Fans of ‘90s TV can “slap on a smile” because the Russo residence from “Blossom” has just hit the open market! Now, I know what devotees of the popular series, which ran on NBC from 1991 to 1995, must be thinking. Whoa! The pad pictured above certainly doesn’t look like the spot Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik) and her family called home. And they’d be right. Unfortunately, the traditional Colonial-esque residence was extensively remodeled after filming wrapped and no longer resembles its sitcom self. But if you have an extra $3,999,999 million laying around, the reimagined version can now be yours. The sale marks the first time the place has been up for grabs since its current owners purchased it way back in 1987, long before “Blossom” landed on the airwaves.
Conceived by executive producer Don Reo, the teen-centric situational comedy focused on the trials and tribulations of spunky high schooler Blossom, her single father, hip musician Nick (Ted Wass), and two older brothers, recovering addict Anthony (Michael Stoyanov) and loveable dimwit Joey (Joey Lawrence). Reo was inspired to create the show after attending a party at the home of his friend, singer/songwriter Dion DiMucci of Dion and the Belmonts fame. In his 2009 book “Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales,” Reo writes, “In the summer of 1989, I went to Florida to celebrate Dion DiMucci’s fiftieth birthday . . . While I was down there, I noticed how Dion and his wife, Susan, interacted with their three daughters. Their behavior was normal. Normal except for the fact that the dad in this scenario was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This gave me the beginnings of an idea for a show, a family sitcom, in which the father would be hipper than the ones who were then on TV.” Reo meshed the premise with a concept he had been toying with centered around a Holden Caulfield-esque lead character named Richie, who had a younger sister named Blossom. Upon pitching the idea to NBC, network execs implored him to rewrite the show, nixing the Richie character and instead making Blossom the focus.
At the time, a prime-time show carried by a young girl was quite groundbreaking. Added to that, weekly storylines tackled such issues as menstruation, single parenting and teenage sexuality, which are all commonplace on the small screen today but were revolutionary in the early ’90s In fact, a scene in the pilot in which Blossom discusses the female reproductive system with guest star Phylicia Rashad was almost cut due to reticence from sensors. As noted in a 1991 Chicago Tribune article, “This is TV sitcom terrain that Gidget and Lucy would not recognize!” The innovative series resonated with audiences, though, instantly becoming must-see-programming for the teen set and turning the whimsically-fashioned Blossom into a modern role model for young viewers.
And the Russo house figured at the center of it all.