Hazy Pop Culture Memory: The Sitcom Characters I Pretended Were My Friends

I learned lots about the actual "Facts of Life" through my girl Natalie, who memorably lost her virginity to a dude named Snake.
Publish date:
November 28, 2011
TV, sitcoms, hazy pop culture memory

Growing up, my best friends were on sitcoms.

Nope, I wasn’t raised in Hollywood. I was just raised on TV. Lots of it.

I think I knew more about sitcom characters than about my actual schoolmates. I hung out with these guys from 8-11 pm every night. I witnessed all their wacky antics, their hair-brained schemes, their hilariously relateable experiences (unbelievably resolved in 27 minutes). I may have been unnaturally invested in them, is what I'm saying.

Allow me to introduce you to my imaginary childhood lunch table. 1) Janet Wood

Oh, Janet. "Three's Company"'s down-to-earth brunette was both manager of the Arcade Florist and of my heart. Why Janet? Damn, did that girl put up with loads of shit: Jack’s antics, constant comparisons to “hot blondes,” and the consistent rotating of roommates with whom she had to sleep next to in her tiny single bed. And she put up with it all like a champ. She had spunk, sass and always brought home lovely plants.

And the moment that really made me have a girl crush on Janet? Episode 6.5 titled “Some Of That Jazz” when after turning down her instructor Michael’s advances he said “No, Janet. No. Let me level with ya... I don't think you have what it takes to make it as a dancer!” To which Janet, Ms. Wood if you're nasty, replied “Well... let me level with you, Michael. I don't think you have what it takes to make it as a human being.” Fuck yeah, Janet! 2) Natasha “Natalie” Green

I learned lots about the actual "Facts of Life" through my girl Natalie, the first of the crew to loose her virginity with her beau Snake. The girl dated a guy named Snake! How could you not want to be her friend? She was sweet, had cheeks you wanted to squeeze so hard they’d bleed, she had a healthy self-image, and she liked to eat. I imagine we’d have sleep over parties filled with pizza, movies, cake, fun and more pizza. She was a writer so we could share our teen poetry and short stupid stories witheach other. Nat was once quoted as saying, "Who wants to be a skinny pencil? I'd rather be a happy Magic Marker!" And a magic marker she was, coloring my life with imaginary friendship. 3) Angela Shostakovich

She may have been Heather's best friend on Mr.Belverdere, but in my mind she was mine, all mine. Her main purpose in my circle is to make me laugh. Her mispronunciation of Mr. Belvedere's name got me every time, for example: Mr Bellyflop, Mr Bricklayer and Mr. Butterfinger. (Insert me howling with laughter and waving my hand in that “Oh God!l Pease too much! Stop!” way here). 4) Vanessa Huxtable

My favorite "Cosby Show" character, I think there's a little Vanessa in us all. She's a girl who wants to do the right thing but also wants to have fun. She was an excellent student even graduating early but also had a bad side, wearing make-up before her 15th birthday and having friends who smoked cigarettes in her room, both in violation of her parents' rules. The best was when she snuck off to Baltimore to see The Wretched. Although she got in major trouble I give her props for being a bookworm gone bad-ass. (Had I been her friend, I would have helpfully warned her NOT to give her tickets to a scam artist.) 5) Jonathan Bower

This little nugget was the sweet faced kid on "Who's The Boss" and my would-be pal. I and I think everyone knew he was gay and what a fabulous gay BFF he would have made: he was shy and sweet, he had good hair and he had a grandma who could teach us all about S-E-X. I would have gone to him for love advice when Jimmy P dumped me at the park or Roger wouldn't ask me to the formal, Jonathan would come over to cheer me up wearing his popped-colar dungarees jacket and sing me show tunes. Jonathan, a friend for life. 6) Dorothy Zbornak

OK. So maybe someof my choices aren't entirely age-appropriate. But do I even need to give a reason why This "Golden Girl" would be a part of my clique? The woman is amazing! Strong, sarcastic, a Brooklyn-born Italian chick you don't wanna fuck with. Dorothy's been through a lot, she got preggers in high school and married then divorced her shlub of a baby Stanley add to that a nit-picking mom and you got yourself one hardened gal. She's the OG Sammie Sweetheart, a big bitch with a heart of gold minus the spray-tan. Dorothy would boast my confidence and protect my ass from my high school bully, Katy Kearney's evil pestering. She'd pee in your enemies shampoo bottle and then bring you cheesecake so you can eat your feelings. That's my girl, DZ. 7) Sandra Clark

Because everyone needs a slutty friend. "227"s sexy lil' minx would show me how to perfectly put my boobs in a push-up bra and put a condom on a cucumber. She'd be my wing-woman, giving me tips and tricks on how to land a man and boasting my confidence with her sex-positive high self-esteem swagger. We'd work out together doing lots of squats to get our butts in spandex-wearing shape. We'd high-five a lot. Her constant purring of "Maaaaaaa-rrrrrrry" would send me and everyone at the party into hysterics. 8) Jennifer Keaton

The "Family Ties" tomboy would be my most "normal" friend. Jennifer would be the pal who's house I loved having dinner at because her super liberal, actually-interested-in-my-life parents would talk to me like a grown-up discussing politics, history and Woodstock. As we grew up together, Jennifer and would discover the joys of teasing our hair and off the shoulder sweatshirts. We'd gripe together about our desire to be friends with the "cool kids" and I'd so be by her side when her parents planned her that lame purple birthday party. With one another by each others side we'd be cooler than we ever dreamed.

Of course now, I have a much firmer grip on reality and I only want to be best friends with a few of the women on TV. I'm interested to see if you guys have any television friendcrushes, or if you were all too busy playing outside with human children to friend crush on elderly women.