Hello, everybody. I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about my new release, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is a New Adult novel about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the mid-1980s.
Now, since the book is set in the ’80s, and I grew up in the ’80s, I thought it’d be fun to do some posts about the ’80s. I did one on music, and several on movies. TV was the logical next choice, but once I started looking through TV shows, I realized this was going to be hard.
Here’s the thing: I was born in 1973, so the ’80s covered my formative years, approximately ages seven through seventeen. Through the first part of the 80s, I could really only watch what my parents watched. I mean, I might have preferred Facts of Life or Fantasy Island, but my parents hated those shows. They preferred Barney Miller and Hill Street Blues. I also spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s house in those years. Thanks to her, I can still sing the jingles for both Laverne and Shirley and The Jeffersons, but I don’t remember actually watching those shows. I certainly don’t remember enjoying them. And later in the 80s, when I had a TV in my room, I don’t remember watching a lot of shows, per se.
What was I watching? Well, we’ll get to that.
There were several shows from the ’80s that I watched in syndication in the ’90s and learned to appreciate: Taxi, Star Trek: TNG, Cheers, Night Court, and WKRP in Cincinnati, to name a few. But I didn’t actually watch any of those when they were first broadcast.
So, what shows did my parents watch that I actively made a point of watching with them? Let’s start there:
- All My Children: This was the only soap my mother watched religiously, and I watched it with her. We taped it through much of junior high and high school so I wouldn’t miss an episode. My husband and I (yes, he watched it with me) did the same through college. Erika Kane defined “diva,” and nobody could forget Tad and Daisy. I guess we quit watching at some point after Kelly Ripa and Josh Duhamel were both gone, but I remember more plot points from this show than from any other in the ’80s.
- Knots Landing: I don’t remember my parents watching Dallas, although I’m sure they did. But I definitely remember Knots Landing. I also remember being really pissed off when Dallas did their whole “oops, that entire last season was a dream” stunt, thereby ruining the entire season of KL as well.
- Tales of the Gold Monkey: I think this show only lasted a single season. It was sort of a Raiders of the Lost Ark There were spies, and airplanes, and dog with an eye patch (the protagonist was searching for the dog’s lost fake eye). I don’t really remember it well, except that I loved it.
- Murder, She Wrote: Because I could never say it better than this guy, I’m going to borrow from Paste Magazine’s list of the Best 100 TV Shows of the 1980s: ” One of the best things about Murder, She Wrote is the improbability of there being so many random murders for Jessica Fletcher to solve. Consider: The woman is not a professional detective. She’s not employed by a police department, and she doesn’t typically travel to a location in order to solve a mystery. Rather, they just constantly happen around her. Every single day, crimes occur in her vicinity. If she goes on vacation, someone at the resort WILL be murdered—it’s just a matter of time. So in a way, the series is really about a woman who radiates a field of death and destruction that ruins the lives of everyone she crosses paths with. Oh, and also Angela Lansbury is extremely entertaining in the role.” (—Jim Vorel) And Ben from Winter Oranges would never forgive me if I didn’t put this show on my list.
- Magnum: Man, what a life this guy led! He lived on a posh Hawaiian estate, drove the absentee landlord’s Ferrari, hung out with his buddies Rick and TC, and randomly solved crimes. Oh. And he got laid a lot. Tom Selleck is the only man who can still make a mustache look good.
- Simon & Simon: I think I liked this one better than Magnum. I loved the way these two brothers played off of each other.
Now, later in the 80s, when I had a (tiny, black & white) TV in my room, I began forming my own opinions. These are the shows I remember liking best:
- Married With Children: The 80s were packed full of sugary-sweet, feel-good family sitcoms. Silver Spoons, Family Ties, Full House, Webster, Punky Brewster, Gimme a Break, ALF, Who’s the Boss, Growing Pains, The Cosbys. Good lord, the list goes on and on, each one more “after school special” than the last. And then BAM, along came the show that finally made Fox a contender, Married With Children. This show was rude, irreverent, over-the-top, in-your-face, and downright distasteful in the best possible way. I remember falling in love immediately. My parents of course thought it was the foulest thing ever, which only added to its appeal. Like most TV shows, it went downhill a bit toward the end, but those first few seasons were EPIC, and absolutely groundbreaking. My husband and I still joke about eating “toaster leavin’s” for breakfast and selling things for Pez.
- Roseanne: Roseanne was only barely ’80s, premiering in 1988. Like Married With Children, it tossed the gooey feel-good sap of traditional family sitcoms out the window. Unlike Married With Children, it dealt with real life. And unlike every other family sitcom of the decade, it dealt with family life not from a penthouse on Park Avenue or a posh upper-middleclass neighborhood, but from a working-class, blue-collar perspective.
- MTV: Here’s the thing – I didn’t watch many TV shows in the 80s because I was watching MTV almost 24/7. This was in its infancy, when it really was music videos, all day and all night. My best friend and I would sit through what felt like hours of Madonna and Wham and Bruce Springsteen, just waiting for Motley Crue, Ratt, or Bon Jovi (this we before Slippery When Wet made Bon Jovi stars), and we’d call each other immediately if one of our favorites came on. MTV defined the 80s for me. It broadened my entire world.
And that brings me to the last show on my list:
- The Young Ones: In 1985, MTV decided to do something crazy and air a couple of TV shows. One of the first ones they picked was the British comedy The Young Ones, and I never missed an episode. To be honest, I’m not sure I knew what was going on half the time. I mean, one minute the food in the fridge was having a conversation, and the next minute Motorhead was playing in the living room. One minute we’d be in Narnia, and the next, the boys were on a game show. It was random and goofy and rarely made sense, but that’s what made it so fun. (Also, everybody knows Vyvyan was the bomb.)
So, that’s my list of my favorite ’80s TV shows. Now, it’s your turn! What shows did I miss? What were your favorites? Share in the comments. And for a bit more ’80s fun, check out Trailer Trash, available now from Riptide Publishing.
Title: Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Historical (’80s), M/M, Romance
Length: 340 pages/Word Count: 90,000
It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.
Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.
Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.
Add to Goodreads.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.
Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.
To celebrate, Marie is giving away a $50 gift card to either Amazon or All Romance Ebooks, winner’s choice. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!