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I remember Punky Brewster, this was another gem that came under the
helm of former NBC executive Brandon Tarkitkoff. I'm a guy and I used
to watch it religiously as a kid during it's first few years on NBC. No
I'm not ashamed to admit that I liked this goofy girl targeted show,
hey I was just a little kid myself. Punky Brewster first aired in 1984
(that year of the 80's were everything seemed to happen), regularly
clocking in on every Sunday night. And not only did I have a crush on
both Solei Moon Frye and Cherie Johnson, but I loved their bright
primary color schemed clothes and the non-condescending (to children),
informative story lines. The series also perfectly captured the mood
and feel of the mid 1980's. You can watch these early episodes and tell
it was from that 1984 and 1985 time period. When the father Henry tries
to get Punky to go to sleep and tells her something along the lines of,
"but I let you stay up to watch Silver Spoons AND Knight Rider!", it
will bring warm feelings and a smile to the face of everyone who had a
childhood in the 80's. Apparently there was a real Punky Brewster, a
childhood friend of Brandon Tartikoff's that made a guest appearance in
one episode. Punky's dog was even named "Brandon", which was an in-joke
that I somehow understood even as a child.
There was some stupidity here and there, such as one episode where Henry asked Punky's friend Allen for advice on performing CPR on a girl in critical condition. Henry's an adult, so why is he consulting a 7 year old boy for life saving medical advice? Even if he didn't know CPR himself, he could get help instead of relying on a small child. I wouldn't think about stuff like this as a kid, but today it seems more absurd. Like cartoons of the era, the series tried to empower children and give them more weight and wisdom then they would usually have in the real world.
But I have to say I did not like the later years of Punky. Once the show left NBC and went into cheapo syndication, it lost a lot of the magic and charm. The series no longer seemed to be about grumpy old Henry (played wonderfully by George 'Police Academy' Gaynes), and both his and Punky's adjustments to a non-traditional family. Instead all became about Punky, Punky, Punky. When it was on NBC, Punky Brewster was a show that could be watched by most people and of both genders. But the late 80's years had Solei Moon Frye inevitably getting older and lose a lot of her cuteness/innocence. The quality of writing seemed to go down when it was off NBC as well. Punky and the other girls turned into mean spirited, gossiping, boy crazy pre-teens. The kid who played Allen (the only recurring male child) had no room in such a show and was subsequently booted. I really liked Allen too, because I remember that kid being my male eyes into world of Punky.
The show degraded into a primarily chick targeted TV show, which resulted in a heavy loss of it's male audience as well as whatever adult audience it had. I guess they couldn't avoid Solei Moon Frye and the other girls getting older, but I wish more of an attempt was made to keep the series a bit more balanced with the Henry storyline. Still, for anyone that spent most or all their childhood years in the 1980's, Punky Brewster is an important part of pop culture lore for us. High school kids in the 80's had "The Breakfast Club" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", but elementary school aged children had Punky Power.
What happened to the sweet, precocious little girl we all grew up with?
When the series was canceled, I felt there was something amiss and I
wanted the network to bring Punky Brewster back... they never did. Now
I cannot find reruns anywhere, did everyone forget how special and
beautiful this little show was? It was one of those hidden gems, a show
that brought the whole family together.
When I came home from school in the afternoon, there were two shows: Small Wonder and Punky Brewster. When they came on, I would stop whatever I was doing, glue myself to the television, slip on my different-colored sneakers and instantly I'd have Punky Power! I remember how Soliel Moon Frye lit up the room every time she smiled, it was like you knew everything was going to be alright. I loved how the show was always fresh and innocent, much better than the violence-induced cop shows and legal dramas of today's audience.
"Punky Brewster", while primarily geared to children, was an
entertaining staple to the traditional 80's sitcom offerings. Centered
around a young orphan and her older foster father, the show featured
laughs, tears, lessons in life, and 30 minutes for watchers to kick
back their feet.
While Soliel Moon Frye was the ultimate carrier of this show, the supporting cast, in my opinion were underrated....a lot of strong talent and great chemistry evident. The funny jabs between Betty and Henry was a throwback to the "Jefferson's" George and Florence. (Interesting to note, Marla Gibbs and Susie Garrett are sisters). Alan was a funny child actor, playing the roll of the goofy pre-teen boy possibly just beginning to discover girls (ahead of his fellow boy classmates) and playing along with them as friends and trying to entertain them with his humor. Margaux was amusing as well, with her sassy yet funny views on the wealthy lifestyle (Her facial expressions were hilarious, as were some of her over the top party dresses and comments on various situations...her arrival via helicopter to summer camp took the cake). And Cherie...ever the sidekick...charming and reliable. During an episode where she finally came to terms with the death of her parents,her dramatic performance demonstrated how strong a child actress she really was, conveying emotions and playing the part with every everything she had. I am amazed she was not seen in larger rolls after this show.
In general, this was a fun show, and despite being a kids production, it featured some talented players who managed to catch the attention of at least this viewer.
I loved the show Punky Brewster. I've seen each and every one of the episodes. I loved how she always wore very colorful clothes(and different shoes by the way), that funky bed that leaned over when she got on it, her very colorful room(along with the colorful window and shade),her dog, her friends, her treehouse, and the way she brightened up the room when she walked in. My favorite episode was the 5 parter when Henry has a heart attack and Punky has to go to "Fenster Hall" until Henry can get back on her feet. Little did they know Punky was going to be adopted by a rich snobby couple. I wish they would put the re-runs on family channel so I can record them and cherish them for the rest of my life.
I grew up on this show. I remember putting my hair in pigtails right before it started. And I don't know how many times I was Punky for Halloween. I have bought the seasons to watch with my daughters and they LOVE it. I watch my 10 year old when we watch it and it is so neat to see her love it the way I did. It's a good learning show for kids as well. Punky learns to say no to drugs. Gets a lesson on cheating, lieing, stealing and much, much more. It also shows a lot to do with family and the love of other people. Punky came a long way after her mother leaves her and it shows that children of a not so good home life can over come it all with love, friendship and laughter! If you have young children and you liked this show it is just a good and funny to re-watch with them if not better.
I posted the first comment for Punky Brewster when I was at least 10. Back then I missed the show more than I do now, though it would be cool to see it again. I exaggerated when I called this Soleil Moon Frye's best, because the only thing I've seen her in besides this is an episode of the Wonder Years (though if ever see her in Sabrina reruns, maybe that'll change). Anyway, Punky was a great show, especially for young kids who wanted a positive role model. My favorite episode has to be the "Miss Adorable" one. I watched that tape of it so much it isn't even in good condition anymore. If it comes back, maybe I'll tape it. For now, I have the memories (and the theme song, for that matter) in my head.
I only "discovered" this series last year, when it had a brief run on early morning TV (very early indeed). I like Punky a lot. She reminds me of me. I was just like her, growing up in the eighties, being a cute little tomboy, etc. In fact this show is the quintessential eighties TV show and that's why I love it. Punky Brewster is a much better sitcom than the majority of the trash that was around in the 80s. I give it 8 out of 10.
To be honest like many others, I actually watched the cartoon as a kid first
before I even
KNEW that it was a live action TV show when they put it on the Family
before Fox bought it and then sold it to ABC)
When I finally got to see the live action show I figured it was based on the cartoon. Not that it mattered, I liked this much better. I don't think I really liked Glomer actually. Though when I saw the live version the first time I was curious as to where he was and relieved he wasn't there.
I would watch this religiously when it was on the Family Channel after school. This was a couple years after they stopped syndicating Small Wonder and it filled the void left by that loss.
I'm amazed at how Soleil Moon Frye turned out. She was a cute child who grew into a beautiful woman. She hardly looks the same!
She was on VH1's "I Love the 80's" (hich reminds me, I really do love the 80's.) last year and I finally caught it last month. When I saw her as an interviewee and read the little caption at the bottom and it said who she was, I was like, "Get out of here. That's her?" She was on an episode of Saved by the Bell a while ago (Ok, so it was over 10 years ago.) as Screech's gold digger girlfriend. (Oddly enough, it's not credited on IMDb.) and she still looked like she did as a kid. Amazing.
The father figure, George Gaynes, was perfect in his role.
If they put it on DVD, I would probably think about buying it, but I'd much rather take it one at a time on Nick at Nite. Now. If only they'd pick it up.
While 80's fashion was a little wonky, at least all the networks were cranking out shows left and right. Punky Brewster was an abandoned little girl with a golden retriever. So an old guy takes her in, gives her a rainbow colored bed and numerous other comforts for the tomboy. Watching TV as a kid, she was the first girl I ever had a crush on. Now Soleil Moon Frye can be see on VH1's I Love the 80s and she is hot. Anyway, for some reason they can't make fun shows like this anymore. They've either lost the power, the will or have become very lazy. She should definitely make a comeback like "Punky Brewster: Working Woman".
I was just watching vh1's I love the 80s and remembered Punky Brewster. I was hooked on that show and I even had a Punky doll. She had such a unique style and attitude towards life. I don't think there was another character on tv that empowered young girls the way she did. I was just a little kid when the show was on and because I hated my first name I decided that I wanted to be known only as Punky. So to this day, 18 years after the show premiered, I am still known as Punky. Who wouldn't want to embody her image! The best episodes were when Henry got really sick and Punky was taken away by that rich couple. I was soo worried that Punky would never see Henry again, weren't we all?! Oh yea, they need to bring back the reruns!
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