Favorite TV shows: Cheesy, Corny

'Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" From the moment when Jan uttered those words, I was in love with the Bradys, all nine of them (you have to include Alice). I loved nerdy Jan, sweet Cindy, pretty Marsha, hunky Greg, awkward Peter, and annoying Bobby. I was enamored with perfect Mom and Dad Brady, and wished that Alice was my housekeeper. They were the perfect family, which created the perfect television show, The Brady Bunch . My love for "the Bunch" started early. I discovered it the summer that I was six, when stranded in Iowa. I tuned in to Nick at Nite, which was airing a "Bunch-A-Thon." I sat down and heard one bar of the catchy theme song, and I was hooked. As a product of the ultra-cool '90s, I really dug the silliness of the '70s, from the laugh track to the baby-doll dresses. My parents, who grew up with (and mocked) the show, were confused, but content. After all, what bad could come from watching the Brady clan?

The Bradys made anything seem possible. Can a person really solve a family dilemma by building a house of cards? Suuuurre. Is it possible to get super-groovy Davy Jones of the Monkees to play at my prom? Of course! But who will take me to the prom? Why, Davy Jones will! If I ever had a problem, the Bunch had an answer. Maybe the family's idealized world gave me a little reassurance. After all, I didn't grow up in so innocent a time. I grew up in a land where my friends' moms and dads got divorced, where parents died, and some people didn't get straight A's. Sure, that stuff happened in the '70s, but not on The Brady Bunch. The show was an escape from reality...oh, and an opportunity to laugh at what a nerd Jan was. -- Anne Baker, Carlsbad H.S.

'It's all right because I'm saved by the bell" is a phrase that will bring back Saturday-morning memories to almost anyone my age. The Saved by the Bell theme song is so catchy, that once you hear a couple of words, you immediately know what it is...especially if it was your favorite show. Every Saturday morning, I'd sit down with breakfast and wait for Saved by the Bell to come on. I got sucked into it no matter what was going on around me. I couldn't wait to see what Mr. Belding and Lisa Turtle were up to. Set in a high school (for the majority of the show), Saved by the Bell dealt with issues that pertained to kids. I remember one episode in which Jessie took caffeine pills to stay awake because she had taken on too much in her life. I remember this episode so distinctly because I was going through something similar at the time, trying to please too many people at once. I took the show as a lesson to slow down and take life one day at a time. I know it sounds cheesy, but that show taught me something.

These days, I still get sucked into the show, but not in the same way I did when I was eight. Even though it is full of cheesy jokes and corny storylines, it never gets outdated; all the things that happened in Bayside ten years ago still happen in schools today. When producers tried to duplicate the success of the show by creating The New Class, it didn't go over well; they re-used story lines from Saved by the Bell and filmed the same episodes with a different cast. The original was so good, there was no need to try and cater to a new audience. -- John Twilla, Hilltop H.S.

'Shut up. The camera adds ten pounds!" "So, how many cameras are actually on you?" The lines above are from my all-time favorite sitcom, Friends. It was the one in which Chandler made fun of Monica for being more than slightly overweight in her younger years. Any true Friends fan can recall the episode. Set in New York City, the show, which finished its ten-year run in 2004, follows the lives of six friends who share three apartments and, despite their jobs, hang out a lot at Central Perk, their favorite coffee shop.

There is Rachel, who is spoiled and stuck up, yet sweet at heart. Monica is paranoid about organization, numbering her china so that she will know if a piece is ever missing. Ross is the smart, rational one, but always finds his way into awkward situations (such as when he over-whitened his teeth to impress a date). Joey is the not-so-smart one but most skilled in the dating department, with his signature line, "How you doin'?" Chandler is the sarcastic, socially awkward one with the boring job as an accountant; the group always makes fun of him.

Phoebe, my favorite, has a quirky personality; she once thought her deceased grandmother's soul was trapped inside of her body. On another episode, in an effort to get Rachel off of a plane that had not yet taken off, Phoebe called her to let her know that she "had a feeling" that something was wrong with the left "phalange." And Phoebe found it ironic that she had the chicken pox despite her being a vegetarian. Phoebe's naïveté is slightly humorous, yet her sincerity about what she believes in is admirable.

The show was brilliantly written, and half of the entertainment is watching the six characters' personalities mesh and clash at the same time. Each would be boring without the others. You don't have to be familiar with the storyline to enjoy an episode. And they never get old. Just flip on TBS or the WB and find a rerun after a busy day and laughter is guaranteed. -- Naomi Serling-Boyd, Mt. Carmel H.S.

To young children, cartoons are always appealing. As a ten-year-old, nothing could end a day better than plopping down on the couch with my little brother and watching Hey Arnold. Arnold practiced good deeds and had all the friends a kid could dream of. Since I had three friends back in the day, this allowed me to use my imagination and live his life for about a half hour. Other than his witty grandparents, the people in Arnold's life weren't similar to the people in mine. I didn't have a sad life when I was younger, but everything always worked out in Arnold's world. Arnold was an infallible role model; no matter what kind of obstacles presented themselves, he had overcome them all by the end of the day. What child would not want that kind of life? When I watched this show, I felt a sense of renewal and determination to conquer my difficulties, just like Arnold.

There was a lesson to be derived from every episode. For instance, one show was about the female bully of the school, Helga, who did not treat her older sister, Olga, nicely. Olga tried to show love for her little sister, but Helga repelled it until the very end, when both recognized the need for sisterly love. My brother and I used to argue constantly and I could have applied that lesson to my own situation...but I didn't. The point is, though, I could have.

I did learn at least a couple of things from Hey Arnold -- how to be a good friend and how to solve life's little problems. -- Alexis Sebring, Carlsbad H.S.

Lost. The mention of the word can put a panicky look in someone's eyes...mine, at least. Lost is the best TV show ever! Every Wednesday, I sit and stare at the fast-paced action and sometimes chilling scenes that play out on a creepy island. My favorite main characters are Jack and Sawyer. Jack, because he has that "I'm the hero" aura, and Sawyer, because he's, well, Sawyer. Ha-ha! Every episode is complex, which makes me go mad for more. One of my favorite episodes is when Locke and Kate go into the mysterious hatch with Jack. He follows them, in case he has to play hero. It was eerie when a beam of light enveloped Kate, who was in the hatch and then disappeared. I had dreams about that scene for a few days. Every episode is new and exciting, with surprising twists. So, every episode is my favorite.

Whenever it comes on, I rush to the TV. I even have my cell-phone alarm set to go off five minutes before show time. I usually watch the show with my parents, but they don't understand the show as well as I do. Both of them are too busy rolling their eyes at me in amusement! The only other person I know who is as crazy about Lost as I am is my multi-cultural lit. teacher, Ms. Thomas. Thank goodness someone is! -- Lee Ann Gonzales, Monte Vista H.S.

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