any
awards, but I did love it when I was a teenager. I was obsessed with Kelly and
Zack – and I even tolerated Screech. While the school was the main setting,
local diner The Max was the heart of the show. Granted, it was a really cheesy
heart, but it still felt like going home.
What do you think? What’s your favorite television hangout?