• Fri, Dec 20 - 4:30 pm ET

I Love Lucy And Other Awesome Old TV Shows I’m Going To Force My Kids To Watch

tvMy parents were pretty strict with TV when I was a kid, but that didn’t stop me from secretly watching my all-time favorite show… The Simpsons. Say what you will about how technology and screen time are ruining our current generation, but there’s just something about good old TV, especially classic TV, that brings families together.

Instead of taking my kids to an art museum or a historical war exhibit, I’m going to force them to watch the classics, dammit! They’ll learn to appreciate television at its finest, laugh tracks and all, and they may even learn a few pop-culture references while they’re at it.

Here’s my family’s enforced classic TV lineup for a rainy day:

1.   I Love Lucy 

Wahhh! Basically, I just want my kids to be subjected to the whiny Lucille Ball voice sometime in their lives. Also, they need to see the famous chocolate factory episode before they hit middle school.

(Image: npr)

(Image: npr)

2.   The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch!!! This was one of the few shows that I loved so hard, I had no idea it wasn’t current when I was a kid. But don’t get me started on the horror show that was My Fair Brady on VH1…

3.   Mary Tyler Moore

I loved, loved, loved Mary Tyler Moore, especially the part where she whimsically throws her hat in the air in the intro. MTM was one of the few “clean” TV shows I was allowed to watch endless reruns of as a kid.


4.   Happy Days

Happy Days just makes me happy. Young kids will also get to see early Ron Howard before he became a mogul director and produced Arrested Development (clearly his finest accomplishment).

5.   Laverne and Shirley

I remember watching Laverne and Shirley on a really old school TV while my mom did crafts. Let’s be honest, I just like the intro and could listen to their silly chant on a loop all day long: “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” (Bonus, Laverne and Shirley was a Happy Days spinoff.)

 6.   The Cosby Show

I still kinda wish Bill Cosby was my dad. Aaaaand now I want a Jell-O pudding pop.

 7.   Full House

I have such a soft spot in my heart for Full House because I was full-on obsessed with the show throughout its run into the early 90s. Full House worked its charm on me so much that I wished I had a dead mom and a few hot uncles to raise me. Don’t ask…

 8.   Rosanne 

Rosanne may be a crazy bitch, but she’s also kind of awesome. If you want your kids to see what the average angsty family was like in the 90s, turn on Rosanne for a half hour of “education.”

9.   The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

If your kids only know the Smith family by Willow or Jaden, you must be doing something wrong as a parent. Sit those kiddies down and make them watch a Fresh Prince marathon until they can rap the opening credits to prove their devotion.

 10. Malcolm in the Middle

This show barely falls into classic status, but it’s no longer on air, and it was awesome. Malcolm in the Middle made me appreciate my crazy family for all it was and wish they were even crazier. (Bonus, Bryan Cranston pre-Breaking Bad!)

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Golden Girls! I am so excited to show my kid Golden Girls. Also, Degrassi.

  • JussyLee

    Bob Ross’s Joy of Painting! I have all 32 seasons taking up a rediculous amount of space on my computer’s hard drive. Dammit if my kid doesn’t receive a daily dose of HAPPY LITTLE TREES!

  • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

    And when they get older, A Different World. Man, that was heavy.

  • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

    Yes to all of these. Laverne and Shirley was my favorite. I wanted to pin a giant M on ever shirt I owned so bad.

  • Lee

    We do a lot of PeeWee’s Playhouse and Punky Brewster. When the kid is older I will start introducing Gilligan’s Island.

    • Bethany Ramos


  • Janok Place

    We keep a woody tv and VCR in our livingroom. We prefer to think of it as a history lesson… I mean really, will kids in 20 years even be able to identify a woody tv AS a tv? It’s important to preserve tradition ;)

    • http://anniedeezy.tumblr.com/ Annie

      Oh man, we had one of those tvs when I was a kid. The speakers blew out, it was amazing.

  • http://carrie-murphy.com/ Carrie Murphy

    I Love Lucy is life.

  • fallinseattle

    For me, it’s all about Bewitched and the Dick Van Dyke Show.

  • Aussiemum

    Malcolm in the middle came on the other day, and Mr 7 watched for a bit then announced, “wow Mum, Walter has 2 families and he cooks drugs? He’s busier than you!” Uumm, yea right. I didn’t realise he was paying so much attention!
    My re-favourite show right this minute is, Beverly Hills 90210. It’s just come back on tv out here, last week and I’m so fucking happy! I’ve got my pay tv box set to series link it and record it everyday. Mmmmm Luke Perry is a freaking spunk!
    I’ve watched Roseanne from beginning to end, twice! I wish I had her one liners to throw back at my kidlets when they piss me off. Can’t find Full House anywhere! Miss 11 is loving watching Happy days, but she can’t believe that the Fonz is the coolest person on earth, WTACTUALF child? Nobody is as cool as the Fonz, except for maybe Dylan McKay.

    • Bethany Ramos

      That is sooooo funny – and I could watch 90210 all DAY.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    My kid is so into Full House, thanks to Nick at Night. :)

  • Armchair Observer

    And for the Millenials set: Boy Meets World, Clarissa Explains it All, and Are You Afraid of the Dark. Friday and Saturday nights in the 90s were the BEST.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Yes! And always, always Saved By The Bell!

  • AmazingE

    Leave it to Beaver-This one is good for parents and kids to watch together. Kids get the wholesome family entertainment, and parents get to see how long they can go before they start laughing about all the unintentional “beaver” jokes.

  • Sophie

    What about The Monkees?