You may have been too falling in love with Topanga Lawrence to notice, but 90's TV was weird, man. Here's a brief review of five sitcom sidekicks that truly out-weirded the rest.
1. Sam Anders, "Clarissa Explains it All"
In case you haven't bought the complete box series to watch regularly, Sam Anders was Clarissa's best friend and neighbor. The quintessential laid back surfer/skater dude, Sam was the perfect balance to Clarissa's dramatic and saracastic personality. So what's so weird about this kid? Sam wasn't the overcomfortable friend who comes into your house through the garage. He wasn't even the Urkle-esque neighbor who just pops open the back door to say hello. This audacious bastard routinely CLIMBED into a 15 year old girl's bedroom through a ladder he strategically kept against up to her window. Where the hell were the parents on that one? Did they not foresee any issues with other strange men climbing through that window? And most importantly, why did this show win an Emmy?
2. Kimmy Gibler, "Full House"
Ah yes, the Gibler. This may seem pretty obviously because the show was pretty intentional in making Kimmy a weird sidekick. But have you ever actually considered the family's relationship with this girl? They were straight up cruel. Think about it. You're lanky, you're awkward, your entire family is noticably absent from your life All you want to do is kick it with your best friend. And what happens when you hang out at her house? Her family berates you with sarcastic one-liners and pained catchphrases. You're an angsty pre-teen getting your ass handed to you by baby Olsens. For a family that happily skirted around the issue of having three dads, they were far too eager to shit on someone for being different. For shame, Tanners. For shame.
3. Cody Lambert, "Step by Step"
Because a sitcom about a family of 8 obviously didn't have nearly enough characters, the Step by Step writers invited Cody Lambert to the party. Cody was the flakely nephew of patriach Frank Lambert. The family loved him enough to feed him and invite on family outings, but not enough to let him move out from his van in the driveway. Seriously. This guy was on the show for 5 seasons, shared a last name, and slept outside like a damned dog. Actually, scratch that, because they had a dog. And it slept in the house.
4. The Entire Plot, "Dinosaurs"
I'm going to sidestep the horrifying character of Baby Sinclair who'd crazed shouts of "I'm the Baby, Gotta Love Me" while hitting family members with frying pans still haunts my dreams. Because you know what? The crazy dinosaur baby isn't even the weirdest part of this show. Now we were largely too young to catch the subtle undertones in each weekly episode, so I'll make my point with the show's finale which ended with the DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD. If you fail to remember that, it's because the final episode came with a parental warning and you probably weren't allowed to watch it. Let me set the scene: chemically-fuelled storms clouds roll in, all plantlife of the entire planet dies out, and the dino-children gaze into their parents beady eyes and whisper "What's going to happen to us?" Then the TV they're huddled around announces the impending cold front of the Ice Age .anddddd fade to black. Leave it to the 90s to end a primetime sitcom with the apocaylpse.
5. Mr. Belding/Dennis Haskins, "Saved By The Bell"
Not because his character had a relationship with his students that was far too close for comfort. Not even because he himself still hangs out in Spring Break destinations, ripping shots with co-eds and slurring about his glory days at Bayside. Why? Because last month, over a decade after it went off the air, Dennis Haskins put out an entire album entitled "Karaoke with Your Favorite Principal Dennis A.K.A. Mr. Belding." I'm not joking. It's real. And I want it.