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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blossom is a '90s sitcom that often talks openly about tough issues such as drug addiction, alcoholism, divorce, and sex, as well as the ups and downs of being a teen. Though the series shows its age -- nowhere more so than in Blossom's iconic wardrobe -- its content is still relevant today, and families can use it to start discussions about these and other sensitive topics. Nick is a single father raising two teens and a recovering-addict adult son, and he copes with the breakup of a marriage that ended when his wife left him. Blossom and her friend, Six, face typical teen pressures, and their polar-opposite personalities cause them to face them differently, often with different results. Fortunately, Blossom emerges as a standout role model with a strong self-identity and the ability to stand up for what she believes in, which helps make this golden oldie one worth watching.
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What's the story?
BLOSSOM is a '90s sitcom starring Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo, a teen living in an all-male household after her mother walks out on the family. Her father, Nick (Ted Wass), does his best to fill both parental roles for Blossom and her older brothers -- recovering addict Tony (Michael Stoyanov) and likable but dim sports standout Joey (Joey Lawrence). Blossom's exuberant best friend, Six (Jenna von Oÿ), also is a permanent fixture in the Russo household, where she spends most of her free time. The show explores the ups and downs of teen life, school, dating, and family relationships. Later episodes see the temporary return of Blossom's mother, Maddy (Melissa Manchester), and the eventual addition of Carol (Finola Hughes) as Blossom's new stepmom.
Is it any good?
Perhaps best known for her bold fashion statements that single-handedly popularized the floppy hat, Blossom remains an untarnished role model for tween girls even now, years after her baggy overalls faded from the style guides. The show's feminist themes are personified in her strong will and outspoken ways, but she never comes off as irritating. Rather she's often the voice of reason who grounds the show's other example of teen femininity, Six. Both characters have things to teach viewers, of course, but it's always Blossom who emerges as the paradigm of moral solidity, and her messages won't be lost on today's tweens.
Of course, this isn't a one-woman show, and Blossom is bolstered by a fantastic supporting cast and excellent writing that cuts to the heart of every issue it raises. During its run, the series dealt with some doozies, always with an air of real-life triumph and tribulation and a great lesson to impart. Bialik's performance made Blossom the gem she still is today, which in turn makes this series a winner for tweens and parents to watch together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this show's messages. Are they still relevant today? Do teens face pressures similar to those the characters deal with? How has social media and other technology changed the nature of issues such as peer pressure and body image?
Is this show's age a deterrent to your tweens? Is Blossom still a model of feminism the way she was in the '90s? How, if at all, have our impressions and focus of social activism changed since then? What issues are most pressing today?
Addiction and recovery is a common thread in this show. Why is there pressure to drink and/or try drugs? Do these issues concern your tweens? What new kinds of risky behavior are on teens' radars? What dangers do they pose?
- Premiere date: July 5, 1990
- Cast: Joey Lawrence, Jenna von Oy, Mayim Bialik
- Network: Discovery Family Channel
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Character Strengths: Communication, Gratitude, Integrity
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
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