2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the Fox Broadcasting Company. Last night, to celebrate this milestone (which at times in its history seemed impossible to reach) the network re-aired pilots of the two shows that put it on the map — Married ... With Children and The Simpsons — and then followed with a Ryan Seacrest–hosted look back on the "fourth network"'s greatest hits and misses.
As someone who never really paid much attention to what channel hosted what programming (except for CBS, because I've never laughed. Ever), I was shocked to take this trip down memory lane with Seacrest and see so many moments that I had no clue were brought to me via Fox. The best of the best.
5. The Living Single Theme Song (1993-98)
Yes, the show was amazing, but few intros will ever eclipse the musical/dance intro for Living Single. The jig that goes on for about five seconds in that living room is pure magic. And that multicolored font is a top-five show font. Easily. And the lyrics. From the rap:
Keep ya head up (what) keep ya head up (that's right).
Whenever this life gets tough you gotta fight.
With my home girls standing to my left and my right.
True blue, it's tight like glue.
To the classic sung lyric:
In a '90s kind of world, I'm glad I got my girls.
It's just perfect. I felt the same way in the '90s, but instead of my "girls" being four females ... who live in New York ... trying to find themselves ... and deal with men ... I would simply sing along with the chorus and point to my mom and aunt. Oh, the '90s.
4. Boise State — Fiesta Bowl (2007)
Watching sports alone can be a pretty sad endeavor, but I'll never forget the joy I felt watching that game unfold, in my room, alone, jumping up and down like I was at the Fiesta Bowl, screaming at the top of my lungs. I've been to exciting live events, but that still might be the most exciting event I've ever witnessed, as it played out live. Yeah, I think it's no. 1. Right?
3. Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" (2002)
This intensely meta moment of Kelly singing "A Moment Like This" while actually getting "this" about two minutes earlier is probably the best live television moment. Ever. (Sorry, Boise State, I lied.) Sure, if my declaration came true, we'd unfortunately have no Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, or TAYLOR HICKS, but I still claim that if American Idol ends on this moment, it goes down as the greatest show ever. But what do I know? I'm just a guy, drinking a Mountain Dew, crying at his laptop in front of NYU kids.
2. The Joe Millionaire Finale (2003)
I think my lack of concern with current reality television stems from the fact that my investment peaked with 2003's Joe Millionaire. I didn't care about anything else other than finding out if Evan Marriott would pick Sarah or Zora. A staggering 40 million people tuned in to watch the reveal that Joe Millionaire wasn't inheriting squat, which is funny seeing as that nine years later, there is no evidence on YouTube that this show ever existed. But, such is the case with many a late-'90s/early-'00s phenomenon (namely, Rock 'N' Jock); thank goodness for angst-filled message boards.
1. In Living Color — "The Wrath of Farrakhan" (1990)
There's In Living Color, there's Chappelle's Show, and that's it. Now, I wouldn't dare speak about In Living Color with the fiery passion that I do Chappelle's Show, because I was too young to truly appreciate all of it in real time, but in terms of long-term influence, quality, and the stars it created, it could arguably be seen as Fox's greatest product. I watch reruns quite often, but watching the 25th Anniversary Special reminded me of my all-time favorite In Living Color sketch, "The Wrath of Farrakhan."
The premise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan freeing the enslaved Star Trek crew is completely absurd and genius, and the dialogue within the sketch shows three of the cast's stars at their best in a simple but fantastic interchange:
Damon Wayans (Louis Farrakhan): I am the Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Jim Carrey (Captain Kirk): Spock, who is he?
David Alan Grier (Spock): A former Calypso singer, captain ...
And there's more:
Farrakhan to Kim Wayans (Uhura): My Nubian princess. How long have you placed his calls? I watch the show every week and all I see is the back of your nappy wig.
It's too good.
OK, one more and I'm done.
Farrakhan to Uhura: Nubian princess, call Sylvia's Soul Food Shack. Make reservations. I got a taste for some blackened whitefish.