Long before she was one of the hosts of Jeopardy! — but not before she played young Bette Midler in Beaches — Mayim Bialik was a sitcom star. Blossom was her show, and it might be again: There’s a reboot in the works, and if it comes to fruition it won’t be a comedy (with plenty of Very Special Episodes). The show made Bialik a household name — which means it inevitably got parodied in a 1994 sketch on SNL. But Bialik felt that one major detail of it crossed a line.
“The actress portraying me was dancing and mugging for the camera and she was hilarious,” Bialik wrote in a Variety op-ed, referring to Melanie Hutsell. “But. She wore a prosthetic nose. In order to truly convey that she was ‘Blossom,’ she wore a fake, big nose.”
“I don’t know if it was significantly larger than my real nose and I don’t care to remember. I remember that it struck me as odd. And it confused me. No one else on the show was parodied for their features. In MAD magazine, everyone is caricatured, but in this rendition of parody, it was just me that was singled out. More specifically, it was my nose.”
Bialik never publicly addressed the sketch, until now, not wanting to draw attention to it. “I hoped no one noticed,” she wrote. “All of my friends at high school watched SNL. It wasn’t subtle. They would all see it and I felt ashamed.”
One reason Bialik is bringing it up now is due to the uproar over Bradley Cooper’s fake nose in Maestro, in which he plays legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. After seeing pictures of the actor in the film, she wrote, “I started scrutinizing the photos of Bradley and Leonard and wondering if it was necessary. I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know if it matters how I feel. I assume it matters how his family feels. But maybe it doesn’t?”
Bialik writes that girls “all over the world used to tell me that they had never seen a Jewish girl like me on TV before they saw me on Blossom.” She added, “Many said they knew I was Jewish and it made them proud to be. That was so touching to me, and it still is… I wonder how those girls felt when they saw an actress playing me with a comically prosthetic nose. I wonder if that’s different from Bradley Cooper playing a famous person. Does it matter?”
She concluded, “My nose is undeniably Jewish, and I am as well. Is it because of my nose? Perhaps. But I don’t have to know because we will always be one and the same.”
Speaking of early ’90s SNL, back in August it was revealed that Hillary Clinton was none-too-pleased with a sketch that sent up then-12-year-old Chelsea.
You can watch SNL’s old Blossom sketch — which also features Mike Myers’ doing a dead-on Joey Lawrence, Sara Gilbert as Blossom’s pal Six, and Kevin Nealon as her supportive dad, played on the show by Ted Wass — in the video below.