Teenybopper alert! If you were like me you had no shortage of posters of every teen heart throb pinned to your wall, pining over them until the day came when you could finally be together. Magazines like Teen Bop and Tiger Beat appealed to our needs, interviewing our young hunks and making them take pictures with kittens while dreamily looking into our eyes. Is that a full page poster of Devon Sawa? Score!
These idols came into our lives at the ages of 11-14, when we were just coming into ourselves. Puberty made us all awkward, at a time where maybe boys didn’t talk to us, but we had our own array of dreamboats to choose from. Although there were many, I think all of us had our one that we would choose over any other. I’ve often wondered what it would have been like if these boys were the ones we grew up with off screen instead of just on. I have comprised a list of some of our favorite idols and what it would have been like if they went to our school.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Affectionately known as JTT, this teen heartthrob came into our life as Randy Taylor in Home Improvement. He then went on to star in movies such as Tom and Huck and Man of the House, going toe to toe with some of the funniest men on the planet. Also, he was Simba! If you were like me and JTT was your go to teen of the 90’s (I cried the first time Randy kissed a girl on that god forsaken sitcom), it probably meant you liked the safe bet. Although playing rambunctious roles, JTT in real life was sweet, smart, had that amazing raspy voice, he was a great all around catch.
You wouldn’t be afraid to bring him home to your parents, as he’d probably woo your mom with his intellect and playful young boy flirtation. “Oh Mrs. (enter your last name here), this meatloaf is delicious, it’s better than my mom’s!” You guys would study, go on picnics, you made plans to be high-school sweethearts, go off to the same college, and plan to be together forever. That is, until you both hit puberty and you realized that you skyrocketed to a solid 5’8” and our little darling didn’t move an inch past 5’4”. Shallow but true, because we all know we couldn’t be the Amazonian dating the short kid. I mean just ask Jesse Spano how that worked out for her.
With one line Devon Sawa, melted tween girl’s hearts, and in my opinion defined what we are all still looking for in men: “Can I keep you?” He was a ghost but we all lunged at our TV screens yelling, “YES YES PLEASE SAY YES, IF SHE SAYS NO YOU CAN KEEP ME IF YOU WANT!” It was probably the most re-watched scene of our tween years, besides the one in Now and Then where if you paused the movie at just the right time you could see his balls. Devon Sawa was quiet and pretty, just like you were. We loved him because we could relate to him.
If you liked Devon Sawa then you liked the guy that treated you as an equal. He would have never made fun of you for liking girly things, even though you were probably more of a tomboy anyway. He would give you his coat if you were cold, and bring you soup and your missed assignments if you were sick. You not were not only crushing on each other, you were best friends too. The only problem with this relationship was that you were both too shy and awkward to make a move. Alas, you would both be stuck in the friend zone, and secretly judging anyone the other dated. You might have shared a nervous first kiss but never talked about it again.
He was there for your first heartbreak, and you were there to shoot dirty looks at the girl who cheated on him. For you, he was the one that got away, and for him he always resented himself for not telling you how he felt.
Well, well, well. You have a little bad boy streak in you! Brad Renfro took on very serious roles in films such as The Client and Sleepers. He was deep, brooding, and mysterious. He was even the Huck Finn to our wholesome JTT’s Tom Sawyer in Tom and Huck. You stuck by Brad because he offered some excitement into your life, not being able to drive yet he probably just skipped class to smoke cigarettes behind the bleachers.
There was also the simple fact that he actually noticed and talked to you, think Angela Chase and Jordan Catalano. He liked you because you provided stability in his reckless life even though he didn’t know how to correctly show it, and you just wanted to fix him. He probably taught you more about yourself than anyone else on the list. Sadly though, you can never tame the wild ones.
Underdog alert! I fell in love with Sam Huntington after I realized it wasn’t going to work out with JTT. He was just so cute as the real-life jungle boy in Jungle 2 Jungle. He was everything, he had long hair which no kid in my school had, he was tan, he was cultural, and not to mention he spent half of the movie without a shirt on, and as a thirteen year old girl this was major.
He always had that slight look of concern on his face, because he was concerned about your feelings girl. He was the underdog because he wasn’t plastered everywhere or in a lot of movies, and he maybe went unnoticed by you. (Unless, you were equally as nerdy and you guys probably met when you each secretly signed up for the Science Club.) That is until puberty hit and two years later Sam jumped back into our hearts as the lovable, nervous, awkward, HOT Jam in Detroit Rock City.
He had the biggest heart of the quartet, with a crazy God loving mom. He was so cool, he was a drummer, and he had tickets to the KISS concert. Still a little nerdy and discovering himself, Sam Huntington would’ve let you sit in his basement decorated with Christmas lights, while he played the drum solo he wrote specifically for you. He was hardly athletic, but that’s okay because you didn’t want to pretend to like sports anyway, video games were how you two bonded.
Sam was cool because he chose you, instead of the cheerleader who didn’t give him the time of day in Junior High. You guys were both the school geeks who blossomed into beautiful beings, but were still so down to earth. He helped you discover new music and perhaps a new style, but still would watch Star Trek: The Next Generation with you, because he loved it just as much. Underneath that jean jacket, he was still very much that lanky kid that mall walked around the hallways of school with a pile of books in his hands that was taller than him, but you were too.
Sam Huntington is my longest running tween idol (hello, Josh in Being Human), and living proof you should always be nice to the nerds.
Erik von Detten
Soul Skaters forever! I’m not really sure why Brink! never comes in as number one on the best Disney Channel Movies lists, but it is by far one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces ever put out. Erik von Detten was so cute. If you liked him you went strictly for looks. The token surfer boy, von Detten always looked slightly greasy, and probably smelled permanently of salt-water and the bottom of a hockey bag. In school he was the kid that showed up to class but wasn’t present.
You guys met at the skate park one day, because you were trying something new. The relationship wouldn’t have lasted long, because you would get sick of him calling you “dude” and “bro” all the time. He wasn’t deep, but it’s okay because he was pretty and being with him allowed you to perfect your make-out skills.
Leonardo came into our lives as Luke in Growing Pains and never left. He gave all girls their first tingly feelings when he was cast as Romeo in Romeo + Juliet. This is probably why he holds a special place in our hearts. If you liked Leo, you liked the challenge or the unattainable. He was like that Senior that we could never muster up the courage to talk to because we were just freshmen.
Every time he walked down the hallway the crowd of students parted and he walked in slow motion, occasionally flipping his hair, maybe making eye contact with you. If you were so lucky and he did talk to you, you definitely messed it up, and told the story of how you dropped your retainer in the toilet and forgot to wash it off before you put it back in your mouth. DOH! Leo went on to marry the most popular girl in school, while you married the President of the A/V Club, but that’s okay because being a trophy wife wasn’t for you anyway.