My gripes with the 1990's

People tend to forget that the 90's were more nostalgic for the decades before then.
January 28, 2013
The Inspirations of the 90's

The 90's... what can be said about them? Culturally, they had Super Soakers, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Gameboy. All of the aforementioned were born and more important to the very early 90's (mid '89-1992). Those inventions did last well into the 1990's. How could they not? When one thinks about the Gameboy, they do not see the Gameboy Pocket. The Clinton times were strange to those of us over the age of seven. The 90's were more nostalgic for other periods than those decades were for the ones before then. The Furby reminded us all of Gizmo in 1998. The Beanie Babies reminded the children of the 70's of the bean bag chair. This Robot Chicken sketches sums up the beliefs that most held regarding the new ideas of the time:

(Broken YouTube Link Removed)

The cartoons and shows of '93 to '01 were, in some ways, a little better than what is around today. They were the very definition of postmodernism to those who saw the 70's, 80's and very early 90's. First, let's look at some of the more "successful" works of those times. I'm sure many will recognize at least one character that they are familiar with. If not, then at least you have some idea as to why they never made it. The first inspired release is one that may shock children of the 90's.

Boy Meets World

All great things must come to an end. In the spring of '93, the American television comedy-drama The Wonder Years was cancelled. The finale angered many Americans at the time. It did not end too well. Most people did not like that the father, Jack Arnold, died of a heart attack in 1975. People really felt that the series was a waste of time after Winnie and Kevin did not tie the knot. ABC noticed that the late 80's early 90's belonged to Fred Savage. He was a likable guy with a nice smile. In fact, the whole cast of The Wonder Years made Americans patriotic for a hot second. In 1990, lots of people wanted to live the 60's. Girls began straightening their hair as a response to Winnie Cooper. So, a big problem came to ABC in the spring of 1993.

The people behind ABC looked to the times for help. There was a lot of optimism in the air during the spring of '93. A Democrat was elected after all of those years of watching Republicans get the vote. The people at ABC figured that there needed to be a voice for the next generation. In short, there needed to be a Kevin Arnold for the 90's. So, in the fall of '93, Boy Meets World aired as part of the network's TGIF. Those born before 1987 may have had a problem with that decision. This show was on during the time most TGIF shows had jumped the shark. That may be what made Boy Meets World a stronger selection for the rest of Friday night. People of the 90's figured that nothing else was on, so why not.

I am not trying to start a war here, but Boy Meets World was never thought of as pop culture. It was a b-rate version of The Wonder Years at best. The show went through so many changes before it went off the air. It never found its identity in the process. The show, also, never quite fit in the rest of the TGIF line-up. Children of the 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's never cared for it like they did The Wonder Years. Boy Meets World basically appealed to the children of the 90's. Besides, Cory Matthews never had a memorable clothing article like Kevin Arnold. Kevin Arnold was never as whiny as Cory was either. That brings me to my next inspired piece of work...

Assorted Characters of Cartoon Network

Late '92 was the perfect time for new American cable television networks to be launched. They were all special that many of us still look at them today. Cartoon Network (new in '92) was originally a library full of all of the Hanna-Barbera classics. This network brought many Hanna-Barbera fans to tears. It was perfect for its time. Nothing stays the same ever. Children of the 90's wanted a set of cartoons to define them. The people behind Cartoon Network found people to create those new cartoons. They even tried the Nickelodeon routine by running to a foreign nation. The idea for Ed, Edd n Eddy was thought up in Canada. Naturally, the animators behind Cartoon Network looked to the pop culture existent in the very early 90's and before. They drew in every event of the 1990's to shape their toons.

By 1999, America was very nostalgic for the late 70's. The pop culture from then was not as well respected as that of the 1960's. Creators still knew that Scooby Doo worked once, he could work again. Hey, the idea of a dog driving away all of our fears is a pretty brilliant idea. It took just seconds to shrink Scooby Doo and color him purple. That sure worked for the creators of 2 Stupid Dogs. Take an overweight cat and make him a big dog instead. Better yet, it seemed to work when Fido Dido became buffer and more egotistical than usual. Most of the young people around me enjoyed Johnny Bravo. This idea appears to work in more ways than one. It even works to this day with Regular Show. Everyone already knows about Cow and Chicken, so there is no need to open up about that one.

CatDog/ Pinky and the Brain

Ren and Stimpy did a lot for the 1990's. It ushered in a new era. Toy commercials were pretty much gone when Ren and Stimpy merchandise was everywhere in 1993. People realized that it had a two guy formula that worked. Cats and dogs are usually make good friends to the many members of our society, right? So why not link these two wonderful mammals together? Ren and Stimpy were gone by that point anyway. CatDog did not do as well as the mid-decade replacements for Ren and Stimpy. Pinky and the Brain, surprisingly, did much better. Who knew that taking Ren Hoek and making him an evil genius in the form of a mouse would work?

Rocko and those Real Monsters

Ren and Stimpy were not the only Nicktoons that had made it. All three of the Nicktoons from 1991 were successful. By the end of the decade, children of the 1990's had Doug Funnie, Angelica Pickles, and Stimpy in doll form. I have even heard some adults claim that they thought children of the 1990's would have it best. After all there were twenty somethings in 1992 who enjoyed Ren and Stimpy. This only lead to the over-saturation of Nicktoons on Nickelodeon. All That (cough,cough You Can't Do That On Television) did not help matters any. The "new" Nicktoons reminded a lot of old-schoolers of the originals. Rocko of Rocko's Modern Life was not much different from Doug. I do not even remember much about the real monsters. They went on adventures and such, but that was it. Ickis was the small leader, just like Tommy. Krumm was the shy one of the bunch, like Chucky. Oblina had stripes on her torso, just like Phil and Lil. I guess Klasky Csupo wanted a break from developing the Rugrats. If my memory serves me right, Nickelodeon very quickly tried to cash in on the arrival of those characters. Unlike the merchandise for the Rugrats, the Ahh...Real Monsters stuff went nowhere. If you were to look hard enough, you might even still find some of it at a stationery store.

Those Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

You say Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, I say Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We can all guess which name came first. I do like the designs for Kyōryū Sentai Zyurange, but that is it. I did not like when this project was passed off to Americans as a new show in 1993. As an American, without the internet, this seemed like a rip-off of Voltron at the time. The name of this production insulted my intelligence. If these rangers were so mighty, then why did they need a Megazord? Why didn't the rangers just use their Megazord right away? Children of the 90's were going nuts for these things in '94. Why? Every episode was the same pretty much. I have come to the conclusion that the Power Rangers are only still around today because parents are familiar with them. And to top it off, were there any actual teenagers on this show? David Yost (Billy) looked slightly older than even Luke Perry at the time. I guess he was the Andrea of the group.

Videogames of the 1990's

"For everything there is a season". In the Clinton 1990's, this saying meant so much to "inventors". For every Sonic the Hedgehog there had to be a Spyro, Earthworm Jim, and Rayman. I guess I did not expect much from the times that brought us Waterworld and Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Even the video games before then were ruined in Clinton times. I know places that still sell Super Mario Bros. movie trading cards. These places have boxes of them in the back. I did not care for that movie at the time because my interest was in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. That 1992 videogame gave Sonic his own sidekick. Tails stayed by Sonic's side through thick and thin in that game. This was progression in the video game universe! The Clinton days soon got to Sonic too. Was anything safe then? MC Hammer even went broke in '96. The 1990's were supposed to be his decade.

I never understood the fascination with Pokemon. I guess I realized that Nintendo did not mind going down the Nickelodeon path. Kirby was the first Gameboy character of its kind. Kirby did not even have the chance to grasp the success the Super Mario Brothers received. Pokemon reminded me of too much in 1998. Only children of the late 80's/ early 90's (hybrid children) will understand how Pokemon was a rip-off of the Battle Beasts toys. Did Nintendo designers even try in mid 90's? I was leap years ahead of the children of the 1990's.

The Animaniacs and Teletubbies

I do not have much to say about Tiny Toon Adventures or Barney the Dinosaur. Oh wait...
These are the Animaniacs and the Teletubbies! What exactly were the Animaniacs and
Teletubbies? I suddenly just realized I had nothing at all to say about Buster, Babs, Barney, or Baby Bop.

Fads of the 1990's

Look at that packaging... it's exttrrrrreeeeeeemmme, man! After the Transformers, after the Nintendo Entertainment System, after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, why did children of the 1990's even want these? The popularity made no sense at all back in early '95. It was as if children of the 1990's wanted their own versions of marbles. What are pogs even known for? I know pogs did not do for man what the Rubix Cube did. The children of the 1990's never collected pogs, but played with them. Why were the Clinton days so childish? The 1980's and early 1990's spoke to mainly teenagers and children. There were plenty of new singles by Donna Summer, Neil Young, and the Rolling Stones in that time-frame too. The Clinton 90's only made the children happy. That could be the reason not many remember them. There is the probability floating around that no one wants to remember them also.

The Slang that Defined the Times Best

The Clinton Nineties were the times where anything went. Not many seemed to care about much any more. Loads of people had sarcastic remarks and a sense of angst in them. Again, those times were not pleasing to many people over the age of seven. Everyone seemed to notice in 1994 that not much was going on. I knew even then that Jurassic Park coming to theaters was the only major event of 1993. The Jurassic Park movie was a book adaption. Everything seemed dead in 1994. The idea behind cartoons were dead. The music was dead to many Americans. The many men and women that would have changed the face of music were gone. Movies like lWaterworld and the Wild Wild West were in theaters. The WB Network was created. The WB tried so hard to be like the FOX Network. Who were they trying to fool? Kids WB? Look at the FOX Network promotions of 1987 to 1992. Compare those to the WB promotions of 1995 to 2005. The big revamps the 1990's were "buzzkill" too. Who remembers the Woodstock of '94 and '99? I am sad just thinking about those seven long years when Clinton was in office. Well, it is all over now, so... whatever.

The "Goods" of the 1990's

What do these things all have in common? Oh, one of these things is not like the other? I never noticed that. How could this happen to the state of toys? Just the other day, I saw a Kenner Gargoyles action figure at my TJ Maxx. I looked at it and then I stared at an Iron Man 2 action figure. I did not see a difference between these two products, at all. The toy packaging of the mid/late 1990's was in Homer Simpson's words, meh. After the Transformers, after the Boglins, after the Food Fighters, after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this is what was in stores. That is plain ridiculous to me. I guess video games were meant to be supreme in the 21st Century. That is that.

The lack of Criticism and Consciousness in the Clinton Days

Anything went. Before 1993, everyone teased everyone else. Children of the 1970's told the children of the 1980's that they did not like the Michael Jackson of '83. The children of the 1980's told the hybrid children (those who experienced the late 80's early 90's) that they did not like the Michael Jackson of '87 to '92. When Michael Jackson was thought of as a child molester, only some people called others out on the acceptance of this allegation. Instead, everyone, but the children of the 1990's, remained nostalgic for Michael's better days. Some truly horrible events popped up in the 1990's.

It seemed like with each passing day, things only got worst by the minute. With that said, the "sex craze" of 1999 was unbelievable at the time. What did parents believe Britney Spears was saying with the song, Hit Me Baby One More Time? Were they completely unaware of the fact that middle school students were sneaking into theater rooms to see American Beauty and American Pie? I guess it just slipped. Both of those movies were receiving great reviews. Why? Some people of those times just did not care at all. The internet has only made things worst since then.

The End

The Clinton 1990's will probably be remembered for nothing more than the Internet. People were not doing much during that time that they cannot do today. Most children of the 1990's will say they watched reruns of Saved by the Bell back then. People still do that at this very moment. It was far more interesting to watch Saved by the Bell on Saturday mornings on NBC. People, back in 1992, got to hear what others generally thought about. Yes, people were expressing their emotions for Kelly then. Humanity is not too far removed from the mid/late 90's into the early 2000's. The economy was better, but that is it. Children of the 1990's may say they had the Nintendo 64, but it is just "Nintendo" to those born before them.
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