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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflecting on the 90s

You may have already seen this short piece circulating on Facebook, but it had me laughing so hard because of the truth behind it and the fact that I can completely relate that I had to share. The link to the original post is at the bottom, my notes about each bullet are in purple italics :)

While most things we experienced as tots in that headiest of eras seems pretty self-explanatory (plaid was everywhere, Leonardo DiCaprio was the molten ball of light around which the solar system turned, and there was no color too bright for your sweatpants) there are some things that will be a bit harder to explain. Here, a primer for when your future children want to know what the hell you were doing with your boxy, multicolored electronics. - First I liked JTT (Jonathan Taylor Thomas in case you weren't living on planet Earth), then Devon Sawa and then Leo - no last name needed after 1997 and Titanic.

NOV. 23, 2011 

1. Topanga was at some point in human history considered not only a legitimate first name for a human being, but the kind of name that would inspire in malleable teenage boys a life-long infatuation. Topanga, in our day, was leading lady name-material. Topanga (pronounced Tah-payne-ga, for those who will have only ever seen in it written down) is the name of the quintessential girl-next-door who will live, along with Feeney, in our hearts forever. - Boy Meets World was an awesome TV show and part of the ABC Family lineup. Danielle Fishel (aka Topanga) really hasn't done anything noteworthy since, except I think she has a little gig on Comedy Central on a Talk Soup-like program. Like I said, not noteworthy.

2. At some point, we carried around little plastic eggs with tiny screens on them — in these screens lived our hearts, our pets, our raison d’etre, our very own Tamagotchi. We loved them, we listened to their tiny electronic screams of malnourishment, and we occasionally forgot to pick up their poop for long enough that they died a tortured, poop-filled death. They were perhaps our first foray into the life-consuming world of electronics and self-absorption, later to be fully manifested by Facebook. - I had a few Tomagotchis, plus the cheaper versions. Like beepers and cell phones were banned in schools, so were Tomagotchis. Apparently the beeping was enough of a distraction. My trick was resetting it from the tiny button in the back whenever I was a bad owner.

3. The black Power Ranger was black and the yellow Power Ranger was Asian because…we were so completely ahead of our time and beyond the capacity to even think in terms of something as inconsequential as race that… uh… I don’t know. Casting directors were racist in the nineties. - Oh an the pink Power Ranger was a girl, Kimberly in the original. And I think the red ranger was Jason. Hey, I have a younger brother.

4. Long before he was spending his days foisting his mediocre children on us, Will Smith was actually the perfect human specimen. He also undoubtedly holds some world record for saving the world the most times while simultaneously delivering flawless catchphrases and giving cool guy nods to the camera. The Men In Black rap song, at the time, was created and received by the public without the slightest trace of irony. Really. He was that good. - Men in Black was the first movie I saw in theaters with a boy in the sixth grade. In 7th or 8th grade he came out with his CD that had the song Miami on it and my friend and I listened to it all summer. Oh boy...

5. In some inevitable shift of the time-space continuum in which James Cameron continues to rob humanity of all that is good and sacred in this world, Fern Gully will be known as that movie that ripped off Avatar. It will be up to us to crusade for what is right. It is up to us to explain that Fern Gully was not only a predecessor to Avatar, but far better, in that it contained both Tim Curry as a singing pile of molasses and Robin Williams rapping about animal testing in the pharmaceutical industry. (As a side note, if you have not recently listened to the full lyrics of the “Batty Rap,” I recommend you do, as they are horrifying.) - I never saw either of these movies. All I think of when I hear James Cameron is Titanic!

6. A neighborhood boy who completely disregards your family and puts a ladder directly under the teenage girl’s window to climb up at his discretion is not only acceptable, it’s charming. It’s the kind of stuff that would make said family take the ladder boy under their wing and into their heart. The nineties were a simpler time, one where we didn’t have to worry about things like breaking and entering. Clarissa today would have steel bars on the inside of her window and her father would continually remind her that the next-door boy with his ladder and his touchy hands have no place in his household. - Oh Nickelodeon, how I miss thee. One of my favorite parts of Clarissa Explains it All was the intro credits where she would paint her name and it would be a little different each time.

7. Though on the surface, they are the exact same thing in every conceivable way, whether you liked The Backstreet Boys or N*SYNC said more about your character than all of the terrible macaroni art you could ever make for your child psychologist. Essentially, liking *NSYNC meant you liked Justin Timberlake, as he was clearly the Seabiscuit in that race from the get-go. You even liked him with his terrible, icy-blond mini-fro. Liking the Backstreet Boys gave you a bit more of a cultured palate, as there was no clear Diana in those Supremes. Nick was kind of the wholesome, if northern-Florida-redneck safe choice (save for his humiliating younger brother, Aaron). Brian was the shy, sensitive type. AJ was the hottt, dangerous meth addict. Kevin Richardson was mute with sexy, sculpted facial hair. No one liked Howie. Choosing between the two groups was like choosing between two beloved children, but once that line was crossed–there was no going back. - I was an N'Sync girl through and through. In the 90s I also liked New Kids on the Block (Jordan Knight was my favorite) but it evolved into N'Sync. I know a few of the dances from the music videos…oh wait, we probably have to explain music videos too since TRL doesn't exist anymore since MTV only runs reality shows.

8. “I wanna really really really wanna zig a zig ahh,” has a meaning, and all true nineties kids know it, but we must never share it. Like the Illuminati, it must remain between us, the keyholders. With great power comes great responsibility. - I went to a Spice Girls concert and somehow my mother let me "dress" like Emma aka Baby Spice. Enough said.

9. Lisa Frank is not the name of a woman, it is the name of a movement, a culture, a way of living. It is a theory, a concept, a belief in something greater than yourself. It is the belief that all girls are entitled to dolphins covered with rainbows, jewel-encrusted frogs, and unicorns in acid-trip colors hugging each other. It is the ideology that no notebook is complete until it literally hurts your eyes to look at from so much color saturation. It is the hope that no school supply, no matter how insignificant, will be left un-bedazzled. It is the knowledge that your eraser cap, and that of your granddaughter’s, and her granddaughter’s after her, will not be some boring little nub–it will be a diamond covered with butterflies in a rainbow of colors. It is the dream of a better tomorrow. - My Lisa Frank binder with a horse on it and folders with lipstick rocked.

10. Incredibly depressing women in Indiana covered in cats and glass figurines they buy at The Hallmark Store used to troll the web 1.0 to invest thousands of dollars in tiny stuffed animals filled with plastic beans. That happened. Beanie Babies were not just significant, they were the first example most of us had of envy, greed, and wrath. If someone messed up that little heart-shaped Ty tag, so help you God, that was the end of whatever contact you had with that monster of a human being. That tag-less Beanie Baby was now trash, and you had to deal with the consequence. It was at that moment, that de-valued Beanie Baby moment, that most of us accepted the truth… we’ll never have nice things. - If you don't have the tag intact, don't even bother! We used to get the new beanie babies at a place in town, a florist actually, The Growth Company. It was like a race to get there every few days to see the new shipment and they put a limit on the number each customer could purchase. I know my mom still has them since she keeps everything. I would be happy to put them on eBay or Craigslist and get rid of them!


Taylor Wise said...

Girl, they made heart shaped cases that you could put around the tags to preserve them so they didn't bend! ;) Total life saver. I'm pretty sure my beanie babies are now worth .50 instead of .25 since the tags are encased. haha

Shannon said...

I have the tag protectors!!!

Holly said...

This made me laugh so hard! Lisa Frank, NSYNC, JTT...OH my goodness! My life revolved around NSYNC! SO funny!!