Monday, October 21, 2013

Top 10 TV Crushes Of My Youth

Crushes are a beautiful thing. Not full love attractions, nor down and dirty lust obsessions, crushes are as every day essential to a healthy lifestyle as yoga or eating oatmeal. As children, a crush can be the first sniff--a whiff, if you will--of what love might be when we grow up. As adults, however, crushes are often casual and entertaining; something frivolous to pass the time and keep our libidos running. You may even share them with your significant other, or with complete strangers as I did here in this blog entry a few months back. Sometimes, even, a crush might become a true love connection. That cute girl who works down at the bookstore whom you've been crushing on for months now, might just someday end up being the mother of your children if only you would work up the courage to ask her out for coffee sometime. Or, in tragic cases, a crush might turn into an unhealthy connection and land the crusher flat on the "Go To Jail" space in this monopoly game of life we're playing.

But for the most part, yes ... that which we crush on is not meant to be taken seriously. We have them, we cherish them, we learn from them, and we move on. Now, while I've certainly gone on and on here on The Bimillennial Man about who my crushes have been of late, I thought I'd take a step back and re-examine all the ones I've had leading up to today. Scratch that. Such an endeavor would take far too long to write up. On second thought, how about I just narrow it down to celeb crushes? Women most of you are probably already familiar with. Hmmm, still too broad a selection? Okay, okay -- I got it! How about we narrow the criteria down to only actresses--television actresses at that--who I've crushed on up until the very cusp of puberty? In other words, those little boy crushes that we all find so adorable and endearing? Nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, awwwww!

So, okay then. Here we go. The following are a list of my top 10 tv actresses from a favorite sitcom or show of mine ranging from the late 70s, which is when I was born, until the cutoff point of 1990, which is the year I started high school and crushes took on a whole 'nother level of urgency and angst.

I'll start with the least impactful down to the most crush-worthy actresses of all time. Let's be clear, though: all of these actresses and, more importantly, the roles they played on television had some hand in shaping me into the man I am today. Or, rather, they influenced the kind of qualities I find attractive in a woman now at the ripe old age of 37. Sounds like fun, no?

And here we go ...

The Top 10 TV Crushes of My Youth.

10. Patricia McPherson -- Knight Rider (1982 - '86).

Bonnie Barstow was the first "cool girl" I was ever introduced to on television. Before her, women were always portrayed as glamorous eye candy. Which is not to say Patricia McPherson was not glamorous in her own way, but as the mechanically- and computer-savvy Bonnie, she revealed to a young 6-year old me that girls could be fierce and smart, too. And as strange as it may seem to say, I always thought Bonnie had better chemistry with KITT the car than her replacement a season later, April Curtis (played by Rebecca Holden). Bonnie was the more believable brainiac of the two mechanics, and that made her oh-so-lovely in my book. To this day I have a soft spot for the tomboyish, grease monkey types. And Bonnie was one of the major reasons I loved tuning into this show every week. Oh ... and the talking car was pretty rad, too!

9.  Robin Givens -- Head of the Class (1986 - '90).

Embarrassing reveal here: I can't in all due honesty say that Head of the Class was ever one of my favorite tv shows in the 80s. Sure, I was old enough at the time to appreciate its mature story lines and wonderfully diverse cast, but I only truly tuned in each week for this beauty right here. Yes sir, even at 9 years old Ms. Givens was giving me squirmy tinglings in all the right places! Once again, it was the smart ones I found myself attracted to the most, and Givens' character, Darlene Merriman, was as brilliant as they came, although rather self-centered (read: bitchy) for my tastes. At this age, however, I was already starting to notice girls more than just for their physicality. 21 year old Robin Givens' portrayal as a strong, brilliant young black woman proved to me what a stunning combination brains and sex appeal could be to a young member of the opposite gender just starting to appreciate such things. And, yes: I'd let Darlene tutor me any day to get to the ... head of the class. Sorry, folks. I had to go there.

8.  Alyssa Milano -- Who's the Boss? (1984 - '92).

This show was all about the romantic tension between Tony Danza's and Judith Light's characters, but in my house Alyssa Milano was the boss of my fantasies! This one is a no-brainer, folks. I think every boy around the age of 8 to 18 was in love with young Samantha Micelli at one time or another during the show's illustrious 7-year run. She was my second ever "cool girl," and although she was over 3 years my senior, I used to believe Sam and I would make great friends. You know, someone to act goofy and toss the baseball around with. It wasn't really until later years when Sam entered her adolescence that I started to notice her other ... assets, and thus enter a whole other level of crush-itude! Alyssa Milano just had that wonderful girl-next-door quality about her, and was entirely believable as the transplanted Brooklynite to the 'burbs of Connecticut. Adults tuned in for the hijinks brewing between Tony and Angela, but my accessibility came through the form of a feisty, but vulnerable, Sam and the great actress portraying her. I've been an Alyssa Milano fanboy ever since.

7.  Valerie Bertinelli -- One Day At a Time (1975 - '84).

Although this show started the year before I was born, it was still on the air by the time I grew old enough to watch (and, more importantly, understand) television. But it quickly became one of my favorite sitcoms. However, it was really only during the show's syndication in the mid-80s when I was around 8 years old that I started to take strong notice to the younger brunette daughter, Barbara Cooper, played by the cute-as-a-button Valerie Bertinelli. Her character was spunky before spunky was even a cutesy 80s fad (e.g. Punky Brewster), but she was also smart and sexy all at the same time. That combo floored me and perhaps explains the huge classroom crush I developed at the time for this one girl in my class who spookily resembled Valerie rather closely. I believe Ms. Bertinelli, more than any of my tv crushes up to this point, really endeared me to the dark-haired, down-to-earth, fresh-faced types I'm still a sucker for to this day. And even now Valerie is kinda foxy for a 50-something year old. Rawrrrr!

6.  Christina Applegate -- Married with Children ('87 - '97).

I was 10 years old and just finishing up the 5th grade when this show premiered in the spring of 1987. All my friends were tuning in for one reason and one reason only -- too see young Miss Kelly Bundy, ditsy blond with the killer bod, do her thang! True, Christina Applegate was only 15 when the pilot episode filmed, but being a whole 5 years older than myself meant she was a full-grown woman as far as I was concerned! At first, I was actually turned off by her platinum tresses and punk-rockish dress sensibilities. But over the course of the show both Applegate and her alter-ego filled out rather nicely, her look softened, and her attire began to appeal to the more puerile sensibilities of biochemically amped youngsters and grown men alike. By the time I was hitting puberty in junior high school myself, I was in full-on lust mode over Kelly Bundy. There was a time I thought she was the hottest star on the planet! Yes, I can say without shame now that Christina was my first graduation from boyish crush to full-on adolescent wet dream. Oh, and the show she co-starred in was pretty damn funny, too.

5.  Tracey Gold -- Growing Pains (1985 - '92).

Ah, now this was one of my most beloved sitcoms of the 80s. I can't quite place my finger on why, but I do recall wishing that Dr. Jason and Mrs. Maggie Seaver were my own parents, and that Mike, Carol, and Ben were my siblings. Yes, it was that serious. And then a funny thing happened as the years went by: as with the other more youngish thespians on this list, Tracey Gold grew up! And when she did, let's just say I certainly no longer dreamed we were related! No, I was dreaming up other scenarios instead. She was already 16 compared to my 7 when the show first aired, but I was obviously too young to appreciate her at that time. To me she was that nerdy girl in class who always sat up front, raised her hand for every question, and got straight As. Something I couldn't relate to at the time. But as she became a young woman, and as I myself began to *ahem* appreciate older girls more, I started to see beyond the glasses and bookish exterior. Little annoying Carol Seaver was becoming seriously hot! I believe this was when it happened; this was when I developed a serious thing for nerdy girls. None of my schoolmates seemed to share my opinion of Carol at the time, though. They all thought the mom, Maggie, was hotter. But not me. I had my eyes set on the rather cute Tracey Gold. Mmmm, even now I can recall that one episode well into the show's run when she came out in a pink two-piece during a scripted family holiday. I learned the full meaning of adolescent frustration that airing. Hnnnnng!

4.  Lisa Bonet -- The Cosby Show (1984 - '92).

Like most of the beautiful actresses on this list, it took me a while to develop a full, healthy crush on Ms. Bonet. I was only 8 when the show premiered after all, and the Huxtable's second oldest child did not exactly fit the definition of classic beauty I had been brainwashed into accepting by the media at large, even at such a tender age. It wasn't until many seasons later, when Denise left the household for college and would drop back every now and then, that I was struck by the hot sexiness of Lisa Bonet. Good lord, but did she do bad things to me! Say, what! Funny enough, a lot of my friends had the hots instead for the mom, Claire. And don't get me wrong: as a grown man looking back at the early episodes now, Phylicia Rashad is just pure, sensual fire! But back then I couldn't help but see her as a mother figure. And that was just too weird for me! But Ms. Bonet, on the other hand? Oh yeah, even then I could appreciate perfection! True, she was a full 9 years my senior, but I think we've more than established by now that I had a thing for the mature, more experienced woman. Haha!

3.  Tiffani Thiessen -- Saved by the Bell (1989 - 93).

As we get closer and closer to number 1 on my list, we're venturing into the top tier of television actresses whom I was truly and irredeemably besotted with. And--hoooo, boy! We don't get more a picture of the pathetic puppy-love infected youngster than a 13 year old me watching the merely 15 year old Kelly Kapowski rule the roost at fabled Bayside High. Man, I had it bad for her! This show reminded me a lot of the Archie comics I was heavily reading by this point in life. But if Thissen's Kelly had the dark-haired tresses and poise of a Veronica Lodge, it was her down-to-earth playfulness and spunky athleticism like Betty Cooper's that captured my heart. Still, as far I was concerned--she was the best of both worlds. She was the total package! This show is still a very fun classic, even if at the time I was growing too old for such silly Saturday morning romps, and investing into genre shows like Friday the 13th: The Series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation instead. I'm not ashamed to admit it: I really did only tune in for Tiffani. She was the girl of my dreams. So much so that I still catch pretty much anything she's in to this day. Anyone remember 2002's Fastlane? Oh yeah, I even sat through that dreck solely for her! I'm shameless, I know.

2.  Erin Gray -- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ('79 - '81)

To be honest, this was a hard choice. I really wanted to place Erin Gray in the top spot, and it took me a lot of wrestling with my thoughts and some soul searching to finally place her at No. 2. Beautiful Erin Gray had me from very early on. I don't believe I was watching the show during its original airing, no. I would have only been 3 years old when it first premiered. So, no, it was only during the show's syndication run that I must have been introduced to lovely Ms. Gray. I believe I was around 6 or 7 years old--and by then she was starring in a reoccurring role on Silver Spoons! But it was this new interesting sci-fi show Buck Rogers that I would watch every Saturday afternoon and, though it was a gradual blossoming, this crush of mine, by the 2nd season I was totally enamored with the elegant, but heroic Colonel Wilma Deering. She was smarter than the titular protagonist, Buck, but gentle and caring, too; and 100% brave in the face of terrible odds. What more could a little boy ask for from a crush? And of course there was also that one, now infamous, episode and a certain scene in particular that had all us boys leaning closer toward our television sets. Although I was very young, I do remember being completely smitten by Erin Gray's hotness by this point. Which was, to be honest, quite incomparable at the time. In fact, only one other actress on tv during this phase of my childhood gave me even more tummy butterflies than Ms. Gray--and she's currently the No. 1 entry below.

1.  Lynda Carter -- Wonder Woman (1975 - '79).

It was only until I looked it up that I realized this show premiered a year before I was even born. And by the time it was over, I was still only 2 years old. Whoa! As with a few other shows on this list, I must have caught it on the re-run tip. And just like with Buck Rogers above, I believe I was around 6 years old when I watched my very first episode and spied the incredibly lovely Diana Prince in her various 70s-era outfits and ridiculously oversized 70s glasses spin herself into the Amazonian super-powered goddess we all know as Wonder Woman. That face like a classical Grecian statuette, raven hair tumbling down her gorgeous back--and a body which, even at that age, I knew enough to know I should blush. I was thunderstruck as if by Zeus on high himself! But oddly enough ... or maybe not so odd, given I was still a little boy ... I found myself more engaged by Princess Diana's heroics than anything else. I know this is strange for a grown man to admit, but I used to pretend I was Wonder Woman! Well, not a woman per se, but someone with powers just like hers. How cool was she? The super strength almost like the Hulk's (although in the comics she's nearly as strong as Superman), the silver gauntlets which could block any bullet, and of course--the golden Lasso of Truth! Still, it was Lynda Carter who brought this character to life, and full credit should probably go to her for why I find brainy but athletic brunettes so damn attractive to this day! I wish they all could look like this former Miss World winner did at age 25. What's mind blowing, though, is how even now at 62 the lovely Ms. Carter is still quite stunning. I attribute this miracle to her Latin roots, naturally. Those genes just don't quit, I tell ya! Can I get a hell yeah? HELL YEAH!!!

So, what do you think? I bet some of you are itching to tell me how incredibly wrong I am. I know for a fact one of my friends is going to burst a blood vessel when she sees where I've placed a certain cute Italian girl from Brooklyn on this list. Sorry, babe. We'll just have to agree to disagree, m'kay?

To the rest of you: I love dissenting views. Or, perhaps you actually agree with my picks? Whichever the case may be, please sound off in the comments section below as per usual. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts. And, hey, why don't you provide your own crush(es) from the same era? Boy or girl, keep them limited to television shows from the 70s and 80s for now. Heck, I'll even accept the 60s for some of my more well-watched readers out there.

But please, no shows from the 90s or recent. Thanks.


  1. I can see your attraction to everyone but Lynda Carter and Grey.

  2. Wonder Woman all the way...I loved her! A strong female character when very few existed. She was groundbreaking.

  3. Ant -- The snark is strong in you, I see. :)

    Kim -- I could imagine. As a boy I was attracted to the show first for its comic book sensibilities before I became attracted to it for ... other reasons. :)

  4. Ok, you are already know what I am going to say. :) I agree with them all except Tiffani Thiessen. What in the world do you see in that girl? Alyssa Milano is so much hotter and should be higher up on your list. :) But I do love your number one choice! Go Wonder Woman. I loved her as a kid. Makes me think about the boy crushes I had as a little girl. :)

  5. This is my list, Cin. So only my opinion counts! Haha! :) And everyone is placed exactly where they should be based on how I perceived them as a kid growing up with these shows. Since I very rarely watched Head of the Class, for instance, Robin Givens ended up 9th even though physically I had a huge crush on her. In a reversed fashion, Knight Rider was my number one favorite show at the time, but Pat McPherson placed 10th on this list because, while I liked her as a character a lot, I didn't have as big a crush on her as the rest. Although the crush was definitely there. So my ranking isn't solely based on hotness factor.

  6. Also, Cin, you should tell her who your boy crushes were, then. Don't leave us hanging like that!

  7. I know some of your choices.
    Some of my crushes were:
    *Bow Duke (from Dukes of Hazzard) I wanted to marry him. I'd settle for Luke though.
    *Johnny Depp (21 Jump Street)
    *Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser. Considering now..LOL!)
    *Michaelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

  8. Sprite -- those are some gnarly picks, dudette! ;) LOL @ Michaelangelo. I identified with Leo, of course. Sometimes Donnie. But Mikey was the coolest!

  9. Damn you, David... Now *I* have to come up with this list. And I was never let out of my house when I was growing up on the mean streets of W125th St! Do you know how much TV I watched as a kid? :)

    I will admit you have three of mine on your list. I loved Bonnie from Knight Rider, Who DOESN'T love Wonder Woman? And of course, Samantha Micelli... Okay, I'm back. Oh, and that reminds me, HANDS OFF ALYSSA MILANO, buddy! She's *MINE*. No seriously, I even wrote a blog on it!

    Stay tuned to my blog for MY list.

  10. Haha! You know, I completely forgot about that blog entry of yours, Rodney. But now I do recall reading this back then. Forgot you had such a huge crush on Ms. Milano! That's okay, you can have her. ;)

    And, yes! I look forward to seeing your own list soon. Get cracking!

  11. You gonna have me staying up late tonight doing mine! ;-) Cool list. Mine will take a lot of thought as TV was not something I watched a whole lot of when I was young. I remember a bunch and then again not so much. That being said I didn't really crush on TV girls that much. Lisa Bonet definitely as well as Tempest Bledsoe an Robin Givens of course. Most of my crushes came from movies.

  12. Also Sprite: The cartoon crush is cool 'cause I was totally down for Cheetara.

  13. So here are some of my crushes when I was a little girl. I did watch a lot of tv but I had a mix of actor and athlete crushes.

    Pierce Brosnan
    Christopher Reeve
    Boris Becker(tennis player)
    Stefan Edberg(tennis player)

    Cartoon crushes: Lion-O and Captain Planet
    Honorable Mention: Ultimate Warrior from the WWF.

    My sis loved wrestling as a kid, and being that we only had one tv I had to watch some of her shows too. So I logged many hours of tv time watching the WWF. We even went to Wrestlemania! LOL. Her idea. I reveal way too much to you. ;)

  14. T -- Yeah, movie celebs are easier to pick ... which is why I went with television! :) For me it was the reverse growing up: we couldn't go to the movies, so all we had was television to keep us entertained. And video games, but that's a different story. Hmmm, maybe I should do a Top 10 gaming crushes next. Now there's a thought!

    Cin -- You are too cute! Can't believe you watched wrestling as a little girl. Although, The Ultimate Warrior? Seriously? That guy is super fugly! You should Google him and realize the crack you obviously must have been smoking back then! Hahah. :) Major cool points for the Thundercats reference, though. We're cool.

  15. Hard to argue with #1, #2, and #3. For me though you gotta add Diana from the original "V" show and Mrs. Huxtable from "The Cosby Show". Is that weird?

  16. Hey, ED! Long time no see. You need to stop being so scarce 'round these parts, bud. Anyway, Diana never did it for me. Not as a little kid, anyway. Now as an adult, Jane Badler is, well ... bad! :) When I re-watch the mini-series and show, at least.

    See, this list was compiled not to say who's the hottest, but who had the greatest effect on me when I was between the ages of 6 and 13. I've found that my tastes have greatly changed and matured now that I'm all grown up. In some areas, at least. But I still have a thing for brunettes! That's never going away.


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