1. The WB
Before there was the CW, we had The WB — a channel that produced much of the teen programming in the late ’90s. Without its existence, the world wouldn’t have been introduced to psychos like Felicity Porter and Dawson Leery, which would’ve been a very sad, no good, terrible thing. What was great about those characters was that they had no qualms about being freaks. Having rewatched both Dawson’s Creek and Felicity in recent months, I can actually say that the protagonists were 100% insane. I’m surprised they even made it on TV, let alone had entire shows built around their cray cray personalities. Need I remind you that Felicity stalked a boy she liked by following him across the country? And Dawson used words like “unequivocal” and “romance” while claiming to be straight?! Sure, they were both self-aware, but I don’t think they understood completely that they were delusional losers. Nowadays, teenagers on TV are savvy and sexy with well-porportioned foreheads. They might be labeled outcasts but even that’s become cool. Sigh. I guess I just miss the teens of the ’90s. All that frizzy hair, dorky clothes, and obsessive stalkerish tendencies. I also miss Amanda Peet, Simon Rex, and that weird show Zoe, Duncan, Jack, and Jane, which was later retitled Zoe… for some reason.
The other day I was watching The TRL Decade on VH1 and I wondered where the hell pop music went. Sure, we still have singers like Adele, Lady Gaga and Rihanna, but what happened to the ultimate cheez-whiz acts like Eden’s Crush and Backstreet Boys? Pop music was so saccharine in the ’90s! Then I realized that kind of music still exists. It just moved to The Disney Channel. The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez are making that sickly sweet juvenile pop on a venue that’s specifically targeted to their tween audience . And what a shame, I say! I miss having a space like TRL that put pop music in a blender and spit it out to a diverse audience. Watching it every day after school felt like interacting on a message board, except you didn’t have to do anything besides stare at Carson Daly. The internet is a poor substitute for what the show used to provide, which was endless hours of entertainment from watching the pop music fans co-habitate with the goths.
3. Raves were cool
Growing up, I always wanted to go to a rave and do Ecstasy. Even when I watched True Life: I’m An E-tard and saw an MRI of that girl who had holes in her brain, I was still like “K, gimme.” Raves were just SO COOL in the ’90s and I wanted nothing more than to wear glowsticks and feel someone’s aura. By the time I became old enough to actually do it, however, Ecstasy was no longer in vogue and ravers had become embarrassing. Incidentally, I tried E for the first time a few weeks ago at THE AGE OF 25 and mostly just felt mortified for myself. I went to a gay bar, danced to Whitney Houston and subsequently felt brain dead for the next 48 hours. I’m almost positive I would’ve had a better experience if it had been 1997.
4. The internet wasn’t The Internet
We had the best of both worlds in the ’90’s, didn’t we? We could type our research papers on a computer and search for useful information while shooting out an email or two without being totally held by the balls. Back then it was acceptable to sign offline and have a real life. No one was going to yell at you about an unanswered email, or ask you to follow them on Twitter, or ask for your thoughts on EVERY SINGLE THING that happens to you throughout the day. That wasn’t the purpose of the Internet. In the ’90s, you went online to talk with strangers in a chat room and spend 7 hours downloading music and/or porn. In retrospect, doesn’t that just sound so much better?
5. You were young! “Were” being the operative word…
If you could relate to and remember all of the aforementioned things, that means you are no longer the youngest person at the bar. It means you can have sex with someone who was born in the ’90s and not go to jail for it. Well, not jail jail. You could still shame spiral about sleeping with someone so young and create your own emotional prison. My favorite!