Twenty five years ago this week, the sitcom debuted on NBC

By Drew Mackie
Updated January 06, 2016 11:50 AM
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Credit: Alice S. Hall/NBC

Twenty five years ago this week, the sitcom Blossom debuted on NBC. Star Mayim Bialik was only 15 when the show began airing regularly on Jan. 3, 1991, and over the course of five seasons, viewers watched her character, Blossom Russo, learn a whole lot of major life lessons.

In fact, the show often made a point of prefacing these episodes with an intro voiceover from Bialik herself, who’d announce “Tonight, on a very special Blossom,” just to let viewers know that they were in for some heavy stuff.

In honor of the show’s silver anniversary, we’re listing off the most special of those very special episodes. Enjoy – and who knows? Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about growing up.

1. "Blossom Blossoms" (January 3, 1991)

Right out the gate, Blossom was firing on all cylinders. The first episode of the show centers on Blossom getting her period and wishing she could talk about it with her mother, who left the family to live in Paris. In the first of the show’s many fantasy sequences, Blossom imagines that Cosby Show mom Phylicia Rashad explains the whole process – by icing a freshly baked cake with a diagram of the female reproductive system (skip to 8:20).

The lesson: It’s tough not having a mom, but don’t discount the fact that you have a dad who’s willing to try hard to make up for her absence.

2. "Sex, Lies and Teenagers" (February 4, 1991)

Blossom lies to her dad in order to attend an unsupervised party with a new boyfriend (Bialik’s future Big Bang Theory costar Johnny Galecki) but the party gets busted when the parents come home early (see Galecki at 11:10).

The lesson: Lying to your parents can easily result in further lies that build into a mountain of lies that, of course, result in grounding.

3. "Second Base" (September 16, 1991)

Blossom frets over whether she’s ready to take her relationship with Johnny (Justin Whalin) to the next level.

The lesson: If you’re old enough and mature enough to consider all the factors involved with second base, then you’re probably mature enough to decide for yourself if you’re ready. In the end, viewers never find out what Blossom’s decision was. The fact that she examined the situation from every possible angle was enough.

4. "The Joint" (September 30, 1991)

Blossom and Six (Jenna von Oÿ) find a marijuana cigarette on the school bus and bring it home. However, Nick finds it and goes about trying to determine which family member might have brought it into the house.

The lesson: Teach your kids about drugs and they may make the right decisions about drugs when they’re confronted with the decision. But either way, it’s up to them.

Mayim Bialik Can’t Name a Kardashian – and That’s Just Fine

5. "Intervention" (November 4, 1991)

Tony (Michael Stoyanov), a recovering addict, thinks Joey’s (Joey Lawrence) friend may be developing an alcohol problem, but causes a rift when he tries to intervene.

The lesson: Sometimes you need to tell a friend that you’re concerned about their behavior, even if doing so might risk ending the friendship.

6. "Driver’s Education" (April 27, 1992)

Joey is told by his boss (Tiffani Thiessen) that he will be fired unless he goes out with her (skip to 5:35). Blossom, meanwhile, wonders if it’s ethical to flirt with her DMV instructor in order to get her license.

The lesson: It’s okay to flirt so long as the other person knows you’re not leading them on, but it’s better to know you’re achieving things as a result of something besides the way you look. And yes, women can sexually harass men.

7. "Kids" (September 28, 1992)

Blossom’s boyfriend Vinnie (David Lascher) goes into a coma after a motorcycle accident.

The lesson: It’s nice to think that the people you love may always be in your life, but that’s not true; they could be gone in a second.

8. "Only When I Laugh" (October 5, 1992)

After being personally invited by a hunky rockstar, Blossom and Six get fake IDs to go see a band perform in a club. Blossom doesn’t tell Vinnie, and even considers cheating on him with the rocker.

The lesson: Not only do they not get in, but it turns out most of the teenage girls in attendance were personally invited by the rockstar. Thus, a personal invite from a rockstar isn’t reason enough to consider cheating on your boyfriend.

9. "I Killed Chico Barranca" (October 12, 1992)

Blossom and Six go to jail after getting arrested for selling stolen property at a garage sale. It’s all Six’s fault, and Blossom doesn’t want to forgive her.

The lesson: Your friends will eventually let you down in spectacular ways. It’s up to you whether to decide to accept this and move on or end the friendship on account of their colossal selfishness. Also? Six and her mom (Gail Edwards) as dueling fast-talkers is a sight to behold.

10. "Hunger" (May 10, 1993)

After befriending a girl who is a recovering bulimic, Blossom worries that Six may be developing an eating disorder.

The lesson: Eating disorders are more common than you might think, and there’s nothing to be gained from treating them like a taboo topic.

11. "Transitions" (September 27, 1993)

Six begins casually drinking and doesn’t stop when Blossom has a talk with her about it.

The lesson: Meddling only goes so far – once you tell your friend you’re concerned about their behavior, it’s up to them to decide to take it to heart.

12. "Blossom’s Dilemma" (October 18, 1993)

Six dates Sonny (David Schwimmer), a much-older man who happens to be married. When Six and Sunny run off together, Blossom faces a tough choice: Should she reveal where they’ve gone? Or should she protect the secret and save her friendship with Six?

The lesson: True friendship means preventing your friend from dating some creep. (Sorry, David Schwimmer.) It’s not betrayal if you’re doing the right thing.

13. ".38 Special" (October 25, 1993)

Blossom spots a gun in the locker of a classmate (Devon Gummersall, better known as Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life) but fears that telling a grown-up about it will make her an outcast. When she eventually does anyway, he threatens revenge but accidentally shoots himself.

The lesson: Honestly, there’s a lot going on here. 1) Yes, you should tell someone if a classmate brings a gun to school, 2) even that means that you could face consequences for doing so, but 3) you should go on living your life anyway, even if someone has threatened you and finally 4) guns are dangerous if handled improperly.

14. "A Little Help from My Friends" (February 28, 1994)

Joey discovers that a teammate (David DeLuise) is abusing steroids, and Mr. T advises him to encourage him to quit. Joey offers to help his friend work out more afterschool so they can get in top shape legally.

The lesson: Asking someone to stop destructive behavior is one thing. It’s an entirely better thing to offer to help that person change their behavior.

15. "The Date" (February 27, 1995)

Blossom accepts a date from a dreamboat (James Marsden). However, when she refuses to get in the back seat of his car with him, he hits her and gives her a black eye. And when he threatens to destroy her reputation if she says anything, she goes to the police.

The lesson: As Mayim Bialik (as herself) says directly to the camera in the closing address, “No one has the right to force you to do anything you don’t want to do, and no one has the right to hit you.”