Step By Step Was A Cringe Show, But Also A Good Ambient Viewing Show

Ah, TGIF.

Ted Bauer

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My parents typically ordered pizza on Fridays when I was growing up, and while ABC’s TGIF had many iterations, the primary one I remember was:

  • Family Matters
  • Boy Meets World
  • Step by Step
  • Hanging with Mr. Cooper

I might throw Perfect Strangers in there too, although it’s a bit earlier. Here’s a fun/not-so-fun fact: in July 2012, my ex-wife and I moved from NYC to Minneapolis. When we crossed from PA to OH on that drive, we played the Perfect Strangers theme song in the car. Weird to recall that.

Most of the TGIF shows were developed by some combo of Miller, Boyett, Bickley, and Warren. I believe all those guys are currently in their 70s/80s, possibly deceased, and very affluent. Bickley is actually married to the lady who played Larry’s lady in Perfect Strangers.

I first heard the term “ambient viewing” as regards Emily in Paris, which that show absolutely is. You can knock out 10 episodes of that while doing six other things on a Saturday morning, and you’ll still feel entertained and generally understand the plotlines.

I view Step by Step also as ambient viewing. You may also be familiar with that show for the theme song:

Step by Step is absolutely a show that could not and would not be made today. While it’s kinda an updated Brady Bunch and was designed to feature Suzanne Somers (hot in the 80s) and Patrick Duffy (same, on Dallas) as parents, and while it does address some very relevant themes like slut-shaming and addiction, it has multiple “You’d be cancelled for this” stuff going on all around it. For Season 6, Bronson Pinchot (Balki on…

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.