What if the 90s Weren’t All That?
Children of the 90s love their nostalgia and their social media. So the block of 90s programming Nickelodeon is bringing back from the grave tonight at midnight after hoards of generation Yers decried the lack of Doug on the air should make me, someone who once believed Clarissa did Know it All, simply happy. Yet I’m not quite ready to run out to buy Gushers and Dunk-a-Roos for the late night time machine.
If you go back to your old elementary school, or tree house, or really tall piano teacher as an adult, you’ll notice they’re not quite as big as you rembered them. It’s a cliche, a well known fact of life, but it can still bring you down when you experience it. It’s the knowledge of your ever changing perception, realizing if you thought that mini-shack up in the rotting pine was the Taj Mahal, what does that say about your current beloved apartment?
Size and perception, however, are fixed. Kids are short, adults are tall, you saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids, it all boils down to a science of size. Taste is completely different. If you thought Hey Arnold was the height of comedy when you were nine and now it doesn’t even get you to chuckle, then is How I Met Your Mother as funny as you think it is? If Kel isn’t the dreamboat you were crushing on in 6th grade, is your current boyfriend as devishly handsome as you believe? Will watching All That in your dorm room mess with your memories of seeing it with your BFFs from 5th grade in your parents’ living room?
Last month a Youtube video was circulating around the web that contained about four minutes of pure 90s pop culture, from movies to TV shows to commercials. Images and sound bites flew by just long enough for the viewer to think, “That cereal was the best, I got a tamagotchi for my tenth birthday, I use to watch that show after school with Bobby Adams.” It was the perfect vehicle for nostalgia, because the shards of entertainment were just small enough to carry the memories without the actual product. So to keep your fond 90s Nick memories untainted, name your band The Beets, doodle Helga on your notebooks, and tape tonight’s 90s block. Eventually you might want to show your kids the quality shows they aired back in the good old days.
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