In the current issue of IMAGE Magazine, the team and I write about our favourite 80s glamour icon. If I’m being completely honest, I struggled to limit my love for Joan Collins’ Alexis Colby to a 300-word count. No other TV wardrobe will ever come close to securing as big a place in my heart as hers. However, this little trip down memory lane reminded me of a few of the other female TV characters who captured my childhood imagination during the 1980s …
Blanche, left, liked to stand out from the rest of The Golden Girls
Blanche Devereaux – The Golden Girls
It’s hard to imagine any station producing a show like The Golden Girls today – four elderly women with clashing personalities are not exactly a draw for that coveted 18-39 demographic. And yet, to my pre-adolescent mind, they had me enthralled. I’m pretty sure that my love of daytime sequins can be traced back to Blanche. And she gave Alexis plenty of shoulder pad competition too.
Roseanne’s Darlene inspired for more reasons than her wardrobe
Darlene Conner – Roseanne
Roseanne blew my little mind in terms of TV comedy with heart. Not least because it used its primetime platform to discuss controversial issues like birth control, drug abuse and homosexuality. I grew up alongside Darlene, the middle child, and identified with her introverted attitude and love of creative writing. Her tomboy tendencies unleashed my own. Embarrassing to admit now, but I took up basketball after watching her “shoot hoops” in the Conner’s yard. She didn’t hold much sway in terms of style, because, well she had none, but neither did I and that was okay. There was plenty of time for that. What she lacked in aspirational clothing, she more than made up for with her witty one-liners.
Karen Arnold’s glossy locks and free spirit inspired numerous teen makeovers
Karen Arnold – The Wonder Years
Forget Winnie Cooper – it was Kevin Arnold’s big sister Karen that intrigued me most while watching The Wonder Years. She was older, wilder and had the one thing I wanted most in the world back then – blonde hair. This free-spirited rebel even made a tie-dye and waistcoat combo look cool. I’d put good money on her being responsible for a huge 60s revival among my fellow sixth classers. I might even overlook the fact that she left Kevin & Co at home to go marry David Schwimmer’s character. On reflection, perhaps she wasn’t as cool as I thought.
Nobody sells pastel quite like Cybil Shepherd in Moonlighting
Maddie Hayes – Moonlighting
Nobody did sexual tension better than Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis) back in the heyday of Moonlighting. But it was Maddie’s subtle sophistication that lured me in. She made business look sexy in silk suits with low-cut camisoles. Who else could get away with wearing drapey pastel satin and still look like a goddess? She gets extra points for inspiring a whole generation of collar-poppers. Thankfully, I was a little too young to succumb to that particular trend.