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In my opinionation, the early ’90s were a great time to be a girl. On television, tweens had Clarissa as a guide, teens looked to Blossom, and Murphy Brown provided a blueprint for the professional-to-be in all of us. Perhaps more than any of her contemporaries, though, Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik) represented the complete package. She was a role model who was still relatable. She could tear it up on the dance floor and had an eye for funky fashion. Even amid personal struggles and rebellious patches, she always managed to work out her differences with friends and family. (And did I mention she had a super-hot — if not entirely bright — brother?) Whether tap dancing on a piano or getting nip silly on a school band trip, Blossom captured the entire spectrum of the shift from girlhood to womanhood.

Though she was living in a man’s world, Blossom balanced out the testosterone commendably. In no small part thanks to her hyperactive BFF Six (Jenna von Oÿ). In those pre-Starbucks days, Six was like an espresso Doubleshot personified. Early seasons saw Six providing the perfect foil to Blossom’s studious wholesomeness by dragging her along to makeout parties. (How quaint.) When Six later struggled with alcohol abuse and pregnancy scares, she reminded Blossom that being a good girl isn’t so bad after all.

That said, Blossom was by no means the perfect image of teen girlhood. She came from a broken, dysfunctional family, for starters. On a more basic level, she was decidedly dorkier than, say, her contemporary Clarissa Darling. But what Blossom lacked in savoir faire, she made up with enthusiasm. Consider her that era’s Anne Hathaway to Clarissa’s James Franco, if you will. And there were few things about which Blossom was more enthusiastic than her hats. Ohhhh, the hats. Blossom made a practical art form of bucket hats. Each episode was an ode to daisies, sunflowers, wicker, polka-dot bows… you name it. Blossom flat knew how to pull off some headgear.

And for every floppy hat, there was probably a Very Special Episode in tow. Yet for each ounce of “Aw shucks,” Blossom had her share of edge. The conflicts in Blossom’s world typically took more than 23 minutes to resolve, including her shifting relationship with her estranged mother, Anthony’s ups and downs with drugs and alcoholism, and the story arc when Blossom ran away with her bad-boy boyfriend Vinnie (Ted from Hey Dude, by the way). She also had a wisecracking grandpa Buzz and the anti-Danny Tanner dad, Nick (Ted Wass). DJ’s dad would never throw her a menstruation party!

Filling the void between Clarissa and Murphy, Blossom worked through some serious real-world issues with the soft touch of a family sitcom. We watched Blossom… well… blossom into her grown-up self over the show’s five-year run, and, as we watched, we grew up a little bit with her.

So, PopWatchers, in a world that has since endured the mindwarping horrors of Bratz and Hannah Montana, do you miss the Blossom days? Were you crushing on Joey, or did Anthony (Michael Stoyanov) ring your bell? Did you ever attempt (in vain, no doubt) to talk like Six “Machine Gun” LeMeure? If so, you can relive every “Whoooooa” and brush up on your warp-speed monologues by heading over to the Blossom Fan Channel on YouTube. If you prefer a more old-school option, you can buy the DVDs of seasons 1 and 2, as well as 10 Very Special Episodes, on Amazon. Before then, make sure to take our poll and tell us which episode you think was the most special of all.

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