Today's TV Landscape, post prime-time, is a vicious cycle of syndicated re-runs and infomercials. It kind of sucks. Back in the 1980s and 1990's there was less of this, of course. And what you missed back then was incredible, in fact, so much so, that most of what once aired on pay cable or via regional networks, at least in part, is currently in heavy rotation viewing on YouTube all of these years later. Today, there's nothing edgy on TV has there once was--and it's too a fault. While the internet, in some ways, killed the television of the 80s and 90s, it also affords us a unlimited viewing ability that allows for us to experience things that couldn't even air back on television back then! But, the fact that some of the these shows once aired on television, and not just past prime-time hours, but sometimes, even, in the middle of the day speaks volumes to the morals and ethical acceptation of those decades versus the very politically-correct nature of today.
What follows are our favorite cool, funny, and weird TV shows of the 1980s and 1990s that you've never seen (but should). In no particular order....
The Howard Stern Show (WWOR-TV Channel 9, 1987-89)
Coming on the air in the midst of Stern's controversial remarks that got him in trouble on the radio with the FCC, The Howard Stern Show--the WWOR-TV series--- was a television version of his radio show turned up to eleven. On for only one year, and not in all markets across the United States, Stern pushed the boundaries of everything with this show with his over-the-top, while at the same time cheesy skit-parodies of celebrities like Rosanne Barr and Larry King. Stern also brought on a collection of celebrities to discuss, as usual, sex. Celebrities like Joe Piscopo, Reverend Al Sharpton, John Stamos, Richard Simmons, Gilbert Gottfried all came on Stern's show in this time as well as unsuspecting musicians who stopped by, thinking they were going to promote their latest album or tour only to be bombarded with silly an inappropriate questions. Stern's show was so popular in the year that it aired that it actually had more people watching it in 1990 than Saturday Night Live--as the two shows went up against each other in the 1130pm time-slot. The bulk of the series's episodes are currently streaming on YouTube.
The Morton Downey Jr. Show (WWOR-TV, 1987-1989)
Former radio DJ turned loud-mouth Left-Conservative commentary, Morton Downey Jr.'s show, like the Stern show which was too recorded in New Jersey at WWOR, became a must-discussed program around the country in its era. Downey, a chain-smoking screamer who brought on guests to discuss a variety of topics that proved to be the defining ideas in culture during the Ronald Reagan area, back some popular at the time with his pre-Jerry Springer platform that he became a mega-celebrity blasting past the prominence of others in his field. His show was a hot bed discussion on the Donahue show even during its popularity. Downey also took his show on the road filming week-long series in towns like Detroit--which was stepped in racial tensions at the time in the wake of the raping of a African-American female named Tawana Brawley.
Snoop Dogg's Doggy Frizzle Televizzle (MTV, 2002-2003)
Did you know that Snoop Doggy Dogg once had his own sketch-comedy show on MTV? Yes, and it was funny as hell! Certainly centered in weed-culture-comedy, Snoop's show had Snoop himself playing a variety of funny-as-hell characters such as a Pimp superhero that had a giant hand that slapped the hell out of bad guys. Watch these on YouTube as well.