Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Top Ten TV Crushes of My Youth

When I was little, my mother had this paranoid idea that if she let me run around outside on the streets of Manhattan, I would become some kind of thug or criminal. Based on this belief she kept me locked up in our 3rd floor apt (or at my aunt's apt next door). Being a child with an agile mind in need of a great deal of entertainment, I turned to watching TV... a LOT of TV.  To be honest, I don't even remember all the shows I used to watch growing up. But, every once in awhile an idea comes along to spark a trip down memory lane. A little over a month ago, my good friend David gave me that spark. He came up with a post on his top ten TV crushes of his youth, and the idea came alive in my head. Hence, this post. But first, about crushes...

It is my belief that there are as many ways to love someone as there are people in the world. But a crush isn't quite the same thing as full on love. A crush is more like an on ramp to the freeway of love. As a child, crushes help you learn how to recognize the feelings you're suddenly having, as well as how to handle them and express them in a way that can lead you to the full, loving relationships everyone wants. But like everything in life, crushes change as you grow older. I think that as adults, crushes are more about wish fulfillment, coming from the same place that your dreams and goals in life originate. You dream of a better life (even if your life is pretty good) with that one person: that woman you work with but haven't worked up the guts to talk to, the guy who makes the coffee at the place you go to every morning who just has that extra bit of naughtiness that gets your blood pumping. You dream of having them in your arms and everything just clicking into place and being wonderful. And it's a great ride, then reality clicks back in, you let out a great big sigh, and move along in your life until the next time. This list is about the women that elicited this kind of response in me. 

In his post, David set about some rules for who is eligible in this list. I'll stick to those rules with only a slight modification. The following is my list of the top ten TV actresses from a favorite show of mine. The show had to be airing (this is where my modification comes in, since I allow shows that started and/or ended before I was born that might still have been on TV when I was hatched) between the late 70s and 1990. By that time, I was thirteen and crushes started to be fueled more by rampaging hormones than actual interest. Like the originating post, I'll go in order of least to most crush-worthy. And we start at... 

10) Barbara Eden - I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970)
For reasons outside the scope of this list, I grew up surrounded by latin women. Jeannie, as played by Barbara Eden, (whose adventures I watched in syndication on Sunday afternoons) was a revelation. Not only did she look different from every girl I'd ever seen, but she behaved in a completely different manner. She wasn't overtly challenging or loud, but got what she wanted through subtlety and manipulation. She was supposed to just be eye candy (and she was. By the gods, how she was!), but after a few episodes I found that she was a lot more powerful (not just due to her magic) than anyone (including the man she loved) gave her credit for. A lot of shows talk about strength through gentleness, Jeannie embodied that for me. And as beautiful as she was, she was also funny. She never took herself too seriously which made her all the more appealing to my younger self. 

09) Maureen Flannigan - Out of This World (1987 - 1991)
At just over 10 years old, I already had a taste for science fiction. And when I found Evie, an alien/human hybrid with the power to stop time, I was instantly hooked. Not only was she different from the girls around me, she was INTERESTING. While she did delve into the things that it seems only girls find interesting, Maureen Flannigan was the first girl I actually WANTED to hang out with. She was cute, great smile, and long hair that I just wanted to run my fingers through, but more importantly she was FUN!

08) Candace Cameron - Full House (1987 - 1995)
At first, I related to D.J. Tanner because she was the eldest child like me. But it didn't take long for me to fall under the spell of that awesome smile and the long hair. (Picking up on a trend here?) I could tell that she was smart (even though she didn't believe it until later on in the series), and that just added to her appeal. We were pretty much the same age, so I just got more interested in her as time went on.  

07) Gates McFadden - Star Trek: Next Gen (1987 - 1994)
What is it about women with red hair? They instantly attract the eye and capture the imagination of ten year old boys who are starting to appreciate just how revealing the Star Trek uniforms really are. The whole appeal of Dr. Crusher was that her smoldering sex appeal and fiery personality was sheathed in an earthy elegance. She had style, she was intelligent, and she was comfortable in her beauty. She didn't have to go overboard with it. But when she did dress up, she was never anything less than STUNNING!  

06) Marina Sirtis - Star Trek: Next Gen (1987 - 1994)

Deanna Troi, the other major crush I had from Next Gen, was in a lot of ways the polar opposite of Doctor Crusher. They both had an appealing strength, but Troi was a lot warmer, more inviting. And I'm not just talking about her outfits! Seriously, those pastel colored frilly things can't be called uniforms with a straight face. But I'm not complaining. She never looked anything less than gorgeous, but her most alluring feature was her compassion. I would dream of just curling up in her arms and just passing the time being next to her allowing her presence to soothe away my troubles. It was simultaneously alarming and funny when another character on the show lived out the EXACT fantasy I had in the Holodeck.

05) Stephanie Zimbalist - Remington Steele (1982-1987)
Laura Holt is the first "tough chick" I can remember seeing on TV. And I mean really tough. Not street tough like Jo from the Facts of Life, but professional tough. Even though she had to toe the line to be taken seriously as a Lady P.I., she never let anyone push her around. She was smart, elegant, determined, beautiful, and a wiseass. Although that last was mostly with her partner on the show. I found her irresistible, but I also knew to NEVER piss her off. 

04) Lynda Carter - Wonder Woman (1975 - 1979)
I remember watching this on Sundays around the same time that I Dream of Jeannie was on. Two magical women that couldn't be more opposite if they tried. I was instantly smitten with her long, midnight black hair and ultra revealing outfit. Which got to me a lot more on TV than in the comics for some reason. But the I loved it when she was undercover. As soon as she put on those glasses, I was done for.. There's nothing that gets to me more than a girl with glasses. More than anything, I think it was that duality that really made her stick in my mind. The powerful sexy Wonder Woman and the smart sexy Diana. Two different people in the same woman. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm....

03) Patricia MacPherson - Knight Rider (1982-1986)
Bonnie was a major crush of mine for one reason and one reason only. She was good with technology. She was my first introduction to the sexiest of all women: Geek Girls. I was around 6 or 7 when I first started watching Knight Rider and I already had a thing for technology. I was pounding away on my Commodore 64 and absolutely LOVED that there was a girl on TV that could understand what I was doing. I dreamed of talking to her (and KITT, of course. I was SIX! Why wouldn't I be fascinated by a talking car!) about all the cool things that KITT could do and how she was able to keep him running as smoothly as she did with all the crap Michael kept driving into. Bonnie was also my first lesson with jealousy when I got it into my head that she and Michael might have a thing going on. But then she left the show and I knew my first real loss. Oh, Bonnie, why did you leave me?

02) Danica McKellar - The Wonder Years (1988-1993)
Winnie Cooper was the girl I pined for. One of the few girls that I grew up watching and that just got more alluring with every passing year. That long hair, the amazing smile, and those dark mysterious eyes. I was on Cloud 9 every time she was on screen. Somewhere inside my head, I knew she could never really love me, but I still wanted her to. I wanted her attention. She could have done SO much better than Kevin Arnold. 

01) Alyssa Milano - Who's The Boss?  (1984-1992)
Anyone who knows me, knew that Alyssa Milano would be the top of this list. This is the only one of my crushes that has lasted from my youth straight through until present day. Yes, I still have a crush on Alyssa Milano. In fact I declared her my official celebrity spouse! It started with Samantha Micelli and continued through Phoebe Halliwell and beyond. Ms. Milano represents the pinnacle of femininity for me. Intelligence, confidence, humor, humility, and beauty. All in one gorgeous, heart-stopping, mesmerizing, enchantingly wonderful package. And she's one of the few child stars that had a support system strong enough to not let her go off the rails as she transitioned to adult star. So, not only is she smart, but she surrounds herself with good people.

You know looking at this list, I'm starting to think I had a type even back then. Is it just me or do these women look remarkably alike? Nah, it's just me. So, what you think my dear readers? Any of your youthful sweethearts show up on my list? (If so, then tough noogies! They're MINE!) Who is on your list? Sound off in the comments below!


  1. You know, aside from the 3 we share, I never did have a crush on any of these others. Laura Holt I should have, but for some reason never did develop one. And I absolutely loved that show Out of this World (it used to air after My Secret Identity--my number 1 fave at the time), but I never had a thing for Maureen Flannigan. It used to bug me, that.

    Ditto for Barbara Eden and the Star Trek crew. Marina Sirtis fits all my criteria especially, but I don't know why I never had a crush on her or any of the others.

    And Candice Cameron I was never even remotely attracted to. Nice girl and nice character, but she didn't do it for me. Probably because, to me at least, she looked and acted very similar to her older brother, Kirk. That was just too eerie for me, I suppose.

    Haha--it's like you compiled my very own anti-crush list, Rodney. I would almost think you picked from what was left over after my Top Ten But then you did include a few, so that rules out that. I definitely concur with the Lynda Carter in glasses comment. Rawrrrr!

    1. Wow, David, you're the second person I know that has even HEARD of Out Of This World, let alone be able to discuss it.

      I know that a lot of people didn't get into Marina Sirtis until after the Disaster episode of Next Gen when she started becoming more serious about her rank and commission. Maybe by then, it was too little, too late?

      But, how could you not like Winne Cooper? The rest I can see them not appealing, but Winne Cooper? Seriously, man?

      Who doesn't love Lynda Carter? She's one of those actresses that made young boys watching her show spontaneously start puberty.

      I always we knew we had dissimilar tastes in women, but this pretty much closes the case on that one, huh? Ah well, to each their own.

    2. Oh man, I used to seriously wish for Evie's powers. Even to this day I think about just how cool it would be to be able to stop and start time whenever I wanted. And moreover, to be able to move independently and manipulate the physical world while it's in such suspended animation. That was just too awesome!

      As for Danica McKellar ... that's another one I have no idea why I was never attracted to her. She's definitely my type, but something just always seemed "off" about her to me. Like, she's almost perfect save for one weird quirk about her face. I can't put a finger on it, but something's not right. Is it her eyes not being perfectly symmetrical? Is it that slight crook to one corner of her mouth? I don't know!

      However, I had a blast the one time she showed up on the Super Mario Bros. Show. And it was a Friday episode to boot! And we both know what that meant, right? Oh YEAH -- Zelda!!!! I still remember how she sat down on the couch, exasperated, and said to the guys: "I wanna see the Legend of Zelda." And I was like, right on! Because that's exactly what I wanted to see as well. :)

      So, yeah. Very cool chick. I should have been majorly crushing on Danica. And, yet ...