Boy Meets World
This family-friendly sitcom was so epic from the start that naturally they had to create a spin-off, Girl Meets World, over 20 years later. I love the fact that Cory and Topanga stayed together and are now happily married with two kids. Learning this has singularly restored my faith in relationships. I only wish Mr. Feeny were still around to dispense his awesome advice more often.
Sure, she abruptly changed her own college plans to follow her high-school jock crush to the school of his choice merely because he signed her yearbook, but once she got to New York she made the most of her college experience there, and that’s all that really matters. She awkwardly navigated love, loss, independence, academic life and her social life all while flaunting perfectly tamed curls: an impressive feat for any industrious young woman with naturally curly hair.
Ah, Capeside. How you created unrealistic expectations of what my teenage years would be like. My friends and I did not boast the impressive vocabularies that Jen, Jack, Joey, Pacey, Andie and Dawson did, nor did we have close, interpersonal relationships with our teachers and professors. Nonetheless, this was the teen drama to end all other teen dramas. I am still reeling from the series finale and can’t get over the fact that they killed Jennifer.
Although Marissa and Summer’s shallow, spoiled-rotten superficiality grew increasingly annoying over time, Seth and Ryan’s adorable bromance captivated me for all five seasons. Plus, Christmukkah! What a genius idea, Seth! The O.C. also featured a fabulous soundtrack with quintessential California bands like Rooney and Phantom Planet.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Now this is a story all about how my life got flip-turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute and sit right there and tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel Air! Carlton Banks’ sweet dance moves to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual” were pretty much the light of my ‘90s life. Sure, this sitcom was LOL hilarious, but it also dealt with some hefty issues, from higher education to gun violence.
The New Directions represented nearly every high school stereotype, but breathed new life into those stereotypes by giving them each distinct identities that are easily relatable. I personally relate to Rachel Barry’s Type-A personality and Emma Pillsbury’s OCD tendencies. Glee encourages the viewer to root for the underdog, and proves that musical magic happens when people of all backgrounds unite in the name of song and dance.
Lorelai and Rory are an unstoppable mother/daughter duo and their chemistry is as undeniably charming as their tiny town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut and its many quirky inhabitants. Growing up a small town Valedictorian, I can relate. Everyone has high expectations of their golden girl next door and everyone is invested in her success and happiness. No pressure Rory, no pressure.
In my humble opinion, this sitcom was highly underrated. Many a tween could relate to the humorous adolescent antics of Tia and Tamera. Who doesn’t love a story about twins with opposite personalities? This show also featured cool cameo appearances by RuPaul, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Mya, to name just a few.
Malcolm in the Middle
Infused with offbeat, quirky humor and irony, Malcolm in the Middle comically articulates the plight of many a middle child. Poor Malcolm. It’s hard to be a genius with a photographic memory stuck in a middle American, dysfunctional family.
Although not a conventional, linear coming-of-age series, flashbacks to Erica’s younger years occur in every episode thanks to Dr. Tom’s unconventional time travel therapy, where she gets the opportunity to go back and relive her biggest regrets one by one. Sounds far fetched, I know. But the show is so good that you won’t even care about the plausibility of it all. The first episode of the series resonated with me so much that I was compelled to binge watch the entire series from start to finish.