Tag Archives: 90s

tv’s best birthday themed episodes

Birthdays are generally a time for celebration, presents, cake and all those other festive trappings. There are the milestone birthdays that mean you can drive or legally drink or even magically turn into an adult (Hi 30!), as well as those where you’re just happy to see another year.

With my own 26th birthday coming up – I’m not quite at the point in my life where I lie about my age – I decided to celebrate the successful completion of 365 days by recalling my favorite birthday-themed TV episodes. Some made me cry, a few made me laugh, while several of these aren’t more than a year old so it’s too soon to wax nostalgic over them just yet.

Best Birthday Episodes…Ever (in order of birthday character’s age)

Rubber Band BallParenthood (S1Ep8)
Jabbar has a birthday party that’s heavy on the familial tension. I’m sure I had an awkward moment or two at one of my childhood birthday parties, but similar to Jabbar and other little kids at that age, if wasn’t toys and/or cake it happily went unnoticed.
Best Quote:
“Amber is from a broken home. She doesn’t know a real relationship from a sandwich yet.”

Stark Raving DadThe Simpsons (S3Ep1)
Simpsons never age, so arbitrary nature of her birthday aside, it was cute seeing Bart try to do something nice for his little sister. But try as I might, I could never make my name casually slide into the “Happy Birthday Lisa” song.
Best Quote:
Things change when you hit the big 1-O. Your legs start to go, candy doesn’t taste as good anymore.”

The AftermathSaved by the Bell (S3Ep3)
Although it was Lisa’s Sweet 16, the majority of this episode was focused on the legendary Kelly-Zack-Jeff love triangle. I never understood why Lisa was so rich and stylish, yet had such a milestone birthday party at her house.
Best Quote:
“Honey, if I were Kelly, you’d still be pulling a hairbrush out of your ear, now don’t get me started.”

Surprise/InnocenceBuffy the Vampire Slayer (S2Ep13+14)
Buffy never had especially enjoyable birthday celebrations and this was the episode where it all started. Teenage heartbreak is painful enough, but imagine the guy you love and passionately give your virginity to turning into a monster…literally. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only girl that asked her boyfriend for a Claddagh ring after seeing this episode.
Best Quote:
(Xander) “You coulda just said, ‘shh!’ God, are all you Brits such drama queens? Buffy, I feel a pre-birthday spanking coming on.” (Jenny) “I’d curb that impulse if I were you, Xander.”

Mixology CertificationCommunity (S2Ep10)
This was the episode when Troy realized that turning 21 doesn’t mean you’re a grown-up who is immune to being an idiot. We also saw the serious side of this character expertly played by Mr. Donald Glover. I’d have preferred Troy’s birthday filled with childlike merriment, there’s plenty of time for the disenchantment of being an adult.
Best Quote:
Hello during a random dessert, the month and day of which coincide numerically from your expulsion from a uterus.”

The Agony and the ‘Ex’tacySex and the City (S4Ep49)
Carrie turns 35…alone. It was pretty depressing watching the usually fabulous Ms. Bradshaw have such a lackluster birthday, but it also brought some realism to what your 30s are like if rom-coms and Cosmo are any indication. Big capped off Carrie’s birthday evening with red balloons and champagne, which was simple yet romantic…classic Big.
Best Quote:
“No special guy to wish me happy birthday. No goddamn soulmate. And I don’t even know if I believe in soulmates.”

Cliff’s BirthdayThe Cosby Show (S1Ep24)
Clair was the perfect wife and Cliff was the (very) deserving husband. On his birthday she did what any fictional, ridiculously upper-middle class wife does for her husband and got him a personalized birthday performance by Lena Horne. These two were always so cute because although Cliff was the man of the house, Clair ran the show.
Best Quote:
The joy of a birthday, is finding out what the present is, before one gets it. And you know I always do.”

Honorable Mentions:

Birthday Angel
Time FliesSix Feet Under
Michael’s BirthdayThe Office
Be Careful What You Wish For – Dawson’s Creek

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hairology + ‘boy meets world’

I’ve seen every episode of Boy Meets World….several times. Is that something to be proud of? Nah. Has the knowledge that contrary to what they said, Cory and Topanga were NOT childhood sweethearts been relevant for me outside of conversations directly related to Boy Meets World? Of course not. Realizing Shawn Hunter (bad boy turned alcoholic turned poet) and Cory Matthews (regular kid turned regular teenager turned boring, married college student) had the kind of friendship I someday wanted (and finally found my freshmen year of college), was probably the only life lesson the show ever gave me.

But.

Apparently hair was an important factor for Boy Meets World. I missed that mostly because I was too busy obsessing over the lesser known, but equally hot Lawrence brother and how dumb Eric got every season. The author of “When Boy Met Curl: The mane lessons of ‘Boy Meets World‘” clearly saw what I glossed over. Outside of the author neglecting to mention Angela’s ‘do and its transitions through the series, its a good read, especially if you have a soft spot for Boy Meets World the way I do.

“I watched Boy Meets World  for two reasons.

First, it was a show that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in life. Like Cory Matthews (Ben Savage), the show’s protagonist, I didn’t have the answers growing up. He muddled his way through high school, puberty, friendships and sex, just like me. Amidst a sea of sitcom Smart-Alecks and Sassers, he was an Everyman, instantly relatable to me on every level.” (Read the full story here).

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teen nick’s ‘the 90s are all that’….the buzz that came and went

Just like all the other twentysomethings who properly appreciate nostalgia, I was SUPER pumped for the return of my favorite Nick shows. Were Clarissa’s outfits as fashionably 90s as I’d recalled? Would I still be afraid of the dark? Was Doug still as awkward as Judy was a pretentious hipster?

So I programmed my DVR  and waited patiently until the next day when I would watch while working. And it was fun. I realized Keenan and Kel wasn’t as funny the second time around, and All That didn’t really do it for me anymore. Fortunately, Clarissa and Doug held up to my prepubescent standards.

But still, I need more. I think my current lukewarm reaction mirrors those of my peers. Sure, we like the shows they have on now, but of all the old Nick programming these are not the ones we REALLY want to see. They need to throw Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Hey Dude, the Secret World of Alex Mack and Salute Your Shorts in the mix, now. Those are the shows that people sit and “hey remember that episode when…” about obsessively with their friends. Those are the ones that separate the cool kids who watched them, from those that didn’t.

Another show I’d like to see back is Hey Arnold!, which didn’t really hit me until reading Hey Arnold!: Five Reasons It’s Worthy of a Nick Comeback. My favorite part from this article: “As my brother so plainly put it, Arnold was such a great character because “he had swag.” I’d try to put it more… poetically, but it’s just the truth. After so many neurotic, loud, crazy cartoon characters on TV — SpongeBob, I’m looking at you — Arnold was a breath of fresh air. He was always unruffled.” I was so busy remembering the interracial love affair that was Gerald and Phoebe, and Arnold’s little hat that I forgot all the other quirky things about this show.

Aside from a name change (‘the 90s are All That‘ grates me and I wish it was a less obvious ploy for our collective attention), hopefully the programming team at Teen Nick, or whoever is in charge of such decisions, starts adding different shows. Until then, I will make due with fond memories and repeats of repeats of Clarissa Explains it All.

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