What Your 90s Pop Culture Obsession Really Means
This was the best worst movie ever made. We all knew what was going to happen at the end, and yet we sat there for three hours anyway. Of course, those were the good ol’ days when three hour movies got an intermission halfway through. If you’re still obsessed with Titanic, if you still watch it from beginning to end every single time it comes on TV (or watch it on DVD on a regular basis), you probably feel like your life is lacking romance and adventure. You were sure there was a “perfect” guy out there for you, if only you could find him. And the whole Jack/Rose debacle was “beautiful” despite how incredibly tragic it was.
Roseanne was the quintessential 90s working class sitcom. It was one of the first shows that portrayed a typical mid-western family in something that resembled a realistic manner. Roseanne was cynical, hilarious, self-deprecating (but in a good way), and just downright awesome. There were so many strong female characters on that show, and it was just what women in the early 90s were looking for. The last couple seasons got weird, but then they pulled it all together with the finale.
If you’re still obsessed with Roseanne at this point, you’re probably just as cynical as she was. You might have based your style as a teenager on Darlene’s combat boots and ripped jeans, and it’s likely both of those items still exist in your closet. See also: Grunge Music.
Beavis and Butthead
Beavis and Butthead was the cartoon of choice of an entire generation of teenagers in the ‘90s. If you’re still obsessed with it, it’s likely you haven’t grown up much since it first aired. On the up side, MTV has recently decided to bring back the show.
Daria, the Beavis and Butthead spin-off, was like a cartoon version of My So Called Life. Daria was the symbol of a generation of awkward teen girls who just didn’t get what the fuss was all about. Unlike Beavis and Butthead fans, if you’re still obsessing over Daria more than a decade later, it’s probably due to some hipster nostalgia rather than an inability to move past puberty.
My So Called Life
What girl didn’t have a crush on Jordan Catalano? What girl didn’t secretly want to be Rayanne Graff (or Angela Chase)? And what poor, awkward gay kid didn’t envy the openness—not to mention the fantastic eyeliner—of Rickie? My So Called Life embodied the teen experience, the awkwardness and the ridiculousness of it all. It was more real than any reality show of the past decade, and if you’re still watching reruns on Hulu Plus, it’s likely because you miss shows with that kind of subtlety and class. And maybe because you’ve still got a handful of baby doll dresses and over-sized flannel shirts hiding in the back of your closet.
Grunge was the sound of a generation. Nirvana and Pearl Jam were the first big mainstream grunge bands, released on Seattle’s Sub Pop indie record label in the early 90s. They were influenced by heavy metal, hardcore punk, and indie rock, and went on to influence an entire new generation of musicians. The death of Kurt Cobain in 1994 shook grunge culture to the core, the reverberations of which were felt through the rest of the decade.
Grunge music still influences the music of today, and therefore you’re not that strange if you still listen to it. Listening to mainstream grunge (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, etc.) is fairly normal among those who were adolescents in the 90s. If you listen to less well-known grunge bands like Mudhoney, Melvins, The U-Men, or Babes in Toyland, you’ll likely have some extra pastiche with other grunge fans (though no one else will have any idea who you’re talking about).
The Original Beverly Hills, 90210
Beverly Hills, 90210 ran through the entire decade of the 90s, from October 1990 though May 2000. In addition to the rampant idealism of the show, they also portrayed a number of poignant societal issues with about as much realism as did any hour-long show in the 90s, including teen pregnancy, AIDS, date rape, gay rights, and alcoholism, among others.
But what really sucked in the viewers was the relationships. The guys were hot. The girls were hot. And the parents were mostly absent. It was every teenagers dream.
The recessions of the 2000s pretty much put an end to the kind of optimism portrayed in Beverly Hills, 90210, though they’ve recently rehashed the series. If you still watch the original without a trace of irony, then there’s a good chance you secretly wish your own teenage years more closely resembled the show, and that your adult years weren’t so saddled with soccer games and mini vans.
Who doesn’t remember The Rachel? Those long layers were all the rage in the mid-90s, when Friends was popular (for those oblivious to what The Rachel is, it was the haircut of Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel, in the first season of the show). Women and girls everywhere had this haircut, and for awhile, it was fashionable.
If you still have The Rachel, though, you probably need to stop living in the mid-90s. You were fashionable at one point, but you’re not anymore, and you need to stop deluding yourself.
Pogs was a game popularized in the 90s, though it was played as early as the 1920s or 1930s in Hawaii. The name comes from POG brand drinks. Originally, the game was played with bottle caps from the drinks, though it was later commercialized.
The game peaked in popularity in the mid-90s, and then quickly faded out. No one plays Pogs anymore.
Dr. Martens were synonymous with grunge and punk in the 90s. There was a certain prestige that came along with wearing Docs. The main thing was that until you broke them in, they were incredibly uncomfortable, to the point of being painful. Just the fact that you’d suffered through that process lent them credibility.
Dr. Martens are still popular among some groups, though they’ve lost some of their prestige. If you’re still wearing them, you likely either still have the same pair you had in the 90s (that long break-in period is offset by the fact that they’ll last 10+ years even with daily wear), or are a bit of a masochist.
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