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You Got Punky'd
June 3, 2013 11:24 PM   Subscribe

It's been twenty-five years since the Punky Brewster series finale. Wonder what Soleil Moon Frye's been up to in the meantime? She's now an author, does voice acting, and a mom. Catch up with her here, read about the real life girl on which Punky was based, or head below the jump to catch up on four years' worth of viewing pleasure.

Season One:

Punky Finds a Home
Punky Finds a Home, Pt 2
Punky Finds a Home, Pt 3
Punky Gets Her Own Room
Lost and Found
Walk Pool
Gone Fishing
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Parents Night
A Visit to the Doctor
Go to Sleep
Miss Adorable
Dog Dough Afternoon
Bye Bye, My
Yes, Punky, There is a Santa Clause Pt 1
Yes, Punky, There is a Santa Clause Pt 2
Punky in the Record Business
Henry Falls in Love Pt 1
Henry Falls in Love Pt 2
My Aged Valentine
I Love You, Brandon
Punky Brewster's Workout
Gals and Dolls

Season Two

Fenster Hall Pt 1
Fenster Hall Pt 2
The K.O. Kid
Punky's Treehouse
Cheaters Never Win
Baby Buddies, Inc.
Tap Your Troubles Away
The Perils of Punky Pt 1
The Perils of Punky Pt 2
Just Say No
The Search Pt 1
The Search Pt 2
Love Thy Neighbor Pt 1
Love Thy Neighbor Pt 2
The Gift Pt 1
The Gift Pt 2
Milk Does a Body Good Pt 1
Milk Does a Body Good Pt 2
Christmas Shoplifting Pt 1
Christmas Shoplifting Pt 2
Urban Fear Pt 1
Urban Fear Pt 2
Girls Will Be Boys Pt 1
Girls Will Be Boys Pt 2
Cherie Lifesaver Pt 1
Cherie Lifesaver Pt 2
Changes (1) Pt 1
Changes (1) Pt 2
Changes (2) Pt 1
Changes (2) Pt 2
Changes (3) Pt 1
Changes (3) Pt 2
Changes (4) Pt 1
Changes (4) Pt 2
Changes (5) Pt 1
Changes (5) Pt 2
Accidents Happen Pt 1
Accidents Happen Pt 2

Season Three

Reading, Writing, and Rock and Roll Pt 1
Reading, Writing, and Rock and Roll Pt 2
Punky's Big Story Pt 1
Punky's Big Story Pt 2
Tons of Fun Pt 1
Tons of Fun Pt 2
Divorce Anderson Style Pt 1
Divorce Anderson Style Pt 2
Hands Across the Halls Pt 1
Hands Across the Halls Pt 2
Open Door, Broken Heart (1) Pt 1
Open Door, Broken Heart (1) Pt 2
Open Door, Broken Heart (2) Pt 1
Open Door, Broken Heart (2) Pt 2
Beers and Buffalos Don't Mix Pt 1
Beers and Buffalos Don't Mix Pt 2
Best Friends Pt 1
Best Friends Pt 2
It's a Dog's Life Pt 1
It's a Dog's Life Pt 2
The Metamorphosis Pt 1
The Metamorphosis Pt 2
Fighting City Hall Pt 1
Fighting City Hall Pt 2
The Matchmaker Pt 1
The Matchmaker Pt 2
My Fair Punky Pt 1
My Fair Punky Pt 2
The Anniversary Pt 1
The Anniversary Pt 2
Tangled Web Pt 1
Tangled Web Pt 2
Punky's Porker Pt 1
Punky's Porker Pt 2
This Spud's For You Pt 1
This Spud's For You Pt 2
So Long, Studio Pt 1
So Long, Studio Pt 2
Help Wanted Pt 1
Help Wanted Pt 2
Remember When Pt 1
Remember When Pt 2
Unhooking Henry Pt 1
Unhooking Henry Pt 2

Season Four

The Nun's Story Pt 1
The Nun's Story Pt 2
Crushed Pt 1
Crushed Pt 2
Going to Camp Pt 1
Going to Camp Pt 2
Poor Margaux Pt 1
Poor Margaux Pt 2
Brandon's Commercial Pt 1
Brandon's Commercial Pt 2
Passed Away at Punky's Place Pt 1
Passed Away at Punky's Place Pt 2
Christmas Hero Pt 1
Christmas Hero Pt 2
Beauty Lesson Pt 1
Beauty Lesson Pt 2
See You in Court Pt 1
See You in Court Pt 2
Radio Daze Pt 1
Radio Daze Pt 2
Aunt Larnese is Coming Pt 1
Aunt Larnese is Coming Pt 2
Dear Diary Pt 1
Dear Diary Pt 2
The Reading Game Pt 1
The Reading Game Pt 2
Ouch Pt 1
Ouch Pt 2
No, No We Won't Go Pt 1
No, No We Won't Go Pt 2
Bad Dog Pt 1
Bad Dog Pt 2
Wimped Out Pt 1
Wimped Out Pt 2
One Plus Tutor is Three Pt 1
One Plus Tutor is Three Pt 2
Vice Versa Pt 1
Vice Versa Pt 2
The Dilemma Pt 1
The Dilemma Pt 2
What's Your Sign Pt 1
What's Your Sign Pt 2
Wedding Bells for Brandon Pt 1
Wedding Bells for Brandon Pt 2
posted by MoonOrb (68 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I spent twenty-five years thinking that Punky's dog died partway through the series. sweetkid straightened me out recently.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 11:47 PM on June 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Which one did the friend get locked in the fridge?
posted by k8t at 11:52 PM on June 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


Can we also celebrate how awesome the animated version was?
posted by k8t at 11:53 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had these Punky shoes but they were not as cool as hers. http://img0.etsystatic.com/011/1/5602867/il_fullxfull.418225188_jfyz.jpg
posted by k8t at 11:55 PM on June 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which one did the friend get locked in the fridge?

I think it was this one.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:59 PM on June 3, 2013


The best part of Punky Brewster is the never-aired final episode where it's revealed that she's a rogue AI created by the same top secret military-industrial program that created V.I.C.I. in Small Wonder.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:12 AM on June 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


I always get references to this confused with Doogie Houser.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:24 AM on June 4, 2013


Oh, Punky.
posted by orme at 2:00 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Great. Now I can relive the Challenger trauma again.
posted by Mezentian at 2:47 AM on June 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


That show was forever spoiled for me by the episode "Perils of Punky," which scared the ever loving shit out of me. Apparently I was not the only one.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:17 AM on June 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


brb hiding in a fridge
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:20 AM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I also came in here to rewatch the fridge episode.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:32 AM on June 4, 2013


I could have sworn the Fridge Episode was Differ'nt Strokes.
Am I mad?
posted by Mezentian at 4:54 AM on June 4, 2013


The fridge episode has nothing on the episode of Webster where his family has to move because the lovable little scamp burns down his apartment building. See, he thought because they were called 'safety matches' the matches were safe to play with. Boy was he wrong!
posted by item at 4:59 AM on June 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love you for posting this.

And yea Brandon the dog didn't die! The clip of him at the vet will give you massive weepies though careful there.
posted by sweetkid at 5:15 AM on June 4, 2013


Diff'rent Strokes had the weird sex abuse episode.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:20 AM on June 4, 2013


I remember watching the episode where Punky and Henry went to Game 1 of the 1984 playoffs at Wrigley Field. My Dad took me to that game, too, and I was so jealous that she got to sit in the dugout!
posted by zooropa at 5:23 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


That show was forever spoiled for me by the episode "Perils of Punky," which scared the ever loving shit out of me. Apparently I was not the only one.

ALL I REMEMBER IS THE HOROR. THE SHEER HORROR OF MY FRIENDS VANISHING AND/OR BEING TURNED INTO MONSTERS AGAINST ME.

That, and a music video by one of the Jackson brothers (I think) where he gets caught in a giant spider's web...

THE HORROR.
posted by Theta States at 5:55 AM on June 4, 2013


This and this were basically my Red Wedding.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:01 AM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Diff'rent Strokes had the weird sex abuse episode.

Through which I learnt all cyclists are kiddie fiddlers.
ALL cyclists.

But no, I thought D/S's Cousin Oliver character (Sam) got locked in a fridge too.

Still, so many years later I go around removing doors from fridges.
posted by Mezentian at 6:02 AM on June 4, 2013


Theta States: That, and a music video by one of the Jackson brothers (I think) where he gets caught in a giant spider's web...

The Jacksons -- Torture
posted by Rock Steady at 6:03 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


That dog (not) dying episode is total bullshit. I'm sure I, along with many other kids, thought afterwards that pets can be magically saved at the last minute before being euthanized.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mezentian: I could have sworn the Fridge Episode was Differ'nt Strokes.

I first read that as "the Fringe Episode". Watchu talkin' 'bout, Walter?
posted by Rock Steady at 6:20 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well... there goes my day. Thanks for the post, MoonOrb! This was one of my favorite shows as a kid.
posted by youngergirl44 at 6:33 AM on June 4, 2013


By the way, I wasn't lying about Webster being a little arsonist, though apparently it was a chemistry set that he set the fire with and not matches - it was Ma'am that burned down her home as a child while playing with 'safety matches'. She related the story to Web in order to make him feel better about torching their entire high-rise apartment building. Here ya go.
posted by item at 6:36 AM on June 4, 2013


...and the episode before the fire one sounds just as fascinating:
Webster and his female friend are caught looking at each other naked. Katherine has a tough time trying to explain that they were only curious when she talks to the friend's mother.
Take that, Full House.
posted by item at 6:38 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just realized that I will now be spending the rest of the morning neglecting the million-and-one things I had on my day's agenda and will instead be watching Very Special Episodes from syndicated 1980s sitcoms.
posted by item at 6:41 AM on June 4, 2013


When I was in kindergarten, my class played a lot of kickball. One of the girls trademarks was to yell "Punky Power" when she kicked the ball. Was that a Punky Brewster catchphrase, or was my classmate just a big fan?
posted by diogenes at 6:43 AM on June 4, 2013


Yes, it was a catchphrase, co-opted by my little sister as 'Molly Power', which was 'like Punky Power but better.'
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:51 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


item, you might want to get lost down this wormhole.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:07 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just realized that I will now be spending the rest of the morning neglecting the million-and-one things I had on my day's agenda

Just give the kids a fridge....
posted by Mezentian at 7:33 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That show was forever spoiled for me by the episode "Perils of Punky," which scared the ever loving shit out of me. Apparently I was not the only one.

Count me as another. I've never forgotten that image. Scared the bejesus out of me.
posted by discopolo at 7:42 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


item: "She related the story to Web in order to make him feel better about torching their entire high-rise apartment building."

To be fair, the fire only spread through their apartment. It wasn't like a towering inferno or anything. (Yes, I did watch this episode somewhat recently. And even commented on it here.)

Of course, the real very special lesson from that episode is "Accidentally torch your newly adoptive parents' sterile apartment and you get to move into a cool house with a dumb waiter and secret passage ways."
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:47 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still have occasional nightmares about "Perils of Punky". No joke.
posted by palomar at 8:05 AM on June 4, 2013


Diff'rent Strokes had the weird sex abuse episodes

Those were important. Some parents don't get around to telling their kids not to trust strangers and that there are pedophiles out there into kids.
posted by discopolo at 8:37 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Soleil Moon Frye also had breast reduction surgery and was on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

She is so gorgeous.
posted by discopolo at 8:41 AM on June 4, 2013


While waiting for my wife to use the self-checkout, I jokingly put my 2 year old in a display freezer and pretended to shut the lid.

When my wife finally noticed me she screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? HAVEN'T YOU SEEN THAT EPISODE OF PUNKY BREWSTER?"

I hadn't.

My wife bought the episode on iTunes and made me watch it.
posted by photovox at 8:42 AM on June 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


You did it! Congratulations!

Awesome post!
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM on June 4, 2013


Soleil Moon Frye is also the younger half-sister of Meeno Peluce, aka Jeffrey Jones on Voyagers!
posted by padraigin at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Soleil Moon Frye is also the younger half-sister of Meeno Peluce, aka Jeffrey Jones on Voyagers!

Known best to me as the kid on the bike in Dio's The Last in Line video (hopefully he did not buy that bike from Gordon Jump)
posted by The Gooch at 10:25 AM on June 4, 2013


While waiting for my wife to use the self-checkout, I jokingly put my 2 year old in a display freezer and pretended to shut the lid.

I just want to tell you you're awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 10:38 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Was there a Webster or Diff'rent Strokes episode that had a rocking chair that rocked by itself and they thought it was a ghost? I still freak myself out with that image sometimes but I can't remember what it's from.

And I had totally forgotten about Punky Brewster and this post is awesome.
posted by jaguar at 10:43 AM on June 4, 2013


Diff'rent Strokes had the weird sex abuse episode.

And a scary episode where they get burgled and he has to escape using the dumb waiter!
posted by Theta States at 10:43 AM on June 4, 2013


Great. Now I can relive the Challenger trauma again.

Which episode was that?
posted by Theta States at 10:45 AM on June 4, 2013


Theta States: "Which episode was that?"

The perhaps-not-so-thoughtfully-titled "Accidents Happen" (though to be fair, episode titles were a bit more of a mystery to the viewing public back in the day).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:48 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


jaguar: Was there a Webster or Diff'rent Strokes episode that had a rocking chair that rocked by itself and they thought it was a ghost?

Webster. There was a doll in it.

Theta States: And a scary episode where they get burgled and he has to escape using the dumb waiter!

I think that was Webster too, but the show's shockingly detailed Wikipedia page does not mention it.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:03 AM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It freaks me out to watch the clips and realize how little Punky and her friends are and that I was even littler.
posted by sweetkid at 11:08 AM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rock Steady: "I think that was Webster too, but the show's shockingly detailed Wikipedia page does not mention it."

But if you check out the "List of Webster episodes", you'll note that episode 59 "Who's to Blame" has the description "Robbers break into the house while Webster is home alone and he has to know how to act."

And obviously the answer to 'how to act' when robbers break into the house while you are home alone is "hide in the dumbwaiter." I mean, duh.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:51 AM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


You know how sometimes you can remember these random, meaningless events from your childhood, but not why you are at the store that very moment?

I distinctly remember a "Punky Brewster" episode where Punky wants to watch the opera with Henry, but he is a serious opera buff and insists that he must watch alone without distractions. To drive home his point, he tells Punky that when he attends the opera in person he always buys 3 seats, so that nobody on either side of him will try to chat him up. Even as a kid I remember thinking, "That has got to be ridiculously expensive".
posted by The Gooch at 11:54 AM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


k8t: "Can we also celebrate how awesome the animated version was?"

Glomer!

Now that that is out of my system, let me direct you to the It's Punky Brewster Wikipedia page, which gives you a detailed history of Glomer and plot synopses.

I am tempted to cut and paste all of my favorites. But I'll just do one:

A social worker removes Punky from Henry's home and puts her in a home where little girls are being used as slave labor for a candy factory.


which teaches the valuable lesson to kids that even if you break into an apartment, get adopted, get animated, and befriend a magical creature from Chaundoon, the Man might still eventually make you a Human Oompa Loompa.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:45 PM on June 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


No Glomer was so so bad
posted by sweetkid at 12:50 PM on June 4, 2013


The Great Gazoo could kick Glomer's fuzzy ass.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


But if you check out the "List of Webster episodes", you'll note that episode 59 "Who's to Blame" has the description "Robbers break into the house while Webster is home alone and he has to know how to act."

The real lesson of that episode for the kids watching was supposed to be "don't tell people you're going to be home alone".
posted by inigo2 at 1:23 PM on June 4, 2013


And the best Punky Brewster episode was the one where she wins the contest and they send her the boys' prize (a remote control car) and then the boys won't let her race because she's a girl and then she goes back dressed as a boy and races and does awesome. I like that episode (even if I'm not quite describing it accurately; that's how I remember it).
posted by inigo2 at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


SPOILER: NOT AT ALL PUNK
posted by dhartung at 1:31 PM on June 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Um, she was homeless with a dog, wearing mismatched clothes, and found squatting in an empty apartment. I'm pretty sure Ms. Brewster was first wave gutter punk.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:36 PM on June 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I spent years of my childhood desperately wanting to be Punky Brewster. I didn't realize it took place in Chicago (based on that Cubs episode), which makes me wonder if I just assumed all shows were set in Chicago since I grew up in the suburbs.
posted by Bunglegirl at 2:57 PM on June 4, 2013


As a freckle-faced small brown-haired child of the '80s, this show was unspeakably influential to me. I recently rewatched it with my partner. We found ourselves weeping openly and unexpectedly multiple times.
posted by mynameisluka at 5:54 PM on June 4, 2013


My first sneakers with shoelaces were Punky Brewster hightops.
posted by discopolo at 6:35 PM on June 4, 2013


I can't believe I'm the first person to mention that Henry was also Commandant Lassard in Police Academy.

That Mahoney was such a scamp!
posted by Chrysostom at 11:00 PM on June 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you've never seen live or listened to a round of "Name That Punky" on Professor Blastoff, you haven't enjoyed one of my favorite Punky-related pleasures.
posted by Cassford at 12:19 AM on June 5, 2013


Tried to watch "The Perils of Punky" with my twelve-year-old daughter last night. She was not impressed to say the least, and I did not think it held up very well either. Maybe I can convince her to try one of the more traditional PB episodes.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:24 AM on June 5, 2013


I skimmed through the 2nd half of Perils Of Punky last night and remember how deep the horror hole goes. It's seriously 10 minutes of unrelenting terror for a sensitive 6-year-old. (namely, ME)
posted by Theta States at 7:43 AM on June 5, 2013


Rock Steady: "Tried to watch "The Perils of Punky" with my twelve-year-old daughter last night. She was not impressed to say the least, and I did not think it held up very well either. Maybe I can convince her to try one of the more traditional PB episodes."

I'm sure it doesn't hold up well, but as somebody who was 12 when the original series ended and was pretty much only aware of it throughout its run due to the aforementioned little sister and my brother who did an awesome Glomer impression (and because Soleil Moon Frye's cousin lived in my very small town), it may just be that you missed your window of Punkertunity for sharing the magic. Your daughter might be too grown up to enjoy. Or kids today are too smart for this business. Probably a bit of both.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:46 AM on June 5, 2013


Your daughter might be too grown up to enjoy. Or kids today are too smart for this business. Probably a bit of both.

It's amazing how little actual content there was in the episode(s). First there is like a minute plus of theme song (very 80s), then there are really long (to a modern viewer) scenes that could be dramatically tightened up (camping, wandering, spelunking, Mr. Pieces), plus vast amounts of exposition monologue (the Princess Moon backstory). The only really dramatic bits were the spider fight (go Brandon!), the disappearance of the friends, and the reappearance of the evil friends (that zombie Alex is really disturbing). Even the Evil Spirit scene drags a little. Don't get me wrong, back in the day I was terrified by the whole thing, but it's just not up to modern TV standards.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:31 AM on June 5, 2013


Now I have the goddamned Punky Brewster theme song stuck in my head thanks to this post.

Evvvv-ry time I turn around!
posted by Rock Steady at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2013


Now I have the goddamned Punky Brewster theme song stuck in my head thanks to this post.

Evvvv-ry time I turn around!


There is video of me singing this at a block party, probably 1985 or 86.
posted by sweetkid at 10:12 AM on June 5, 2013


The Great Gazoo could kick Glomer's fuzzy ass.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:


Pffffft!
posted by discopolo at 10:20 AM on June 5, 2013


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