Acid-washed jeans, overalls, combat boots with girly floral dresses and oversized men’s dress shirts tied to expose bare midriffs. Did I just describe Clarissa Darling’s wardrobe? Yep. But aside from that, there could really be only one thing I’m talking about. I’ll give you one guess. Got it? It’s the ‘90s, my friend.
What is there to say about a decade defined by horrendous fashion choices, irony before anyone even knew what irony was and a never-ending supply of brilliant television lineups across all networks? In retrospect, the ‘90s were a magical fairyland where it was OK to tie your flannel shirt around your waist, when Topanga Lawrence was everybody’s dream woman and your one and only goal in life was to one day stand on screen with that glow stick and draw the Disney Channel logo like Kirsten Storms (or any other favorite Disney Channel original movie star) did circa “Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.”
I’m not sure where the magic of the ‘90s stemmed from, but I do know I can partly attribute the feeling I get whenever I hear the “Sister, Sister” theme song to my older brother and his supreme love for the ‘90s. No one loves anything on this planet as much as my brother loves the decade. It’s an obsession. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a constant state of mind that he will be forever stuck in, along with “The Mighty Ducks” and Emilio Estevez’s acting career.
It’s just this: Life was simpler, easier and less dramatic back then. No decade will ever compare to the glory of the 1990s. And here are a few reasons why:
Boy Meets World
Has a better show ever existed than “Boy Meets World”? Has there ever been a fictional television family you ever wanted to be a part of more than the Matthews family?
Has any girl, ever, lusted after luscious locks as beautiful as Topanga’s? The answer to all of those questions is a resounding “no.” America watched Ben Savage grow up. We watched Cory Matthews navigate through childhood, adolescence and early adulthood with an adorable disposition and an even more adorable brillo head.
We learned life lessons, love lessons and lessons about maintaining a perfect friendship with your best friend, Shawn Hunter. We laughed, we cried and we felt real feelings watching this show. Now when “Boy Meets World” airs from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on ABC Family every morning, rewatching episodes brings us back to that blissful time. But sooner or later, we have to come back to reality and realize no show will ever compare and Mr. Feeny will never be available to solve our problems.
The Spice Girls
In a world where stereotyping had become discouraged, five Brits came into our lives using one-word classifications to shape a movement and a generation.
There was Baby Spice (who was just perfectly adorable), Sporty Spice (who actually had talent in real-life ventures aside from wearing platform tennis shoes and sports bras on the regular), Ginger Spice (who was a saucy little minx) and Posh Spice (who was the most fashionable of all and made the right decision to never set foot in a platform shoe.
Pun fully intended). But what about Mel B? What did she ever do to earn the title “Scary”? Irrelevant, though definitely worth pondering one night after we’ve all had a few cocktails. We need only remember what those five beautiful ladies taught us: the immense power of Brit pop, the ability to carry out a full singing career solely based on tight Union Jack mini dresses, low-budget feature films and, above all else, girl power.
Tell me, as a girl growing up in the ‘90s (or any decade for that matter), you didn’t just die about Cher Horowitz’s computer program that chose her outfits. Tell me you didn’t find Jeremy Sisto incredibly sexy as Elton. Tell me you’re not totally weirded out by the fact that Paul Rudd looks exactly the same now as he did almost 20 years ago.
Tell me this movie isn’t one of the greatest of all time. What was the point of going to high school if you weren’t best friends with Cher and Dionne? When I had to change schools when I was 8, I was absolutely stunned to find a makeover set to Superchick’s “Supermodel” wasn’t required.
“Clueless” gave me unrealistic expectations of high school, unrealistic expectations of what my wardrobe should be and unrealistic expectations of what happens when I try to argue my way to better grades.
However, it also showed me being shallow and close-minded about my own love life could help me become the perfect matchmaker, money could buy me happiness and it was OK to make out with my stepbrother. And above all else, it showed me how incredibly perfect a movie could be.
Now that was just the tip of the iceberg. Honorable mentions for the best of the 1990s are: Justin Timberlake’s Top Ramen hair, Jack and Rose’s “I’m the king of the world!” scene, Saturday-morning cartoons, TGIF on ABC, “The Big Lebowski,” Disney Channel original movies, Game Boys and O.J. Simpson’s Bronco chase.
While I haven’t completely lost hope in future generations’ abilities to recreate a perfect decade, I am confident nothing will ever compare to the perfection of the 1990s. Better than the ‘90s? As if.
—Hayley Rafner is a media studies junior.