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Punky Brewster

By Tom Keogh

Punky Brewster: Season One proves the old, family-friendly sitcom is as captivating for kids today as it was in 1984. Somewhere in the tradition of Silas Marner and Chaplin's The Kid, Punky Brewster breathes new life in the story of an isolated bachelor who takes in a lost and forgotten child. Thanks to the inspired casting of Helsinki-born, journeyman actor George Gaynes (The Crucible) as misanthropic photographer-turned-foster dad Henry Warnimont, the tradition stays strong in Punky Brewster even as the series paints the world in primary colors for a young audience.

Gaynes's autumnal Henry is the gruff-but-lovable loner who discovers 8-year-old, abandoned Punky (Soleil Moon Frye) squatting with her golden lab puppy, Brandon, in an empty apartment across from his own. With great reluctance, Henry allows the loquacious, spunky Punky to stay with him until she's situated with Chicago's youth services, then misses her the moment she's gone. After a cute showdown with officials in court (Punky cracks wise atop the judge's desk), Henry and his moppet become a family, and the series explores the many ways in which the duo (well, Henry, actually) learns to accommodate a shared life. In "Punky Gets Her Own Room," the impetuous heroine turns Henry's dusty study into a brightly painted bedroom, much to her new dad's shock. "Parents Night" finds Henry annoyed that he's supposed to show up at his charge's school when he'd rather be working.

Punky Brewster's initial 22 episodes wisely allowed the core relationship between man and girl to settle before introducing other significant characters and story threads. By the season's middle, however, other relationships and conflicts develop, including a romance for Henry and trouble with bullies at school. It's all good, family entertainment that doesn't condescend. Special features include three segments from the subsequent, animated It's Punky Brewster series.

Punky Brewster on DVD!
Punky Brewster is now available on DVD! Get it at Amazon.com!
Season One, Season Two

 

Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Punky Brewster? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! Those Childhood crushes! Yes, I remember with much clarity tuning in every Saturday night (and also when it was moved to Sundays in the middle of the 2nd season) just to see Soleil Moon-Frye's adorable little face-yes. I count her among my many childhood crushes. I can't lie,though,I thought Punky's freinds were just as cute (and from what I saw of her on that "I Love The Awesome80s" special on vh-1, Cherie Johnson has grown up to be really fine. :) Good ol Henry Warnermont (played by George Gaynes from the POLICE ACADEMY movies), sage, wise, experienced in life, and a mean photog (not to mention mean to Punky in the first episode!). You had to feel for a guy like him, being the guardian of someone such as Punky, and the trouble he had to go through to keep her. I remember my sisters crying when we watched the episode where he not only finally got to adopt her, but also opened up his new photo studio in some mall. And don't forget Brandon, Punky's trusty Golden Retreiver. My favorite episodes are two that Andy Gibb guest starred on: one as a foreign cousin of Punky's who comes to the states looking for a record deal, and then another as himself, wherein he hosts some "little miss" pageant in which Punky and her friends are contestants. Cherie wins, and Margo - as usual - is a sore little loser. After all is said and done, I think NICK AT NITE needs to peel back the number of COSBY SHOW episodes they run each night in order to make room for an hour of Punky. Who cares if the show didn't last long? There are shows with just as much a short shelf life in their initial run (Gilligan's Island,etc.) which STILL get reran to death."

--10in84

"I remember watching Punky Brewster every week. I wanted to be Punky. I just knew I was related to her, I mean why not, I was small like her and I had that same dark hair. Anyway, I can't think of one single episode that stood out. I do remember the one when they went camping in the woods and got lost in the cave, and all of Punky's friends kept disappearing and she would run into them later looking like these horrible monsters or be "dismemebered" I never thought a sitcom could ever freak me out, I didn't think I would get to sleep that night. I also remember her first crush and her trying to pluck her eyebrows, comes out of the bathroom with her eyebrows or what was left of them crooked and red. I remember so many of them if I keep going I won't stop. Anyway thank you anybody who takes the time to read this"

--jessilou

"Oh how I wish to be Punky!!!!!!!! I'm 27 years old and I have a 5 year old little girl and recently purchased season 1&2 of the show and she now dresses like Punky with the different colored shoes and the bandana around the leg. I think it is so cute she even has me call her Punky Brewster."

--Anonymous

 

TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 16, 1984 - September 7, 1986

Cast: Soleil Moon Frye, George Gaynes, Eddie Deezen, Cherie Johnson, Susie Garrett, Ami Foster, Loyita Chapel

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of NBC


Punky Brewster memorabilia!
Punky Brewster Videos and DVDs!
Soleil Moon Frye memorabilia!
Soleil Moon Frye Videos and DVDs!
George Gaynes memorabilia!
George Gaynes Videos and DVDs!

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