Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blossom on DVD: Whoa!

Flower hats. Funky, vibrant-colored clothes. "Whoa!" I can only be talking about one TV show: Blossom. Seasons 1 and 2 of the series, which originally ran on NBC from 1991-1995, were released on DVD in a 6-disc set last year. The show follows California teenager Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik), who lives with her divorced father and two older brothers Joey and Anthony. Her mother, a singer, left the family to go sing around the world. Her father Nick (Ted Wass) is a musician. Joey (Joey Lawrence) is a bit slow in the thinking department and very girl-crazy. Anthony (Michael Stoyanov), a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, is an EMT. Blossom's best friend is Six (Jenna von Oy), famous for her speedy way of gossiping and the flower hats she wears. Six also shares Blossom's penchant for quirky fashion choices. Blossom features one of the best opening credit sequences ever, with Mayim Bialik dancing to the song "My Opinionation" in front of the camera in six different outfits (my favorite is the oversize sweater and skirt made of ties).

The fashion and pop culture references on the show will make you nostalgic for the early '90s. Blossom and Six crush on actors Johnny Depp, Jason Priestley, and Luke Perry. Anthony hopes to score tickets to a Rolling Stones concert: "This could be the last time they tour!" Joey fantasizes about supermodels Cindy Crawford and Elle McPherson. Nick gets a gig appearing in a Paula Abdul video. The episode "Blossom: A Rockumentary" is an awesome take-off on the Madonna documentary Truth or Dare. Shot in black and white, this is flu-stricken Blossom's dream about herself as a spoiled rock star and features tons of guest stars. In other episodes celebrities like the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), Salt N Pepa, and C+C Music Factory make appearances.

What makes the show unique is that the humor is not dumbed down for the teenage audience. In addition to having sleepovers and practicing their dance moves, Blossom and Six talk honestly about topics including boys, music, clothes, marriage, their futures, birth control, and even the idea of plastic surgery. It is refreshing that the teenagers are actually played by teenage actors and not twentysomethings. The comedic timing of the actors is wonderful, and I always find something to laugh out loud about in each episode. Each actor completely defined his or her character; I think Blossom and Joey are two of the most memorable characters in television history.

The special features on this DVD set are worth watching. "A Very Special Show" talks about how creator Don Reo conceived the series (it was originally supposed to be centered on a boy). Reo wanted to cast kids who looked real and had talent, and he received resistance from the studio for all of his casting choices because the actors weren't the blond Hollywood types. The segment "A Very Special Friendship" interviews Mayim and Jenna, who are embarrassed to remember how they used to sing Wilson Phillips songs together. "A Very Special Style" interviews costume designer Sherry Thompson about her inspiration for creating Blossom's wardrobe, which featured ethnic and vintage pieces at a time when vintage clothing items weren't really popular.

Blossom. Seasons 1 (1991) and 2 (1991-92)
Find it in the catalog!

By the way, Mayim Bialik will be appearing this season on an episode of The Big Bang Theory: read the article here.