Cue the cheesy laugh track and canned “awwwws”— TGIF is making a comeback. On the heels of its syndication of Seinfeld and The Golden Girls, Hulu has acquired the original runs of Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Perfect Strangers, and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. All told, more than 800 episodes of early ’90s family sitcom goodness from the early 90s will be yours to stream come September 29th.
TGIF or “Thank Goodness It’s Funny”, was the last known programming block created by a network to provide wholesome family entertainment that was cheesier than that bow-tie pasta your kid loves so much. TGIF was created to fill the space left by the raunchy comedies like Married with Children, Martin, Seinfeld, and ABC’s own Roseanne, which dominated the airwaves. Executives figured families would want a block of shows, they were right. Full House, Family Matters, and the rest of the shows, which all followed more or less the standard sitcom formula, served up a laugh-tracked version of family life full of catch phrases and very special moments that neatly wrapped up in 22 minutes. And, they all existed in the same universe (screw you Marvel!), as this clip of Uncle Jesse and Steve Urkel can confirm.
Of course, Hulu’s TGIF collection is a little incomplete. Classics like Boy Meets World, Dinosaurs, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch are not in the lineup. But nostalgia — or at least a yearning for what someone once loved but now loves to hate, never goes out of style. The resurrection of TGIF along with reboots like Fuller House and next year’s return of Roseanne shows America’s thirst for TV’s golden sitcom days. Yes, we love our dragons and white walkers, but sometimes hearing Cousin Larry banter with Balki Bartokomous is apparently something we still want.