Some days, I miss the 90’s.
I miss the overalls, the pogs, the crazy food and drink stuffs, books on tape and Little Golden Books, pretty much everything on these two Buzzfeed lists… The list goes on. I miss watching Gargoyles, The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, ReBoot, Recess, the first few seasons of Pokémon (ditto about Digimon), Monster Rancher, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, The Big Comfy Couch, The Magic Schoolbus, Darkwing Duck, Carebears (I still have a Wish Bear plush that I will not give up for anything), Pound Puppies, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Billy Nye the Science Guy, X-Men, Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Looney Toons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pinky and the Brain, ZOOM, Wishbone, and so many more. (Seriously, don’t get me started on Disney movies…)
Thankfully, with the advent of YouTube, I don’t have to miss the music.
The first song I remember hearing on the radio was Sophie B. Hawkins’ “As I Lay Me Down to Sleep”—I’m about 3, and my uncle and aunt are driving me to their house, and I’m trying to sing along. Thus began my love affair with music I’d hear once and then never again for 13 or 14 years until YouTube and CLICK 98.9 came along. There was the Wallflowers’ “One Headlight”, Desree’s “You Gotta Be”, Fastball’s “The Way” and “Out of My Head”. There was White Town’s “Your Woman”, “I2I” and “Stand Out” from A Goofy Movie, “Big Bad Wolf” by LL Cool J, “Romeo and Juliet” by S.O.A.P., and “Over My Shoulder” by Mike and the Mechanics.
I loved the Goo Goo Dolls, Heart, Backstreet Boys AND ‘NSync (complete heresy, but I didn’t care), Destiny’s Child, B*Witched, Nickelback (I refuse to be ashamed), Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple, M2M, S Club 7, the music of pretty much every single damn Disney movie (this still holds true today, actually), Dave Matthews Band, Phil Collins, Van Morrison, CAKE, Savage Garden, Sheryl Crow, Enya… This list, too, could go on for quite a while.
Okay, yeah, I know some of those groups have definitely been around much longer than I have, but they were artists I heard often in the 90’s. I’m one of the youngest in my family, so I had little control over the radio for the longest time.
This is not all to say that I wish I could permanently live in the 90s. Computers half the size of my desk (and with much smaller screens for the area they took up) and cellphones the size of bricks weren’t exactly convenient. I was just born into an interesting world, on the cusp of two centuries, and while I just barely remember a lot of the things that used to be really different (and I probably remember only the good parts), it’s interesting to see how people not terribly older than me have trouble adapting, and kids who were just born in the last decade picking up things I totally would have known how to use and not even knowing their purpose.
It’s also not to say that I don’t like some of the music today, but the stuff played in my formative years will always hold a special spot in my heart, and even now, I tend to gravitate to songs that have a feel to them much like the songs I know from the 60’s to the 90’s. As for TV… I’m of the opinion that kids’ programming is less and less unique than it used to be, and far more inane. I mean, I’m all for PBS (Our cable was spotty growing up, so this was really my bread and butter), but I just can’t understand SpongeBob (and it scares me that Microsoft word recognizes that as a legit word) and Adventure Time. I guess what I miss most about the 90’s is that we weren’t delicate snowflakes. Kids’ programming actually tackled some pretty tough issues, and the bad guy sometimes won. There was a lot of political incorrectness (which wasn’t always great, I’ll grant) and sneaking crap past the radar. (Animaniacs and “fingerprints”, anyone?)
When it comes down to it, nostalgia is a powerful thing. A lot of us will think back to our formative years and say that those were the good old days, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. It’s like how memories of a place we could call home and people we could call family make us feel safe and secure. Our upbringing is ingrained into us, but, at the same time, we do have to move with the changing tides.
I still hope that when I have kids, there are parts of my childhood I can share with them. Mostly the TV shows, though—not gonna lie. I feel like I actually did learn a lot from what I watched, and I had fun doing it, too. As my brother will forever quote me as saying, “Animaniacs taught me how not to be a douche” by example. As much as we should model good behavior for our kids, they should know what bad behavior looks like, too, lest they parrot everything they see because they’ve only ever had reinforcement to parrot.
And it doesn’t hurt that they’re all hilarious.