Blossom (TV series)

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Blossom
Blossomlogo.jpg
GenreSitcom[1]
Created byDon Reo
StarringMayim Bialik[2]
Joey Lawrence
Michael Stoyanov
Jenna von Oÿ[3]
Ted Wass
Theme music composerStephen Geyer
Mike Post
Opening theme"My Opinionation" performed by Dr. John
Composer(s)Frank Denson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes114 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Don Reo
Paul Junger Witt
Tony Thomas
Gene Reynolds
David Amico
Judith D. Allison (seasons 4–5)
Rob LaZebnik (season 4)
Allan Katz (season 5)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–25 minutes
Production company(s)Impact Zone Productions
Witt/Thomas Productions
Touchstone Television
DistributorDisney-ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Audio formatStereo
Original runJuly 5, 1990 (1990-07-05) (pilot preview)
January 3, 1991 (1991-01-03) – May 22, 1995 (1995-05-22)
(as a regular series)
 
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Blossom
Blossomlogo.jpg
GenreSitcom[1]
Created byDon Reo
StarringMayim Bialik[2]
Joey Lawrence
Michael Stoyanov
Jenna von Oÿ[3]
Ted Wass
Theme music composerStephen Geyer
Mike Post
Opening theme"My Opinionation" performed by Dr. John
Composer(s)Frank Denson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes114 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Don Reo
Paul Junger Witt
Tony Thomas
Gene Reynolds
David Amico
Judith D. Allison (seasons 4–5)
Rob LaZebnik (season 4)
Allan Katz (season 5)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time22–25 minutes
Production company(s)Impact Zone Productions
Witt/Thomas Productions
Touchstone Television
DistributorDisney-ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Audio formatStereo
Original runJuly 5, 1990 (1990-07-05) (pilot preview)
January 3, 1991 (1991-01-03) – May 22, 1995 (1995-05-22)
(as a regular series)

Blossom is an American sitcom broadcast on NBC from January 3, 1991, to May 22, 1995. The series was created by Don Reo, and starred Mayim Bialik as Blossom Russo, a teenager living with her father and two brothers.[4][5][6] It was produced by Reo's Impact Zone Productions in association with Witt/Thomas Productions and Touchstone Television.

Synopsis[edit]

The series began with Blossom's mother having left the family to pursue her own life and career; the show concentrated on the family's attempts to adjust. Blossom's father, Nick, a session musician who was frequently between gigs and tours, was played by Ted Wass. Her oldest brother Anthony (Michael Stoyanov) is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict who eventually became a paramedic. Joey (Joey Lawrence), the other brother, is a fairly stereotypical "dumb jock", known for the drawn-out delivery of his catchphrase, "Whoa!" Her mother, Maddy Russo, was played by Melissa Manchester.

Blossom's best friend Six Lemeure (Jenna von Oÿ) also plays a significant part in her life. Six, an especially fast talker, was best known for her tendency to ramble. Blossom also frequently received advice from celebrities in fantasy scenes, such as Mr. T, Hugh Hefner, Phylicia Rashad, David Schwimmer, ALF, and Will Smith. Blossom became a fashion icon for young girls, following the introduction of the "floppy hat" to television, which held such a presence that the hat was personified in later episodes by up and coming actress Brittany Lacour.

Characters[edit]

In addition, Eileen Brennan made several guest appearances as Blossom's neighbor/confidant.

Series development[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

In 1988, series creator Don Reo had begun a producing partnership with Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, in which the latter two were bringing his screenplays to television under the established Witt/Thomas Productions nameplate. The genesis of the project that eventually became Blossom occurred soon after Reo's association with Witt and Thomas began, and coincided with another series they were bringing to CBS in 1989, Heartland. The project that would be Blossom had two sources of inspiration. The creation process was born when Reo attended a family party thrown by his long-time friend Dion DiMucci, the lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts. Reo regarded DiMucci as being a "hip, with-it musician father", giving calm, sage, non-judgmental advice to his children and loving them unconditionally. The interraction between DiMucci and his children was reinforced to Reo at the party, and it inspired him to use this family dynamic for a pilot, in which the "cool" father would be a highlight.

However, just prior to attending the DiMucci party, Reo had toyed with the idea of writing a pilot that depicted a wise-beyond-his-years, introspective teenage boy, modeled closely after protagonist Holden Caulfield in J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. He decided to include both the hip father and Holden Caulfield-esque boy in the new pilot, with the boy eventually becoming the lead character. With Witt and Thomas' support of the storyline, Reo pitched the project to NBC in 1989 under the title Richie. Reo had the utmost faith in NBC agreeing to the format as it were, and believed that the unique characters would transform family sitcoms if it were picked up as a series. NBC liked the screenplay, but ordered changes to the format. Network suits told Reo and Witt/Thomas that they wanted to see the lead character go from being the Holden Caulfield-like Richie to that of his older sister, Blossom, and that the girl should have Richie's character traits instead. At the same time, NBC felt that the combination of a such an emotionally intuitive child and a super-chic father was too radical to put on the air, so they urged Reo and Witt/Thomas to give Blossom and her siblings nuclear, conservative parents.

In the Blossom series finale, the titular character records a new entry into her video diary, in which she discusses the changes happening in her life post-high school. As she also examines how much she has grown since her first video diary entry at the beginning of the series, Blossom describes herself as "a teenage Holden Caulfield". Reo wrote the finale with series producer Judith D. Allison, and thus decided to make an allusion to the inspiration of the lead character.

Pilot episode[edit]

At the time Mayim Bialik signed on for the pilot, she had recently worked on another sitcom project for Fox, entitled Molloy. Both NBC, which had bought the Blossom pilot, and Fox were planning to broadcast both Bialik projects in 1990, with either of the two set to continue as a regular series beyond its preview/tryout run, depending on which was more successful. The pilot episode of Blossom was taped in the spring of 1990, and ended up being the first of the projects to air, with NBC broadcasting the pilot as a special on July 5, 1990. Four weeks later, Fox commenced a seven-episode tryout run for Molloy, whose episodes had been produced in 1989, prior to Bialik signing on for the NBC pilot. Molloy faced low ratings, and was canceled by Fox after the seven-episode order was completed. Thus, NBC, who had been pleased with the ratings of their Bialik pilot special, ordered Blossom as a midseason replacement for January 1991.

In the pilot, Blossom Russo lived with both her parents, in a more conservative, nuclear household. Her father was played by Richard Masur, and was named Terry Russo; Barrie Youngfellow (fresh off It's a Living, another Witt/Thomas production) played Blossom's mother, named Barbara Russo. All other original cast members were present for the pilot, all with their familiar character names, except for Joey Lawrence, whose name was Donny Russo in the pilot. Anthony was going through his first drug/alcohol rehab period (in which Terry remarked that "he had a serious problem--he missed all of 1989"), and had his own separate scene with Blossom in the kitchen, late at night, as he gave her sage anecdotes about their lives. Neither of Blossom's parents were involved with musical careers in the pilot, with Terry working as an accountant and Barbara, a stay-at-home mom. (Coincidentally, Youngfellow's It's a Living co-star Gail Edwards would later be a recurring guest star during the series' run, as Six's mother, Sharon LeMeure).

The original subject of divorce, which was carried out differently after the pilot, involved Blossom suspecting that her parents were having marriage troubles. Blossom confides in Six about the fights and discussions she overheard them having, which is followed by Terry and Barbara's announcement over dinner that they were going to meet with an attorney friend. Blossom's fears continue to grow until her parents reveal that they were only having their wills drawn up. Notable guest stars in the pilot included Debra Sandlund as Terry's secretary and Justin Whalin as William Zimmerman, a boy at school who wishes to go steady with Blossom.

The original theme music in the pilot was Bobby Brown's 1988 hit single "My Prerogative", which was featured over the first season opening credits format of Blossom dancing in her bedroom, as she taped herself on home video. Between production of the pilot and regular series, the producers hired Dr. John (who had sung a cover of the standard "Accentuate the Positive" as the theme for Bialik's other series, Molloy) to perform the replacement theme, "My Opinionation". The title sequence was re-shot so that Bialik's dancing was more in sync with "My Opinionation". In syndicated reruns of the Blossom pilot, "My Opinionation" is used for the opening sequence, with Bialik's dancing (originally to "My Prerogative") noticeably out-of-sync with the song.

Soon after NBC picked up Blossom as a regular series, Reo successfully convinced programming chief Brandon Tartikoff and his executives to allow the lead character to have the chic, divorced musician father he had originally envisioned for the project. Masur and Youngfellow were therefore dismissed; Witt and Thomas then convinced Ted Wass, who had previously starred on their 1970s sitcom Soap, to portray Blossom's single dad Nick Russo, on Wass' agreement that he could also direct numerous episodes. Mayim Bialik claimed to have had influence in Wass' casting, as she enjoyed auditioning with him the most out of other actors who were trying out when the role was being recast. Earlier, before the pilot was shot, Bialik had single-handedly been responsible for Michael Stoyanov joining the project, after she had seen him as a guest star on sister series Empty Nest. Not only did Bialik enjoy watching Stoyanov, but she also felt they shared a strong physical resemblance (both have prominent Russian facial features), and that they would be believable as brother and sister.

Production[edit]

Five seasons of Blossom were produced, with a total of 114 episodes.

Bill Bixby became a frequent director on the series in its third season, a role he continued for several episodes into the fourth, despite his ongoing battle with prostate cancer. On November 15, 1993, shortly after learning that his illness was terminal, Bixby collapsed on the Blossom set and was hospitalized. He died six days later.

Opening sequences[edit]

The theme music was "My Opinionation" by Mike Post and Steve Geyer and performed by recording artist Dr. John.[1] The opening sequence featured Blossom filming herself in her bedroom on home video dancing, performing aerobics, making silly faces, pretending to talk on the phone, etc.

Season two switched exclusively to a sequence of dance moves by the title character, this time on film and in front of a pastel blue/pink background. Blossom's outfit changed in each dancing scene, and a variety of dance moves were performed, from belly dancing to voguing. The second season added Barnard Hughes to the show and opening credits, under the "With" heading, preceding Ted Wass.

In the third season, the dancing concept was expanded upon in the opening sequence. Core cast members Lawrence, Stoyanov, von Oÿ and Wass joined Bialik as she danced. They each appeared one at a time as their credit was shown around Blossom's dancing. With Barnard Hughes relegated to occasional status, his name no longer appeared in the opening credits, but Portia Dawson and David Lascher's names were added (despite their not being physically present in the sequence). This version of the intro lasted through the end of season four. Also beginning in season three, most segments of the show opened and closed with the first frame of a scene being frozen in a multi-colored watercolor effect. The watercolor stills lasted through the end of the series.

The fifth and final season dropped a full-fledged intro, instead displaying the Blossom logo over the watercolor effect that opened and closed segments, while a short piano remix of the first few notes of "My Opinionation" played to open the show. The opening credits ran over the prologue of the episode. During the 1994-95 season, NBC began running their credits in the squeeze-screen format.

Episodes[edit]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

On January 27, 2009, Shout! Factory (under license from rights-holders ABC and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment) released Seasons 1 & 2 of Blossom on DVD in Region 1. The 6-disc boxset includes all-new interviews with cast members, the original pilot episode, featurettes and audio commentaries.[8]

Mill Creek Entertainment released a 10 episode best-of set entitled Blossom - 10 Very Special Episodes on October 12, 2010. The single disc release features episodes from the first 2 seasons.[9]

DVD nameEp #Release date
Blossom: Seasons 1 & 238January 27, 2009

See also[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, when Leonard and Raj are trying to find a fourth team member for a physics competition, Raj refers to Mayim Bialik as "the girl who played TV’s Blossom. She got a PhD in neuroscience or something". Bialik later joined the show playing Amy Farrah Fowler.

There is also a reference in a later episode - Sheldon and Amy are producing a "couples list" for Halloween, and one of the couples on it is "Blossom and Joey" [10]

Nicki Minaj and Cassie's song The Boys is quoted as saying "I just come through with the Six like my name is Blossom." Six is a type of BMW, and Six is also the name of Blossom's best friend.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (October 17, 2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 155. ISBN 0-345-49773-2. 
  2. ^ Herman, Valli (September 25, 1991). "Tv-watching Teens Turn To `Blossom` For Fashion Inspiration". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Young 'Blossom' Fans Soon Can Purchase Her Fashions". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Ted (May 22, 1995). "'Blossom' Goes Off to College as Series Concludes Tonight". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ Weinstein, Steve (February 15, 1993). "Against All the Odds, 'Blossom' Is Blooming". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (April 1, 1991). "'Blossom': Teen's Slant on Problem of Addiction". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ Melissa Joan Hart 'Explains It All' to EW, including how 'Melissa & Joey' is racier than you think. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  8. ^ David Lambert (December 12, 2008). "Shout! Factory Sends Over a Very Special Press Release for Blossom — Seasons 1&2". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  9. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Blossom-TV-Flashbacks-10-Very-Special-Episodes/14386
  10. ^ http://yesterdayscheese.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/amy-sheldon-halloween-couples-list-big-bang-theory.html

External links[edit]