If you were alive in the 1990s, then TGIF was more than likely part of your cultural upbringing. ABC had a smash hit for a decade as they put a parade of half-hour comedy shows on Friday nights, making the choice between going out and staying home and watching TV an actually difficult choice. Thank God it’s Friday, and Thank Goodness it’s Funny.
There were some unbelievable hit shows in that decade, and a few absolute clunkers. Eventually it faded away at the beginning of the Aughties, but nothing encapsulates the television landscape of the 1990s more than TGIF. (Well, maybe Friends and Seinfeld, too.)
Tottenham Hotspur had a pretty phenomenal match yesterday, beating Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane behind a Dele Alli brace and snapping the Blues’ 13-match winning streak. With apologies to our British readers who might not know these shows, it’s a day to celebrate, so let’s rank the Spurs players to something happy: TGIF sitcoms.
5 Stars: Full House
Is this the most critically acclaimed or best written show in TGIF’s run? Probably not. It was schmaltzy, dorky, and extraordinarily saccharine, but it was equally heartwarming and feel-good and warm. People loved it fiercely, and it’s the first show that emerges on people’s lips when people think of TGIF. The Tanner family were goofy and kind, and the show served as a cultural touchstone from the early 1990s. It also launched the careers of John Stamos, the Olsen Twins, and Bob Saget (whose actual comedy is raunchy as hell, it’s amazing he landed this series).
Dele Alli: Two goals, both from excellent runs and both with his head. His transformation into an all-around attacking midfielder is glorious. This might be the moment that we point to and say “THIS is when Dele Alli became a superstar.”
Christian Eriksen: Two assists today, and both of them were served on a platter to Dele’s head. Was extremely progressive with his passing, even if a not all of his passes into the box didn’t pan out. A fantastic performance.
Victor Wanyama: This was Victor at his absolute best, and it came because the tactics suited his strengths and minimized his weaknesses. He operated at an exceptionally high level as a deep midfield destroyer kept N’Golo Kante in his pocket for much of the match.
4.5 Stars: Family Matters
Family Matters almost feels like a response to Full House, in that it follows a blue collar African-American family instead of a upper middle class white family. It probably had the best character of any show on this list in Steve Urkel, who’s madcap antics and unrequited love for the Laura (while creepy) had most of us in stitches. (Except Ben Daniels, who hates this with the fires of 1000 suns.) Sure, it jumped the shark, but most sitcoms do. In its prime, this was a must-watch show.
Toby Alderweireld: Once again, Toby was the best defender in a very good performance from the best defensive line in England. Toby did excellently in containing Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
4 Stars: Boy Meets World
Full disclosure: this show wasn’t my jam, but as I discovered quickly in the writer’s room, it has its fierce devotees. It was well written for a sitcom and shows the development of the main character from a sixth grader through adolescence and into college, and that’s something. The relationship between Cory and Topanga, and also Cory and Mr. Feeney are highlights of the show, and it was definitely heartwarming as we watched Cory grow up before our eyes. The sequel, Girl Meets World, which follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter, was just cancelled after three seasons.
Danny Rose: Another impressive showing from Rose who was extremely aggressive on the right in going after Victor Moses. Played with an edge that at times looked likely to tip over into poor discipline, but he kept things mostly in check.
Kyle Walker: Walker didn’t get forward as much as I expected him to but he was fine defensively and was involved in both of Tottenham’s goals. Did a nice job with Marcos Alonso.
Jan Vertonghen: Jan had some of the best moments of any defender on the team, but he also had the scariest moments as he found himself high up the pitch on more than one occasion. Overall: not much to complain about.
Mousa Dembele: Moose was a big reason why Spurs were able to keep control of a Chelsea midfield that included Kante and Matic, two players who gave Spurs fits at Stamford Bridge. Spurs looked worse when he was subbed off.
Eric Dier: Like against Watford, Eric Dier looked so solid as a right sided defender in a back three. Is it wrong that I still want him in midfield, though?
3.5 stars: Perfect Strangers
Man, I loved this show, even though it wasn’t as good as the ones above it in this list. First, it was set in Chicago (when most sitcoms were in New York), and secondly the interplay between Larry and Balki was just fantastic. Very awkward fish-out-of-water. Much odd-couple. So don’t-be-redikulus. Amaze.
Hugo Lloris: Again, Lloris didn’t have to do too much (credit to Spurs’ defense) but had a couple of nice stops from Diego Costa efforts.
3 stars: Dinosaurs / Mr. Belvedere
Dinosaurs looks like a Jim Henson production, and that’s because it started out that way. While most people remember it mostly for the catchphrase “NOT THE MAMA! NOT THE MAMA!” it’s an underrated gem and took on some pretty serious environmental themes during its run. It also had a pretty depressing as hell ending, which is unique. I’m also including Mr. Belvedere, which is only a TGIF show as a technicality as it appeared in the first TGIF lineup and only for a year, but it’s an underrated, perfectly acceptable sitcom, and because I always liked the interplay between Christopher Hewett and Bob Uecker. Plus, it had a great theme song.
Harry Kane: Did Kane have an especially great match? Nope. Does it matter? Not really. Kane nearly got onto the end of a chipped ball in the opening minutes but spent much of the match running around. That said, he still worked hard to drag Chelsea players out of position and kept Chelsea honest.
Harry Winks: Winksy got 20 minutes against Chelsea in reserve — not bad — but he didn’t really do much of anything and had almost no time on the ball, having made only three passes. He wasn’t awful, and expecting a 19-year old kid to have a huge impact against Chelsea’s midfield is a bit unfair.
2 stars: Teen Angel
This show only lasted 17 episodes, and it’s no wonder. The premise — a teenager dies after eating bad hamburger and comes back as an angel to his best friend — was awful, and it also featured Firefly’s Ron Glass in perhaps his worst role as God’s cousin Ron, which brings up all sorts of theological implications. It’s bad, don’t bother looking it up.
There wasn’t a single Spurs player who was even this bad.
1 star: Baby Talk
No. No no no no no. No. A sitcom very loosely based on “Look Who’s Talking” and featuring Tony Danza as the voice of a talking baby. It was so bad that the role of the single mother Maggie had three different actresses during its two-season run. This show is further evidence that things like intelligence are not hard requirements for a job as a network TV producer.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Tony Danza voicing a talking baby.