Quiz: Can You Name the Professions of These 1990s TV Characters?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Name the Professions of These 1990s TV Characters?
6 Min Quiz
Fox Network; 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
What was Ally McBeal's profession?
"Ally McBeal" delighted audiences with its quirky characters and unusual storylines. Ally, for instance, was an unforgettable lawyer who danced with an imaginary baby. Never mind that most of the characters were lawyers; the laughs were worth it, and people still took them seriously!
Constant C Productions; Amblin Television; Warner Bros. Television
Can you guess what Doug Ross did for a living?
Author Michael Crichton was the creator of the hit medical TV show, "ER," in which George Clooney earned his huge fan base. He played Dr. Doug Ross and co-starred with Anthony Edwards, Noah Wyle, Eriq La Salle and Julianna Margulies in the early seasons.
Mutant Enemy; Kuzui Enterprises; Sandollar Television
What was Buffy's main job?
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer" first aired in 1997. The show ended in 2003 with a huge cult following. The TV version of Buffy starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers who had the ability to become a vampire slayer.
Ten Thirteen Productions; 20th Century Fox Television
Mulder and Scully both worked as what?
"The X-Files" premiered in 1993 and ended in 2002, but it was picked up again in 2016, still starring the two original cast members: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. They both reprised their roles of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, still following unexplained paranormal cases.
Steven Bochco Productions; 20th Century Fox Television
John Kelly did what kind of work for New York City?
TV producer Steven Bochco was the one behind the successful police procedural show, "NYPD Blue." David Caruso played the police detective character of John Kelley in the show. Dennis Franz played Andrew Sipowicz, who was also a detective.
Warner Bros. Television
Among their friends, Joey Tribbiani was the only one who kind of had a consistent profession. What was it?
"Friends" featured a group of friends living in New York City, juggling life as adults and professionals. Among the friends, Joey Tribbiani was consistent in wanting to be an actor, and he indeed got some good roles and many bad ones as well.
Wind Dancer Productions
Tim Taylor might be "The Tool Man," but what does he do for a living?
"Home Improvement" is a TV sitcom that aired from 1991 to 1999, starring Tim Allen in the lead role. He portrayed The Tool Man, Tim Taylor, who hosted a home improvement TV show, even though his handyman skills were not quite that good.
Cine-Nevada Productions; Universal Television
Joel Fleischman had a hard time adjusting to his new job. What was it?
"Northern Exposure" is about a young New York-trained doctor who was assigned to be a physician in a small remote town in Alaska. The doctor's name is Joel Fleischman, and he was portrayed by Rob Morrow.
Shukovsky English Entertainment; Bend in the Road Productions; Warner Bros. Television
The titular character, Murphy Brown, worked as what?
Candace Bergen essayed the role of TV news magazine anchor "Murphy Brown" beginning in 1988. That run ended in 1998 but the show was picked up again in 2018, with most of the original cast intact and a few additions, such as Murphy's grown-up son.
NBC Universal Television
Lennie Briscoe served in the New York City Police Department in what capacity?
Jerry Orbach played Senior Detective Lennie Briscoe in the hit TV show, "Law and Order." Other notable actors in the series included George Dzundza, Chris Noth, Paul Sorvino and Michael Moriarty.
Bungalow 78 Productions; Universal Television; American Broadcasting Company
Toughie Hayden Fox had the right attitude for the job. What was that job?
Craig T. Nelson portrayed Coach Hayden Fox who oversaw a university football team in Minnesota. The show, "Coach," ran from 1989 to 1997. Jerry Van Dyke and Bill Fagerbakke also co-starred.
CBS; Sullivan Company
The pretty and talented Michaela Quinn worked as what?
The talented Jane Seymour held the titular role in "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" as a doctor who went out into the west to perform medical duties. The western drama began airing in 1993 and ended in 1998.
20th Century Fox Television; CBS
Father figure Jimmy Brock held what job outside of the home?
"Picket Fences" featured a small community full of people with quirky habits and interesting secrets, just like any old community out there. Created by David E. Kelley, the show starred Tom Skerritt as the town's sheriff who also ran a household alongside his wife, Dr. Jill, played by Kathy Baker.
GTG Entertainment; Pearson All-American Television
C.J. Parker was one of the tough beach beauties who worked as what?
David Hasselhoff got a resurgence in his career playing a lifeguard alongside Pamela Anderson who played C.J. Parker in "Baywatch." The highly popular show started airing in 1989 and ran until 1999, but it got an overhaul after that, which extended the show's life until 2001.
Bickley-Warren Productions; Lorimar Television
Outside of his home, Carl Winslow served Chicago as what?
"Family Matters" featured Reginald VelJohnson as police officer Carl Winslow. However, this show was technically stolen by Jaleel White, who played nerdy character Steve Urkel. The show featured him more when he became a hit.
20th Century Fox Television
Jeffrey Geiger had issues, but he set them aside to perform which important job?
"Chicago Hope" is yet another great TV show from writer-producer David E. Kelley. Set in Illinois, the show featured the lives of medical professionals working in a Chicago charity hospital led by surgeon Jeffrey Geiger, played by Mandy Patinkin.
Adventurous Sam Beckett worked as what?
"Quantum Leap" is a sci-fi TV series featuring Dr. Sam Beckett, a physicist who was able to travel through time within his own lifetime, and he does that by leaping into the life of another person, temporarily taking over their lives in the process. The show ran from 1989 to 1993.
Embassy Television; ELP Communications; Columbia Pictures Television
Dysfunctional dad Al Bundy actually had a paying job! What was it?
"Married... with Children" is perhaps one of the very first TV shows to show a fully dysfunctional family on display on primetime TV. The sitcom featured the lives of shoe salesman Ted Bundy and his family.
Carsey-Werner Company; YBYL Productions
As a human, he was a physics professor. But as his true alien self, what did Dick Solomon do?
The sitcom, "3rd Rock From The Sun," is about a group of aliens who settled on earth as humans and posed as a family to blend in. John Lithgow played High Commander Dick Solomon who tried to observe human behavior while he and his group pretended to be human.
Fran Fine accidentally landed a job doing what?
"The Nanny" is a sitcom about a loud Jewish woman from Queens who ended up selling cosmetics in Manhattan, only to be taken in by a rich family as their nanny. This very New York sitcom featured Fran Drescher in the role of Nanny Fran Fine, one of the most unforgettable characters in '90s TV fare.
Daydreamers Entertainment Inc.
In Boston, Bobby Donnell worked as what?
David E. Kelley liked to create legal dramas. "The Practice" was one of them. The show was about a group of lawyers working in a Boston firm led by lawyer Bobby Donnell. He was played by Dylan McDermott.
Babylonian Productions; Warner Bros. Television
John Sheridan held which job rank?
The futuristic sci-fi TV series, "Babylon 5," featured Captain John Sheridan in the lead, as portrayed by Bruce Boxleitner. His character replaced the former lead character of Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, portrayed by Michael O'Hare.
December 3rd Productions; Gangbuster Films Inc.
In this version of the saga, Lois Lane still worked as what?
"Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" is yet another TV show that exploited and explored the Superman story, only this time, it focused on Clark's professional life. And since reporter Lois Lane was also prominent in this part of his life, the show also focused on their romantic chemistry.
90210 Productions; Fair Dinkum Productions
Aside from being a teen student, David Silver moonlighted from time to time doing what?
"Beverly Hills, 90210" featured a group of teenagers who went to a prestigious Beverly Hills high school, but not all of them are affluent or well-off. David Silver was one of these teens, and he also did some work as the radio DJ of their school.
20th Century Fox Television
Doogie Howser was probably the youngest person to have performed this job. What was that job?
Two of American TV's brilliant show creators, Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley, teamed up to create one of the most unforgettable TV series during the 1990s, "Doogie Howser, M.D." It's about a young boy genius boy became a doctor at age 14. The character was played by Neil Patrick Harris, and pretty much launched the actor's career.
Castle Rock Entertainment
Sure, it's his show, but what did the fictional Jerry Seinfeld do for a living?
"Seinfeld" featured a fictionalized version of its lead, Jerry Seinfeld, who worked as a stand-up comedian in the show, much like what he did in real life. The show produced unforgettable characters played by Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Michael Richards.
Paramount Television; United Paramount Network
Kathryn Janeway took the reins doing what job in space?
"Star Trek: Voyager" featured Commanding Officer Kathryn Janeway, a female in command of the ship named the USS Voyager. She was portrayed by Kate Mulgrew. The show ran from 1995 to 2001.
20th Century Fox Television
Dharma was a free spirit while her husband Greg worked as what?
"Dharma & Greg" featured Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson in the titular roles. From her name alone, we know that Dharma is the free spirited one while Greg is the lawyer who tries to balance things out in their household.
DreamWorks; Lottery Hill Entertainment
Mike Flaherty served the people of New York City as their what?
Michael J. Fox starred in "Spin City" as the New York City Deputy Mayor when the show began in 1996. However, he had to bow out in 2000 due to being afflicted with Parkinson's disease. He was later replaced by Charlie Sheen until the show's cancellation.
Amadea Film Productions; CBS Broadcast International; CBS Entertainment Production
The cowboy-like Cordell Walker worked as what?
"Walker, Texas Ranger" highlights the life of a Texas Ranger Cordell Walker, a character portrayed by Chuck Norris. Norris showed his martial arts expertise in this '90s show, which ran from 1993 until 2001.
S.B.B. Productions; Universal Television
Major MacGillis had this job by day while trying to do the same at home.
"Major Dad" was a sitcom that revolved around the life of a military family. The show featured the dad, Major John MacGillis, as he ran things as a military camp commander while running his household full of his precocious daughters.
Grub Street Productions; Paramount Television
What was Frasier Crane's media-related job?
"Frasier" is a spin-off of the highly successful sitcom, "Cheers." It follows the life of Frasier Crane as he starts a new career as a radio psychiatrist. Kelsey Grammer reprised his role from "Cheers" on this show.
In Front Productions; Nuance Productions; TriStar Television
It's not always glamorous, but what did Paul Buchman do?
"Mad About You" featured actors Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt in this sitcom about a young married couple. Reiser played Paul Buchman who tried to make documentary films, while Hunt played Jamie Buchman who portrayed a PR specialist.
Gracie Films; 20th Century Fox Television
It's ironic that chaotic Homer Simpson would hold this kind of job. What is it?
Slacker dad Homer Simpson works in the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant as a safety inspector, but he gets fired all the time, then gets rehired. "The Simpsons" has been featuring his mishaps since 1989 and it's still on the air!
Impact Zone Productions
Nick Russo, Blossom's dad, had this musical career. What was it?
Before she got her doctorate degree in neuroscience in real life and her doctorate degree in neurobiology in "The Big Bang Theory," Mayim Bialik starred as the titular role in "Blossom" in the '90s. In that show, her single dad, Nick, is a piano player, portrayed by actor Ted Wass.
Belisarius Productions; Paramount Network Television Productions; NBC Productions
Lt. Harmon Rabb and Major Sarah MacKenzie were both judge advocates. In layperson's terms, what is that job called?
"JAG" is short for judge advocate general. Those tagged as JAG are military lawyers. Two of the prominent lawyer characters in this show are Lt. Harmon Rabb and Major Sarah Mackenzie, played by David James Elliott and Catherine Bell.
Castle Rock Television; Columbia Tristar Television Distribution
Jonathan Eliot has this dreamy job in NYC. What is it?
"The Single Guy" featured New York City aspiring writer Jonathan Eliot, as portrayed by Jonathan Silverman. Veteran actor Ernest Borgnine also co-starred in this sitcom, as well as Ming-Na Wen and Olivia d'Abo.
Ray Barone was really into sports. What was his profession?
From 1996 to 2005, TV audiences showed how "Everybody Loves Raymond" by making the sitcom a hit. Ray Romano portrayed the titular character, sportswriter Ray, who tried to balance his work and personal life.
Lynch/Frost Productions; Propaganda Films
Who killed Laura Palmer? Dale Cooper wants to know because he is a what?
Filmmaker David Lynch knew how to intrigue TV audiences with his show, and the cult fave, "Twin Peaks.". Kyle MacLachlan starred as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper out to solve the murder of small-town homecoming queen Laura Palmer, played by Sheryl Lee.
Grub Street Productions; Paramount Television
Joe Hackett not only ran an airline company, but he also performed this other job function. What was it?
Tim Daly and Steven Weber headlined the TV sitcom called "Wings," which involved two brothers running a small airline. The more responsible of the two brothers was Daly's character, Joe Hackett, who was also a pilot.
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About This Quiz
The 1990s was such a huge decade. It was the decade when the world transitioned out of the Cold War and Communism in general, since many of the Iron Curtain countries let those proverbial metallic drapes fall. The world was rapidly shifting toward the Digital Age. And, of course, many of these changes were reflected in global pop culture.
Movies and music had very distinct nuances and characteristics during the '90s, and sub-genres continued to evolve as filmmakers and musicians experimented and tested boundaries. The same can also be said of television. While it remained a predominantly profit-oriented medium, television also held its own during this decade.
We saw many kinds of TV shows depict many kinds of lives, both professional and personal. As a result, we were also introduced to many types of professions and industries, ones that weren't normally highlighted in pop culture.
Do you think you can name some of the jobs of these '90s TV characters? Open up the quiz to find out!
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