March 1995 saw the formation of two broadcast networks, the WB and UPN. A decade later, both netlets made somewhat of a mark on pop culture, particularly the WB, before merging to form the CW. Both premiered with a single night of programming: the WB scheduled a powerhouse comedy block featuring Unhappily Ever After (a Married with Children rip-off), the Wayans Bros, and Robert Townsend’s the Parent ‘Hood, and UPN debuted its flagship series, Star Trek: Voyager.
The following September, Sister, Sister moved from ABC to the WB, ensuring several more years of Jackee screeching “OOOOOOHHH, TIA AND TAMERA!!” One of its new series, Cleghorne!, focused on the life of a single mom raising her nine-year old daughter on the Upper West Side. I know this was an experimental time for the fledgling network, but who sat in a room and green-lit a vehicle for Ellen Cleghorne? She was mostly forgettable in her years on Saturday Night Live; the only characters I can recall of hers was her turban-clad, tough talking Queen Shaniqua and a pesky NBC page. The only page to steal my heart has been Kenneth on 30 Rock. Fun fact: the View’s Sherri Shepherd was a regular on Cleghorne!, years before her hilarious turn as Tracy Morgan’s wife on Rock. Cleghorne! was cancelled after 12 episodes. I couldn’t find any clips of the show – there’s a shocking lack of appetite for it online – but here’s Ellen on SNL’s Weekend Update, bemoaning the demise of Full House, which ended its run in May 1995.
Drew Barrymore danced on David Letterman’s desk and flashed him. Audiences waited all summer to find out that Maggie shot Mr. Burns in a struggle over a lollipop on the Simpsons. Pre-Will & Grace, Debra Messing starred with Thomas Hayden Church as a couple in a marriage of convenience in Ned & Stacey, a FOX comedy that lasted two seasons. Cybill Shepherd made her sitcom debut in her self-titled series in which drunk gal pal Christine Baranski stole the show.
Before it dominated the schedule with CSI and other similar procedurals, CBS was struggling to attract a younger audience and find a different identity. Darren Starr’s Central Park West, a steamy soap that was off-brand for the network, crashed and burned; the Facts of Life’s Nancy McKeon headlined Can’t Hurry Love; and controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay and Cathy Moriarty starred in Bless This House. All were cancelled after one season.
Finally, 1995 was the year in which Dr. Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross) returned from the presumed-dead (after a car wreck earlier that season) to terrorize the residents of Melrose Place. I still remember getting chills watching the episode where Kimberly makes her surprise re-entry. Michael (Thomas Calabro) has finally given into former sister-in-law Sydney’s (Laura Leighton) advances, and the two are about to go at it that night. It’s clear that someone is watching them from the beach, and we’re led to believe it’s the same peeping handyman who was spying on Amanda (Heather Locklear) earlier. But no, the camera turns, slowly revealing that it’s Kimberly. We learn the next episode that Kimberly’s mother spread word of her demise in order to protect her and that several brain surgeries later, she’s as good as new. But as you’ll see in this clip, Kimberly’s not her old self, and she’s got the scars to prove it.
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:
Josh Kossack is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he isn’t cruising around with his convertible top down or reading to the blind, he can be found putting Sriracha on pretty much everything under the sun.