The 90’s was a weird time for everyone. Every era was so distinctly defined up to that point. The 50’s was Leave It To Beaver, the 60’s was all about free love and multiple sexual partners, the 70’s had disco inferno, and the 80’s…well, it was the 80’s. Then we get to the 90’s. Strung out and disoriented from the preceding decades, we found ourselves floating through a confusing abyss of 13 year old rappers who wore their clothes backwards battling for radio airtime against a flannel clad Kurt Cobain. It was an interesting time to grow up and come into your own, and here’s why:
1. TV. I’ll give it to 90’s programming, we had that shit going on. As far as things I probably shouldn’t have been watching as a 11 year old, there was 90210 and My So-Called Life. To this day I will still randomly start the chant: “DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES,” it can really spice up an otherwise boring business meeting. And despite how horribly gay I am, I will always make an exception for Jordan Catalano. In the realm of more appropriate childhood television, my weekend rotated around both TGIF, and Snick. We’re talking Full House, Family Matters, Step-by-Step, and Boy Meets World. I just want to throw this out there as a general grievance; in the real world Topanga would never date that will brillo headed freak Corey – no matter how nice he was. Also, Mr. Feeny had a very child molester quality to his “look.” Oh, and SNICK! Clarissa Explains It All, Are You Afraid of the Dark, The Secret World of Alex Mack, and All That. The list of quality programming could go on and on but I want to end on a high note: SBTB. Who will ever forget when Jessi Spano OD’ed on caffeine pills? Or when Kelly Kapow totally douched over Zach Morris outside of their sweethearts dance when they were dressed as Romeo and Juliet? Or the best band ever: Zack Attack?
2. Music. 90’s music can best be summated by the fake 90’s R & B group created by Jimmy Fallon & Gwyneth Paltrow, Shazzazz. (Only click that link if you want to be highly entertained) There was a lot going on in the 90’s: Salt N Peppa, Kriss-Kross, Nirvana, Paula Abdul (pre-crazy), NKOTB, Ace of Base, TLC, Whitney Houston (also pre-crazy), Technotronic, La Bouche, C & C Music Factory, Coolio, Naughty by Nature, Jock Jams, En Vogue, and the Spice Girls. You know, just to name a few.
3. Toys. Before kids had all sorts of high-tech gadgets to occupy them, we were old school simpletons. We played with pogs. Pogs were essentially pieces of cardboard. With pictures on them. Yet they were all the craze (especially if you had some bitchin’ slammers in addition) in the 90’s. Our high-tech gadgets were not portable playstations or a nintendo DS – they were Tamagatchis, Furby’s, and Secret Senders. Secret Senders were about as high tech as it got – with infrared technology you could send messages to someone else who also had one…providing you were about two feet away from each other. You could also use it to control almost any television, which was always a great gag when someone was trying to watch their favorite program and you could repeatedly turn the television on and off and make them think it was broken. On the other hand, Furby’s were the worst invention ever. I found mine whilst cleaning out my childhood belongings some years ago and upon turning it on and remembering how annoying it was, proceeded to throw it out my second story window. It didn’t die. I like to imagine it’s now sitting in a landfill going “Doo Doo Doo.” And tamagotchis, who could forget the second best thing to come out of Japan since sushi. My personal favorite is when I would forget about it for a few days and come back to a screen full of it’s little hershey kiss-esque poops, with wavy stink lines. Mine always turned into a damn duck.
4. Fashion. For some reason when I think of 90’s fashion, the first thing that comes to mind is the character of Lisa Turtle from Saved By The Bell. She had it going on. My sister once dressed as her for Halloween (in High School), but no one knew who she was. Although her name, Anitra, could be perceived as ethnically diverse, in actuality we are both very very white. The second thing that comes to mind is a video from 1993 where I do a “fashion show” in which I am wearing parachute pants and then a hot pink track suit, showing them off by doing backbends and coffee grinders, all of which was regrettably captured by my family’s huge ass Panasonic camcorder. The 90’s was neon. There were crop-tops, blossom hats, high-waisted shorts, hammerpants, denim jackets, slouch socks, snap bracelets, babydoll tees, and a whole lot of spandex. Wow, as I was making this list I just realized that about 78% of it has come back in style in the last several years, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
I wish I could claim myself a “baby of the 80’s” but in reality, I was only five by the time it ended and a five year old isn’t exactly immersed in the culture of the decade. Instead of blowing coke and going to Queen concerts, I was sent to kindergarten. Instead I have to admit what I was: I was a child of the 90’s, and I am very much okay with that. On that note, I am going to put on my floppy brimmed hat with fake flower pinned to the brim and be on my way.