5. Lindsey Lohan as Alli Fowler on Another World (1996)
I actually remember this, unlike some of the other WONDEROUS selections on this list, because I, along with my mother and grandmother, was somewhat obsessed with the now-defunct NBC soap. When little Lindsey Lohan sashayed onto the big screen for the Disney remake of The Parent Trap, I recognized her immediately. “Little Alli Fowler! You’re going to be such a big star someday, so precious! Yes, you are! Yes. You. Are.” Now, of course, Lindsey is essentially the poster girl for Child Star Gone Horribly Awry and her latest pop culture masterpiece is a TV movie original for, wait for it, The Family Channel. NOT EVEN LIFETIME. Ouch.
I honestly couldn’t sum it up better than this Youtube commentator on yet another LiLo-Another World clip- “Lindsay Lohan was a good young actress those days, now she’s gone to rehab.” It’s like the beginning of a country song. Or a Weird Al version of an Amy Winehouse song. Either way, it works.
4. Adam Sandler as Smitty on The Cosby Show (1987-1988)
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the finest actor of our generation. Or, at least, the guy who’s made the most money in our generation. I love Adam Sandler’s appearances as Theo’s buddy on The Cosby Show. I love how wiggly he is. I love the way he works a pair of acid-washed Mom jeans. I love that I can finally watch him in something that doesn’t involve a “hippity ha” type of nonsense speak or over-the-top cartoon rage. And I like being able to watch it and say to myself, “Self, that young actor is probably very poor in that there Hollywood. Living on his friend’s couch, desperately calling his agent, eating peanut butter sandwiches. Poor guy.” Rather than, “Self, that guy just shat out $20 million dollars for talking in a weird voice to a shampoo bottle.”
3. Sarah Jessica Parker as Patty Greene on Square Pegs (1982-1983)
Many, many people dislike SJP these days. They’re harsh about her looks, about her power in the fashion industry, about her surrogate baby mama. Normally, I’d be right there with them except, well, I kind of love her. I’M SORRY, I DO. And it’s not because of Sex and the City (I seriously would be happy to not see another SATC episode for AT LEAST ten years.) It’s because SJP’s film repertoire is the stuff of B-movie heaven. Honeymoon in Vegas? Yes, please. Girls Just Want to Have Fun? I honestly don’t know who I would be without that movie and the possibility of DanceTV ever existing. Miami Rhapsody? Sure. Footloose? BRING IT.
In other words, SJP is basically everything right about the 1980s and nowhere is she more endearing than the short-lived TV show Square Pegs, the ’80s version of Freaks and Geeks and cancelled just as quickly because geeks now rule Hollywood and don’t like to be reminded that they once wore patterned hammer pants to school on purpose. At least, that’s my own personal theory.
(Did you notice Jami Gertz from Still Standing as Muffy? Note- this is in NO WAY an endorsement of the sitcom Still Standing. Don’t. Watch it.)
2. Rob Lowe as Charles Elderberry in the After School Special Schoolboy Father (1980)
I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make. I have a deep, abiding affection for Rob Lowe and I’m really not sure there’s anything he could do that would alter my feelings for him. Even that thing with the nanny. Short of a complete Michael Jackson meltdown where Rob suddenly decides he wants to look like Demi Moore (see what I did there?), I stand by my statement that I would still run away with him, should the situation arise.
This role is on the list because a) Rob Lowe. b) Feathered hair. c) IT’S AN AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL.
1. Julianne Moore as Sabrina/Frannie Hughes on As the World Turns (1985-1988)
BRIAN FROM WINGS. IN TIGHT PANTS. AMAZING DIALOGUE. “Why are you doing this to US, Frannie?!” Why, INDEED? The only thing that could make this scene remotely better would be if Marisa “Posi-traction”Tomei showed up and spotted future Academy Award nominee Julianne Moore (pre-Nine Months, pre-movie-star-dental work) in a clinch with what has to be the gayest straight man I’ve ever seen on a soap opera. OH, WAIT IT TOTALLY HAPPENS.