In the winter of 1994, the TGIF lineup on ABC was this:
8:00 PM – Family Matters
8:30 PM – Boy Meets World
9:00 PM – Step by Step
9:30 PM – Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (which changed to Sister Sister by Spring)
In the winter of 1994, I was seven and like the rest of my generation, I took part in the TGIF phenomenon. My mousy yap sang along with the opening jingle: “It’s Friday night and the mood is right – we’re gonna have some fun, show ya how it’s done, TGIF”. My small, skeleton-like frame sat for two hours as I blessed my wonderful parents for never giving me a curfew. My developing brain (that was usually occupied with hysterical crying) knew three things regarding Friday nights were definitely true: I was going to have some fun, they will show me how it was done, and it was TGIF. And it was fun, every damn time.
In the winter of 1994, TGIF meant quality family programming. Both the programming and my warm regards to the anagram would eventually change.
It’s no surprise that everyone looks forward to Friday. The world accomplishes a lot on the weekends. People go on boats. They see their loved ones. They cook chimichurri. Whether it’s the Devil and the Angel, Ann Coulter and Rachel Maddow, Cruella Deville and 100 Dalmatian puppies – I can bet they all agree on some time off. What is surprising is the abuse of the phrase, “TGIF”, and how all the joy that I associated with those four letters morphed into a small fit of rage.
Entering the workforce, I was unprepared for how much people would throw it around. “Hey Jim, TGIF!”. “Whoa TGIF, right?”. “TGIF, TGIF, TGIF”. I knew most co-workers had nothing to say to each other. They talked about the weather or their normal spouses. I was completely certain that in any office I walked in to, at least 65% of the people did not want to be there (a conservative estimate for my own peace of noggin). In preparation for the weekly sit-ins at my new jobs, I needed to believe that not everyone wanted to run out of there with their shoelaces untied. But the free-flowing use of TGIF, the enthusiasm, and the unbridled joy made me feel differently.
It made me freak out.
“Do any of these people enjoy Tuesdays? Do they stop and look at window displays? Do they get fro-yo?”
Everyone around me started to deflate at five and there I was, at a one person party twirling the lone noisemaker. The idea of our entire society looking forward to a fraction of the week depressed me. TGIF was a cheery mask slapped on the face of admittance; everyone just wanted to be somewhere else.
I was afraid I wouldn’t have the time to do all the things I wanted to do. Would I ever buy a sports bra then use it? Would I make infused water? Would I wash my delicate green pants by hand, EVER?” TGIF meant no. TGIF could mean never. TGIF meant over.
I was obviously panicking. It’s something I do extremely well.
There was no cure for that panic. I just needed to get a hold of myself. It went along with moving home, feeling aimless and indecisive. TGIF was, in a phrase, the essence of all my fears.
And let’s be completely honest, okay? Let’s just free-ball it over here: the minute I started working, I was EXHAUSTED. I knew immediately what my mother was talking about for all those years; why she didn’t want me walking into the house at three am. My mother would have trouble falling asleep and if she did fall asleep I would wake mama bear out of her slumber and that’s nothin’ short of miserable. Like my mother, I do not handle being sleepy with grace. And here I was, a working woman who couldn’t sleep all willy nilly. The more I worked, the more I started to become like everyone else waiting for the weekend.
On the weekend, you can have a day! You can get up whatever time you want (usually early to not waste it), eat a nice meal, and not rush. TGIF in ’94 meant not rushing, you just sat down and watched Steve Urkel do something and then ask if he did it. Fun! Easy! Relaxed! That’s what having a day is and there’s no shame in wanting that. I just felt a little shame in the beginning because I wanted to keep up with my peers but immediately became a geriatric once I got on payroll.
Although I still cringe when I hear people throw around TGIF like it’s hand sanitizer (take it out and watch ‘em flock), I understand now. People just want to share their excitement and tell you how excited they are to not see your face on a weekend. JKJK they are excited to make chimichurri (I told you that!). Also, at 25, I feel more secure with my professional life, my plans, and being on what I believe is the right path for me in comedy. I’m still scared shitless but it’s nice to be such a panicky dick about it.
Sometimes, I even let one slip when I really, really mean it. Like a few Fridays ago, I legitimately said to my sister Joey, “I don’t casually say this, but TGIF.” That night, I fell asleep at 7:45pm while watching a re-run of The Big Bang Theory. I slept until the next morning. It was perfect.Tags: Comedy, essay, labor, leisure, prose, television, TGIF, thank god its friday, Tracey Soren, work