Television rarely comes on in my dorm room, guess that’s how it gets in college with paper after paper and the guilty slippage into partying. On those luke-warm Friday and Saturday nights I like to watch “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World,” shows that are incredible, shoes that were live for a different generation. When I think about my childhood though, I remember the countless shows that were amazing, but I have never seen again since. They literally disappeared with a slightly warned season finality, while leaving you with a Chicago Cub’s fan hope that another episode would air. I present you with a list to highlight the 90’s baby tv-shows that left quietly.
My Brother and Me
Who didn’t want an older brother with a fade and the diagonal part? From 1994-95 I could remember enjoying the comedic plots that were meant to raise the kids. There were not and still aren’t too many shows that imitate the lives of young, urban, Black kids. It definitely answered questions specific to the lived experience of Black kids. The last episode I remember was the one when Alfie landed a lead role in the school play “Romeo and Juliet.” Of course much of the plot revolved around the big kiss.
Although for an older crowd, this show still had the late 90’s Black culture feel that “My Brother and Me” had. I mean 702 recorded the theme song, good fashion still included overalls, and of course the Puff Daddy influenced opening credits. This was the show that also started the careers of Meagan Good and Robert Ri’chard. Cousin Skeeter (voiced by Bill Bellamy), the outrageously funny puppet, never surprised me with the amount of trouble he could get into by attempting to do simple things. Between 1998 and 2003, you were not cool in grammar school if you didn’t have the Skeeter finger puppet from Burger King.
Coming out of the 90’s, this was the perfect show for the big dreamer. Taina herself was a teenager living in New York, that wanted to be a big star. I guess you could figure out the dos and don’ts of promoting yourself in a way that was comprehensible to pre-teens and teens. Not to mention, before George Lopez, “Taina” was the television source for representing Latina family life and culture. I learned about the matriarchal traditions of various Latina culture; I’m proud to say that I was raised by Lisa Lisa (she played Taina’s mother) of “Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam.” The episode I will never forget was the one when 3LW guest-appeared. Under the pseudonym of “Blue Mascara,” they helped illustrate the importance of friendship and gave a memorable performance of the song “No More.”
As Told By Ginger
With a theme song by the ever soulful Macy Gray, As Told By Ginger could have passed as an artifact of Black culture. Nevertheless, the show’s cast was full of color, but what made this show amazing was its adolescently hipster aura (like Michael Cera movies). It dealt with the traditional problems of middle school and high school with a unique “Mean Girls” attitude. In fact, this show is an ancestor of Mean Girls. I always loved the interactions with Ginger and her Black friend with locks, Darren, as he always dropped some deep knowledge for Ginger’s problems.