The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is back in the news, with a new trailer for the gritty, dramatic reboot hitting the internet. And, as we’ve mentioned before, a serious reimagining of the classic ‘90s sitcom actually makes a lot of sense, and can potentially explore the drama inherent in the premise – and possibly later seasons will tackle the existential horror of Aunt Viv suddenly appearing to be an entirely different person. 

So, hey, why not reboot even more ‘90s sitcoms as laughtrackless misery machines because, in retrospect, many of these goofy shows also showcased absolutely senseless tragedies. For example, a not insubstantial amount of family comedies in the ‘90s were predicated on the death of a parent and/or partner; whether it was Danny Tanner’s wife in Full House, Mr. Sheffield’s wife in The Nanny, Tamera’s adoptive mom (and also biological mom) on Sister, Sister, or how several of the Golden Girls’ husbands kicked the bucket offscreen – Rose’s husband actually died while having sex with her, which you have to imagine would be insanely traumatizing. Incidentally, Rose also suffered from an opioid addiction before the issue was so widely discussed on TV. 

Not to mention how the show, which ran from the mid-’80s to the early ‘90s, went out of its way to address the stigma surrounding AIDS. And that’s still just the tip of that show’s iceberg of emotional intensity. 

Sitcom executives were responsible for more deaths of fictional loved ones than Walt Disney and Morley cigarettes combined; even in Family Matters, we learn that Rachel’s husband died, forcing her and her young son to move in with the Winslows. And before that show devolved into homicidal ventriloquist dummies-levels of unadulterated madness, it investigated some heavy issues ranging from economic turmoil to racial profiling to alcoholism –  then there was the episode in which Laura is assaulted, decides to buy a handgun, and only changes her mind because, while she’s making her shady deal in the school parking lot, a fellow student gets shot in an entirely unrelated incident that thankfully doesn’t end with Urkel mugging to the camera. 

Even a show like Frasier, which eventually became a veritable factory for farcical misunderstandings, began with the depressing premise: “what if your emotionally-distant father was very nearly murdered?” And, of course, if there was a Hall of Fame of Absolute Bummers, an entire wing could be devoted to the series finale of Dinosaurs.

What we’re saying is: please hire the Jim Henson Company to make the prestige TV drama version of Dinosaurs immediately. 

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Top Image: NBC TV

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