January 3, 1991 – The NBC Television Series Blossom Premieres
“Are you referring to the onset of puberty? A feeling of ennui, a kind of overall…bloat?”
On January 3, 1991, the sitcom Blossom premiered on NBC. Produced by Impact Zone Productions in association with Witt/Thomas Productions and Touchstone Television (the latter of which would become ABC Studios in 2007), it was distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television and ran for 5 seasons with 114 episodes. The pilot was released on July 5, 1990, as a television special; NBC, pleased with the ratings, ordered a full season of the show as a midseason replacement in January. The show centers around teenager Blossom Russo who, like the rest of her family, has to adjust to her parents’ divorce. Blossom’s family consists of her father Nick, a piano player; older brother Tony, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict; and older brother Joey, a stereotypical “dumb jock.” Blossom also has a best friend named Six Lemeure, who is considered part of the family. The series was created by Don Reo, and stars Mayim Bialik as Blossom, Ted Wass as Nick, Michael Stoyanov as Tony, Joey Lawrence as Joey, and Jenna von Oÿ as Six.
The first episode to premiere, “Blossom Blossoms,” begins with Blossom shopping for her first box of tampons at the grocery store, but is rather embarrassed as her crush Mitchell works at the store, and ends up too ashamed to buy them. She relays the story to her friend Six, and then admits her wish that her mother would live with her sometimes to help her through the things she’s going through. Six reassures her that everything will be okay, and gives Blossom the option of talking to her own mother. After Six leaves, Blossom goes to her kitchen and discovers her brothers working on a film for school, but is annoyed at their antics. Later that evening, she goes to the kitchen again and talks to her father, who is concerned that she’s awake at a late hour. However, she doesn’t feel like she can talk to her father about all that she’s going through, and leaves the conversation, pretending that everything worked itself out.
In a fantasy, Blossom heads to the kitchen again and is greeted by her “mother,” Phylicia Rashād. Her “mother” starts explaining the facts of life by using icing to draw on a cake. Blossom wakes up from her dream and is saddened that her mother really isn’t there, so she decides to try and call her mom, who is actually in Paris. Her mom isn’t there, and she attempts to leave a message, but finds she can’t do so. Later in the week, Nick asks his sons if they’ve noticed anything unusual about Blossom. They tell him that she seemed strange the other day, but don’t believe that there’s anything wrong. Blossom heads over to her neighbor Agnes’s house to deliver her groceries, and starts to let out her feelings that she feels abandoned by her mother. Agnes comforts her, and convinces her to talk to her father again, telling her she should work with what she’s got. Blossom gets home and gently tries to allude to Nick what’s going on. Nick goes through a range of emotions, but in the end embarrasses Blossom by announcing to her brothers that Blossom has gotten her period. Later, the family is preparing to go out for a “celebratory dinner,” which Blossom finds incredibly weird. As Nick helps her with her hair, Blossom asks if her mother will ever come home. Nick tells her that this isn’t her home anymore, but it’s okay for Blossom to miss her, but promises that he’ll be there to answer any questions she has.