We Are The Early 90s ('90-'93)

What were they exactly? Don't go postal, I have some answers.
July 07, 2014
Get ready! We're going back in time to a distant past.

Get in the DeLorean, dear Retrojunkers!

Okay, we're there. Look below this message to see what I'm talking about.

Mark will never live this down. Poor little guy.

In the words of a teenage Joey Lawrence, "Whoa"! That was an original NBC airing of Saved by the Bell. You know, the show that singlehandedly destroyed NBC Saturday mornings. That Mark-Paul Gosselaar was such a hottie. When is the last time you heard that phrase...Oh no, my dialog is indicative of the time period I think we're in. It's the early 90s! You wouldn't know that by looking at the pictures posted above. I know it's hard to believe, but nothing changed right away like we all wanted it to, back then. The same '87 PSAs, Woody Woodpecker episodes, and Whatchamacallit commercials were shown on Television in 1990. "I learned it from youuuu." That brings me to why I am writing this article.

What Were the Early 1990s?

I see now why my friends burned all the photos

One thing we all noticed in 1990 was that it was a new decade. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who had difficulty ACTUALLY wrting out 1990. For newjunkers (those born after 2005) out there, we had THREE, count them, THREE, different Presidents in the 1980s! Children of the 2000s are the only other ones who understand what it feels like to exist in such a longevous era. I remember almost everyone paying strict attention to everything that was new in 1990. Of course, all of the leftover 80s programs from '89 were filmed in the fall of 1989. So, to get an idea of what was 'in', we had to look in magazines like Sassy and Teen. After awhile I noticed something. Here, you can see for yourself....

The early 1990's were like a spawn to the year 1989. In this period, we would feast our eyes on sequels to mid 80s movies,80s series finales, John Hughes' children flicks, single comic book hero movies, the best 'Spike Lee joints', Disney holiday season movies and one hit wonders.

Most of my friends break up the years. They claim that 1991 was the true beginning of the 90s. To them, 1990 was the watered-down imitation of 1989. My brother speaks of '90 as if it were the brother to 1989. I have named off the movies, songs and stuff from that period to my cousins. People automatically say, "That was 80s, wasn't it?"
This era is so many things to different people. Some folks are angered by it. My buddy, he's nameless here, loves quite a few musical selections from 1990-early 1991. Unfortunately, he cannot hear them on the radio because they are often grouped with songs from the latter years of the 90s. Nameless is an 80s man, no doubt about it. Disc Jockeys tend to play only songs from 1980-1989 on the XM channels. Meaning he won't hear Keedy or Tracie Spencer on that network, EVER. So, basically, he was left with egg all over his face. Sure, he gravitates towards 80s hits, but he has a hidden passion for early 90s pop as well. What's a person like him to do? Name-not-given doesn't want to hear Barbie Girl,Macarena, or that be darned Hanson band for the umpteenth time. Can you blame him?

As a person who lived in that day and age, I'll tell you this. The very early 90s were like a beefed up version of the late 80s. We did it up with the newly discovered clothes and music genres of the late 80s. Other people will tell you it was a transitional period best left in the past. There were incoming 90s items and the new shows of the late 1980s were all in their 'jump the shark' stages [ Alison Sugarbaker, anybody?]. This was quite a period to live in. Not much changed from year to year and we still held on to what we loved from '89.

I guess '90-'99 babies are ready to say, simply, "Those were just the 90s. I don't see much of a difference from then and 1997". They are not allowed to comment because they were either speechless or non-apparent in that time. FYI, YOU HAD TO BE THERE!

My conscious told me it was time to do an article on this garboiled era. I'm going to dissect them while we're here (remember, we are somewhere in the early 1990s).

Come On, Can't We Just Call Them the 90s?

Yes, Billy, we get nostalgic for twenty years ago in every decade. Aren't you quite the philosopher?

Let's get a look at why those first three years should be grouped with the years Historians say they belong with. Music? Mariah's debut along with the likes of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains are very much responsible for giving the overall decade a 'touchy-feely' attitude. Sooo much sadness?! Why Mariah did you have to let 'him' go? This, coupled with Celine Dion having a lonely heart… pass the tissues! And Jeremy! Jeremy! If only there were Social Workers at his School. Why do I envision a bearded, shoeless, long-haired guy in a dirty looking Lavender sweater listening to that song on his Walkman? Does anybody else see him or is it just mee?

Something else that strings those years to "the others" was the t-shirts featuring newly animated characters. You were 'stupid fresh' if you had a Bartman shirt. Was there ever a better time for that article of clothing to be released? I mean, the year right after Tim Burton's Batman was in Theaters. Now that's what I call brilliant marketing! People at my school loved Bart as if he were a real individual. Bogus! This was when Homer still sounded like he had marbles in his mouth. We've come a loong way. I actually know people who prefer today's Simpsons to the Simpsons of the yesteryears. Young people, but people, nonetheless. That Bart 'Underachiever' shirt was the perfect stereotypical 90s shirt, don't you think? Some of us were unaware of that at the time. We just knew we wanted it. Bart didn't have to say a word in those shaving cream dialogue bubbles. Then, people fell in love with Dizzy Devil so much that he was airbrushed on shirts and overalls. Don't get me started on Ren and Stimpy. The shirts of the earlier 90s seem harmless in comparison with the South Park tees of '99. I guess those were the 90s for you. They were like a drifter who started out having a sip of what he was drinking only to hold the whole cup to his mouth and take all of the hot milk in.

What would the Nineties be without animated character action figures?! It was a child's decade aside from the angsty slacker's. In a way, this all began in late 1989 with the Kenner Police Academy line. Toy companies were pretty obnoxious in their efforts. They assumed anything would stick. Even the more obscure titles, like Toonsylvania, got 3d representations. I consider the 80s to be the last time an action figure was just that!

The violence. Well I'd rather not speak on that subject.

What would all of the 90s be without The Gap? Red shirts were 'in' back in 1990. I was more of a Benetton kind of girl. To each its own. We were getting to where we are now, you see. That was all too new to the Reaganites entering the 90s.

Those funky 70s! My Aunt had a ball in them, but they weren't for me. The polyester shirts…I wasn't sold. From 1990 to 1992, the clacker, mood rings and bean chairs all came back. Children of the 1990s were fortunate enough they did not have to endure playtime with a "Pet Rock". Tamagotchis were for them. Did anyone realize someone forged bean chairs with the Pet Rock to give the American public "Teeny Beanie Babies"? They made a killing too, drat!

After that second season of Twin Peaks, most of us wished we had never seen the WHOLE thing like Ms. Palmer. The Giant?! Why was the small man in the red room? This was our Lost. It was on the same channel, too. Unlike fans of the latter show, most viewers were LOST when view one episode of TP.

That's not all! The early 90s didn't only provide us all with the grand Daddies of all Hood films from the rest of the 90s. They were significant in that they actually had BOY bands, literally. We were bombarded with singles from the Osmond Boys (only one of them was cute), the Boys (I wanted to be Khiry's tenderoni so bad), Another Bad Creation (I steered clear of this one). This was long before Soul for Real and All-4-One. Think about that for a moment. All of their screeching made me yearn for the New Kids on the Block and I only like one song by them. You didn't hear that.

There was certainly an influx of films with children starring as main characters in movies. The most memorable were the "Problem Child" and "Home Alone" movies. Of course, writers had to send this film trend into overdrive and we wound up with "Baby Geniuses". Thankfully, we went back to having adults on movie posters.

In the early 90s, I had thought I seen the end of Primetime TV Characters as dolls. Didn't the mid 80s dig the grave and hammer the nails in that coffin? What happened?! I look up and there are 90210 dolls and then, eventually, a doll of The Nanny. Here's what I want to know. Tell me this. How did the 90s end without an emergence of FRIENDS dolls? What, they couldn't perfect 'The Rachel'?! Sigh.

Long before Pokemon and whoever it is today, we had Dragon Quest. Potato, Potatoe. I'll hold off all Quayle jokes for later. I have a feeling no imports would be here if not for Akira in Theaters. Akira means 'intelligence', it's not a girl's name like most of us thought. Hey, Kaneda kinda looks like Roseanne in her third season.

Overalls! My 15 year old cousin asked me what to wear to a 90s party. I was half awake, one eye open and I said to her, "Go as Dennis the Menace." It was as simple as that. At least, in the very early 90s, people wore them with one strap down. I used to do that and wear my backpack with the other strap down. All that jazz came to a half when my peers got the idea to wear almost nothing under their white overalls near the summer of 1991.

Laura Palmer. TV would never be the same from then on in. With her, a new look to programming was ushered in. Yes, I know some people who still host Twin Peaks parties like its late in 1990. This was our X-Files for the '94-'99 babies wondering. There were other shows like Eerie Indiana, at the time. Same premise too. A young man with parted hair and his cohort who's a redhead. Hmmmmm…

Nope, Those Were the Last of the 80s. Tail End.

A Toxic Avenger cartoon? That's about as messed up as Toxie's face

This weekend, National Geographic is broadcasting a special on the 1990s. According to them, everything was all "Boy Meets World" type shows from the beginning of the 1990s to the end. Was I Corey Harting it in the early 1990s? I recall seeing Cosby, Mike Seaver, MacGuyver when they were in "the dying years". Today, those episodes are funny to review. Cliff Huxtable wearing a SD (Sammy Davis Jr) pin for the WHOLE half hour?! He even wore it to bed. Looking back, Cliff probably made all of those 'Cosby faces' towards the end because he was really possessed by a 'rat' (Sammy Davis Jr.) or I'm reading way too far into this.

Mr Big. Firehouse (early days). Nelson. Do any of these names ring a bell? Today, we've painted over this minute in the day by saying Grunge musicians completely took over then. It was a mixed bag. A girlfriend and I were already laughing when we saw Bad English video in '89. They were perceived correctly at the time. When they put out ballads, 'the rockers' started to look even more pompous. I didn't mind most of the hair bands in the early 90s because they were "softsational".

One other thing I notice about that time was our love for obtuse triangles with a shadow behind them. I forgot why people then made such a big deal out that. Nothing looks more 80s than that positioned shape, except for maybe an asymmetrical haircut. I've heard onlookers say they hate the early 90s because no one would let go of the 80s. No one knew what the 90s were going to be about then. Come to think of it, some of the fonts used for ads looked like something you would see on a jeep.

In some ways, the early 90s were really just an extension to the late 80s. Many people will tell you those were the party days! They were right. The Robocop. The Wop. Shopping cart. There were so many dances. Everyone got on the floor. I learned the Roger Rabbit from a line dancer sometime in '91. Good times, good times. Here's the flip side to that. Someone dancing to House music doesn't remember a thing about those nights. They just know they had to be alive because they're here today.

I have to give it to the people who say the early 90s were alright. When have you ever seen a cult classic film character like the Toxic Avenger be made into a cartoon? Before this point, you had the Real Ghostbusters (there was a Slimer toothpaste, gooey face and Hi-C drink) and Beetlejuice(they were desperate). Those two were falling out because they had ran their course in what can be thought of as "the Green eon". For those who aren't in the know, in the Toxic Avenger films, our green malicious hero crushes his enemies like I get the last bit of toothpaste out of the container. Suppose a four year old saw that thinking it was going to be like the TMMT movies.

The early 90s were unique because they were the last age to have Latin freestyle in them. I don't do as little as take a gander at them, but I remember Bad of the Heart. At the time, I thought he was saying "Bag Up My Heart". The lyrics are so easy to remember. I shouldn't, but here it goes… Bad of the Heaaart/ You never wanted to starrrt. That's all I know to it. I know guys who played these tunes their babies in their car. They were being 'real'. When's the last time you heard that one?

That Was Like Its Own Little Time

Ill, that shoe's tongue has big orange nasty blister on it. Don't touch it.

Remember what I told you earlier? '89 was the great start to it all. Bill and Ted were excessively important in this small minutiae. Without them, Brennan Howard won't have a role on GamePro TV. To some gamers, that's probably not a bad thing. Whatsoever would the world do if that happened? Anyway, within the years, we saw the animated series go from good to stale and then a live action show was produced. Oh, you don't recall that do you? I'm sure Lisa Wilcox leaves that one off her resume.

The early 90s were the last time Madonna was bearable. First, she had to let out Like A Prayer which my Grandparents hated with a passion. They picked up on what the song was about right away. The beat to that one never leaves my mind. The video to that one didn't go well with them, either. In those days, you had to have a friend make a mixtape with those recordings and hide that under your bed with your George Michael cassingles. At the time, I never cared for a certain one off her Immaculate Collection. I just got so aggravated with the media coverage of it. It's like someone forgot to tell these people the more you speak of how controversial the video was, the more someone underage person would want to see it. Ugh, Madge was going for that image at the time. They gave it right to her.

Reebok Lumps is what they should be called. They were a disappointment along with the Power Glove my brother wanted for one Christmas. People my age bought them right away. Like the polo sweater, it went to the children with time. It was the kind of sneaker only a boy could want. I remember pressing the little basketball, but it was made of hard rubber. Imagine if the gimmick were in place and you needed it to work only to the dismay of finding out you can't 'pump it Up'. In short, these were cool until more people found out about them.

This was a wild period for hairstyles. My brother wanted to look like a rapper I'll talk about later. I remember when Afros were shaped like a cereal box. Exactly like cereal box. I wish I could tell you I'm kidding. Young African American males had names for their hair too. I think I heard someone calling theirs 'the Maxwell' (remember that Maxwell cassette tape commercial when the business man turns on his stereo system and is BLOWN AWAY). He looked as if a strong gust of wind blew his hair back. There was yellow highlight in it, too. Baldies in the early 90s thought any hightop fade was stupid. I don't remember any girls going for guys who had hair like that, either. The popular rappers of the time that appealed to my generation had them, so…that's that. If some of them fell, there was no way they would be able to get up. The Lifealert lady could do better.

Get A Life - This was a FOX series. All of the elements were there. The Handsome-boy Modeling school, flipping Zoo animals ON wheels, and Spewey the alien. This had my nephew talking for weeks. He ran his mouth off about it as many times as Christopher Elliot's character died. From what I heard of it , this show helped mold me into a responsible adult. I knew, as a teenager, that I never wanted to be living with my parents at Chris' age.

Did anybody else see that Time Magazine issue with Dan Quayle's face plastered all over it with the caption, "No Joke"? Most of my classmates disagreed. We were 'okay with Bush' (until he proved himself to be a liar). There was so much material with Quayle that we could cover. At times, it was too easy. After all, this was the man that said, "Who's responsible for the riot? The Rioters". I wish I could say I was making that up. Here's a joke off the top of my head.

Q: Why didn't Pat Buchanan attack Dan Quayle?

A: That would be child abuse.

I wasn't one to talk as I confused Quayle with TRUMP in those afternoons. I'm still stumped as to why George Bush chose him to be his Vice President. I'm not staring out to space about it.

What's So Important About Them? Do Tell.

Eww,that's a wee Ryan Gosling. He never ages a bit.

That diagram explains itself. '92 was the last time, we got a something made of plastic or paper prize in our cereals. Everything after that was a mail-away. Bleh! Things were going so great, too. There were Guys Next Door and Corina cassettes in Cinnamon Mini Buns cereal. I grew ill from my cousin using his Chip 'N Dale stampers everywhere in our house. I still thought it was a great prize along with the stickers and PVCs offered as prizes.

When was the last time making it to a talent show mattered. Sure, some young guns of those years probably thought their dances to Technotronic and the like were as akaward as the Laser School photos they took. Still, it was a great way to get noticed by an agent. Because dancing was a therapeutic exercise during the Gulf War recession, many people got ideas for their new ones by attending Talent Shows.

One question I asked myself today was, "What would we do without Comedy Central" and "E!". Joel McHale of the Soup (aka Talk Soup) trashes those nongermane reality shows of today. The early 90s saw the birth of much needed cable channels. The basic channels kept my attention in those days.

I'm getting a flashback to the summer of '91. My oldest cousin saw Terminator 2 over four times. It was just that 'rad'. After the disappointment with Gremlins 2 (I didn't understand it was a spoof of the 1984 original back in'90) and Ghostbusters 2, I remember feeling discouraged about this one. We thought it would be just another sequel. Lo and behold, it brought a lot of deniro in. My friends thought '91 was a crappy year for movies. Compared to what's out now, give me Hannibal, Thelma, Louise, and Niño Brown…wait, that's it, over 22 Jump Street.

Long before teenagers of the 2000s wore 'Real Men Wear Pink' shirts, boys of the 80s and early 90s wore hot [blinding] neon pink tanktops. Although this was during a time when the fearful were wearing 'Tough Guys Wear Black' Raiders shirts, no one made anything out of adolescent and teen boys wearing pink. I'm not sure what happened. Quite a few young ladies, in {almost} all parts of the 90s, wore a white long or short sleeve tops and pink pants. It had to be that or the fact that most everyone switched over to darker colors in late '92. So, picture this, a purple turtleneck made a guy seem "more mature" to females at the Mall. From there, later on, Jerry Falwell made his comment about the color purple. Men of all creeds abandoned the color after that.

I really miss the reruns of 80s sitcoms in the early 90s. In '91, the older crowd was looking back on the 80s and critiquing them. Remember, at the time, we believed the 90s had to better. In some ways, boyyy was that a bad bet. In those days, you could view reruns you can't find on the tube or in a DVD box set. I remember rushing home from school to see any bit of "21 Jump Street" after my girlfriends made me see "the light". Johnny Depp is so talented. I need to stop now before I drool all over this keyboard. You can't find "Out of this World", "Mr Belvedere", "Dave the Gnome", "Perfect Stangers", "Today's Special" or "Punky Brewster" on cable like you could then. Dame shame if you ask me.

In the 80s you had Spandau Ballet. In the early to mid 90s we had Damian Dame. My, how times change.

Artists who look like Tupac are also rare these days. Perhaps there was something in the water back then. We'll be alright. I'm sure no one wants a stranger running up to them and saying, "I knew that MTV News report was a hoax. You were hidding like everybody said."

Growth in the Early 90s

Amazing, when you were a child, you thought the Jim Henson [R.I.P.]turtles were as real as it gets. Now you think like your Uncles, Parents, and Grannies. They're "grown men masquerading in green suits" now. Haha.

The early 90s… anyone that was there knows the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film was in Theaters the same Friday as the first "House Party". Okay, I hear you. There were other "HP" and "TMNT" flicks in the REAL 90s. Be honest, the only "House Party" movies you can see with your bossy cousins are the first two. They won't tell you why that is.Take a good guess, the other ones were weak. The second "House Party" with all of those goofy sound effects and such give you a better idea of what life for anybody was like in the early 90s. It had it all, that guy from Young Black Teenagers (I prefer the Beastie Boys and 3rd Bass to them, but I love the irony to this groups name'), a TMNT mention, Queen Latifah, and the fashions [I'll get into this, later]. It may not be as great as the first one, but it's the film you just have to see to get an idea of what the early 90s were like. It's the perfect time capsule.
You can tell which Kid 'N Play movies were made in the early 90s from the ones that one not. Kid 'N Play were still just that, Kid 'N Play. Kid did not have a Tarantula on his head for starters. He wore the highest hightop fade, so much so, that when some saw a hightop the height of the Leaning Tower; they would call it the Kid 'N Play.
Kid N Play were everywhere in the early 90s. Like Bill and Ted, they had a cartoon and comic book series (Didn't know that, did ya?). THEY WERE EVEN FEATURED IN AN EPISODE OF THE SIMPSONS!!! In the first film, Kid had a "Dixon Taconderoga pencil top fade". In the second one, his head looked like a Bugle chip in reverse. Most memorable of all was his last one from '91 when "Class Act" was filmed. He had what I call 'the Exclamation point'. My eyes were glued that poster when the film came out in 1992. If someone were to ask me to put together a complication of early 90s objects that defined that whole era, I'd have to put that poster on the table. It was 'totally cool' to put it words.
I never forget how many people were lined up to see that first "Ninja Turtle" movie. Personally, I thought it would be another Howard the Duck. Boyyy (Not like Flava Flav's Boyy, but Boyyy), was I ever wrong. It was the highest grossing independent film of all time. Think of it like this, the toon brought folks out of the house from small screen to big one. I'm pretty sure the film cemented people's interest in them. The movie is what sold people on buying the toys officially. Before, in the late 80s, boys were just beginning to take notice of them. After the movie, EVERYONE, including fans of the comic, had to have them. People with complete collections were the kings of the block. Jr. High students even had a soft spot for them.

In the very late 80s, say around '89, my brothers' generation was just getting acquainted with the turtles. In the early 90s, COLLECTING ANYTHING WITH A NINJA TURTLE ON IT WAS THE NORM. They were sold out at your local Mom and Pop store and even brick businesses. Parents would call Toys "R" Us as soon as it opened to ask if they got any turtle cases in. They would reserve them like NES games there. Some even waited early in the morning to get a basic Donatello action figure. They weren't Cabbage Patch Doll mad, but they weren't going to put them on layaway either. There were even 'TMNT Headquarters' stations set up in a store {Can't remember which one right now, K-Mart?}.

Then, the follow-up to that one was made. It was important at the time because Nilla Ice [I'll get into this, trust me] was going to be in it. Him and the 2 Live Crew were the 50cents of their time. We didn't know that "Cool as Ice" was coming with the sands of time. This was his first and only, so far, part in a production. Then, my brother, literally, locked eyes on the New Line movie, and was disappointed. He payed attention to every little detail. He wanted to see Bebop and Rocksteady in place of the wolf and snap turtle guy [I know I'm very bad at this.] I had a different perspective. I tried explaining to him that they have to sell more toys. My brother already had a Bebop and Rocksteady action figure. The movie was supposed to be like the original comics. After all of the complaining from Soccer Moms, they toned it down to kid-friendly and Mother-approved tripe.

To make the situation worse, after that, the toy company that made them put out all of those variations of the turtles and IT WAS OVER! Turtlemania became a 1990 thing. My brother still stared at all of the ones he didn't have in '91, but he asked for no more. Of course, the toy company (name not coming to me, but it wasn't Mattel, that's for sure) tried to redeem themselves by marketing turtle figures that looked exactly like the 'mean, green, fighting machines" from the Theatrical showing. It was too late. After getting "Hamlet Donatello", "Winston Churchill Michelangelo" and "Wayne Gretzky Leonardo" (Side note here, remember Pro Stars?) for the ten billionth time when he demanded "Krang", my brother was absolutely through with it all. I think the Movie Star figurines were a nice way to cap off the early 90s era. We won't even talk about the third one. My Brother knew he didn't want to see that one from the start of the trailer. They were just a novelty.

The Early 90s Rap Sheet

Give me that Lil' Wayne guy any day.

Have you heard the expression, "Pie in the sky"? In the early 90s, there was CHEESE in the sky. My, was there ever cheese in the sky. Everyone, including your 89 year Grandmother, thought they had it. There were freestyle battles everywhere, in every style. In 1990, rap went commercial. It was starting to get there with Young MC and Tone Loc, but MC Hammer brought in the numbers. I looked dorkier than Robyn Lively's friend in "Teen Witch" singing 'take that' when I sang, "Haha, take that, Homeboy! You can touch this!" I later found out the song was U Can't Touch This. That was permissible in the time when we would end words that had a 's' suffix to them with 'z' or 'x'.
I had to stop doing that once I slipped up and wrote "affectxx" on an English final. You know our Teachers were completely repulsed by such an action.

MC Hammer was on the cover of Rolling Stone, had a SatAM cartoon, and a doll. I believe he was the first ever rapper to make the cover of a well-known magazine. You know all of the fans since the infant stages of rap were 'up in arms' over Hammer getting high praise from all if the critics. I guess they felt Del the Funky Homosapien, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul weren't getting their due. At the time, Boomers were passing it off as 'the real deal' (Even more early 90s slang). It didn't go nicely with them. From then on in, all of the 'hard' rappers were dissing the ones that got all of the airplay. Yes, 1990 was when the general public started to hear rap and soundscan on the radio. Look where we are today.

You knew other ones had to come along to steal the shine from the Hammer. The lyrics to the next songs were far more preposterous. Now, I cringe at them, but then it was 'dope, man'. The real rap fans were in tears over the badness (Meaning not good) of Candyman, Geraldo, Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark, Kris Kross, and Mix-a-lot. When Vanilla Ice with the 'e' came out it with Ice Ice Baby, no one gave it much thought. It was a nice DANCE tune. As time went on you couldn't escape the winds of Mr. Winter (His last name is Winkle as in Rip Van Winkle). When two friends got into an argument, you heard one say the other was, "Too cold, too cold." I knew people at my school who wanted to be Vanilla Ice. They went to the Barbershops and got ole icy 'e's railroad tracks and grassy top. One fella even let out a loud "Vanilla Ice is forever!" It's okay, you can laugh. Winkle (I like saying that) had us all fooled when he went on Arsenio (this was one of the last airings we watched, he was never funny. His stuff was okay until the start of '91). Hall came down hard on I-C-EEEEE, that the poor guy almost melted from all of the heat Arsenio put on him. You can say Ice was actually 'under pressure'. Cue in The Who's 'Yeahhhhh'. Winkle only made himself more of a 'wrinkle in time' by lying about coming from the Hood. Eh, I had no time for him, anyway. I was listening to Lisa Stansfield.

There was no need to imitate Sir Mix-a-Lot. We had been wearing pork rind hats for most of the late 80s (Like Joey Jeremiah on that PBS' Degrassi show that was on when we got out if school). People did the Kris Kross thing for a while. They couldn't get very far in their backwards Bugle Boys. You knew some idiot had to try it. Remember when the (then) new group, TLC, looked as if they were circus performers? That may have been the point. They were 'major' [That's another one] clowns who didn't take themselves seriously. This was during a time when if someone made fun of you, they would try to befriend you afterward. People weren't all angsty and whiny over insults like they were from 1993-1997. Anyways, people had to rock the great big pacifiers in early '93 (This was before babydoll dresses were the 'in' thing). Do you believe they did that? I don't want to, either.

Our Favorite Artists of the Early 90s

Which one of these is not like the other. Right! Tara Kemp!

"Whooaaaahaaahoooo/ Whaaaaahaaahooooo". Admit it, you thought that was Milli Vanilli at the time. This was before we found out the truth ABOUT MILLI AH VANILLI! It was actually two guys with the last name Calloway. Am I reading this right? I remember you couldn't turn on the TV without hearing I Wanna Be Rich. Laura Winslow sang it on "Family Matters" and it was background music in 90210 when Brenda Walsh went shopping with Jennie Garth [That's not her character's name. It isn't coming to me]. It was that song you couldn't get away from all that Summer. This was just before the 'new taxes'. To future presidential candiates, MEAN WHAT YOU SAY! I kinda liked that song until my parents got a hold of it. They went to the gas station market singing it as they purchased a ticket or two. No one got a ticket with the numbers 1,2, and 3. Who could be that dumb? Go for the birthday numbers, you fool.

They also had that Sir Lancelot dribble. "Sir Lancelot/Too hot to trot/ Giving the ladies/ All that he really got". This is what we got to listen to when timeless classics like "Ghost Dad" were at the Multiplex. How wonderful! This was one of those tunes you would tilt your head back and break out our arms repeatedly. Then, you bob your head from side to side. I looked like I had a stroke on the dance floor. Thank the Big Guy from Up Above that we left those dances in the past with the Biker shorts we did it in. A real nightmare. How many artists back then looked like the frontman to Living Colour, too many to count on my hand.

The aforementioned nameless friend I have also loved Sending All My Love. Go figure! Linear were the male version of Wilson Philips. They all looked as if they wore Drakkor Noir. That's it, no more needs to be said about them. Some dilweed actually got the idea to blast this from his car as he drove straight ahead just when I was about walk in through School doors. You don't hear about these guys anymore. Buried in the past with Tara Kemp compact discs and the word 'compact disc', itself. By the way, did anyone see Tara Kemp in her videos. She thought she was a scandalous Debbie Gibson.

What would the early 90s be without out that Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit video playing in heavy rotation on MTV [Hows that reality show foray working out for them?] and TBS' "Alternative Express". They [I don't know who, but if I did they wouldn't be 'they' would they? That's too many they's in one sentence.] say that things happen for a reason. If Kurt did not go, we wouldn't remember that mid-'89 to 1993 period so well, would we? When I first saw the video, I, like everyone else, couldn't make out what he was saying. No disrespect to the dead, but he sounded as if he had muck in his mouth. "Innaaaa row now and contagious." The President of MTV really tried force feeding my generation that grunge. At the time, they thought this was big and that it stay around longer than Dave Grohl's stint in the Foo Fighters. If only they knew. They liked it because wanted that Janis Joplin sound to come back around. Guys of my time went from liking LL Cool J to this. I always admired them for the cover to Nevermind. How true. How true. That and they're responsible for putting Warrant out of business.

There is nothing wrong with remembering the early into the mid 90s for its 'modern punk rock' music. The early 90s had heart. You have to give it that. We had Vanessa Williams, Kathy Troccoli, and Amy Grant. That was the music you would listen to when you were on your way to School. When Baby, Baby came out, I remember thinking, "Eww, Amy has lost her power as the Queen of Christian music". SHE CROSSED OVER! Nooooooo. She's the lady who provided us with thought provoking Christmas songs in Target commercials. This can't be! Say it ain't, Mary Jo!" Her songs like That's What Love is For and I Will Remember You were so sincere. This was wholesome and perfect for that "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" and "CBS' The Torkelsons" mini moment. When I listened to those, I thought of a little girl iceskating and then falling, only to have a woman help her up. Can't you just hear a live audience going, "Awwwwwwww", when one of her songs from '91 starts. This was when you had naughty songs by R&B artists like Lisa Fisher.

Clothes & Accessories of the Early 90s

It's okay to break out your Mother's hip pouch, as we called them then, while reading this. Only now, never go outdoors with it. Only Seniors should be seen wearing one out in public.

Do you retain what I said in my last article? "We wore the same clothes, ate the same foods, and listened to the same artists for three years." Today is nothing like the old days. You won't see anyone wearing those 2011 New York shirts in 2014. In the early 90s, you could get away with wearing clothes from 1989.

We were different from most our age in today's world. We wore cardigans, blazers and ruffled dresses. With Jive Bunny, the swing revival came into true fruition. Hispanic males looked as if they had stepped out of a 30s with those Mustard suits of theirs. That didn't last for too long. You can say something really belonged to that '89-'90 spurt. In about '87 or so, ladies were beginning to wear dresses with small polka dots on them. The guys took it one step further with Polka dots. They even had fitted short sleeve polka dot shirts. If they wore bow ties, then they would been "good boys". When they didn't have those on, it was the silk shirts. I guess it was of interest to them to look like they were in a 'New Jack Swing' group. They looked like their Fathers, but still acted like boys.

I didn't give it much attention. I should of been asking myself why I wanted to look like a cross between the "We can do it lady" and "a farmer". Warning, what I'm about to tell you will burn your eyes. Picture this, it's '91, I had the neon orange bandana, Pink shirt with the sleeves turned up, slouch socks, the Trainers (Sneakers, that is) and [GUH] tapered shortalls. I thought I was 'boss'. Was I ever wrong? Orange and purple were the early 90s, when think about it.

Do you know what's coming back? Floral prints. Let me get my puff paints and tell you if I really care. It was in vogue to actually dress like it was a Sunday morning. Sometimes, the whole family had them. Your Mother, younger sister, you, and your cousin who came to visit. Did I mention we seemed to a thing for gaudy designs on our shirts from the late 80's to the early 90s.

While 'love saw no color' then, urban youth did. Malcolm X hats were only to be worn by 'those who get him'. Those and Starter hats were turned backwards at every food court near you. It's amazing how subliminal things were back then. Imagine seeing a guy with a Starter hat and his buddy in an 'X' hat. What springs to mind? I shouldn't have to explain the joke. A good comedian doesn't. Can anyone tell me why we thought we were 'deep' wearing Dwayne Wayne flip-up shades or those cropped jackets which made Valley girls look like Matadors? If I had a dime for every lady over the age of 35 wearing a 'Don't Worry Be Happy' shirt, I'd be living in a mansion. Wow, a smiley face under the saying, how convenient…NOT!

Here's something you don't see anymore. I'm going to really dig in to the past for this one. Four words, jumper jumpsuit playsuit overalls. These appeared out nowhere with the Surfwear pants. It made sense for boys to go from wearing Jams (or the bootlegs) in the summertime and Surfwear pants in the fall. We just wouldn't let the 60s revival cease. They were accompanied with suspenders and a neon fanny pack. Some people had them hiked up so high they made it look like Humpty Dumpty was a trendsetter. They were rather poofy around the pelvis. I take it that was good for some guys. They couldn't go wrong with them when they were on a date.

I grew tired of the tribal print. I seem to mentally recollect that those were the only shirts my generation wouldn't wear oversized. Vest, no problem. Polos and Izods, of course. Tribal shirts. Naw. Heck, we even wore airbrushed shirts with one side tucked in our pants and other just out. If a girl had her boyfriends' name on her shirt, then the rest of us knew to keep our paws off him. We went for her with our slam books. My younger cousin had a neon paint splatter shirt. That kinda thing grabbed us, graffiti shirts were great also. A guy danced in our School hall with a graffiti tee on.'92 was the last year for the varsity jacket/leather jacket fad. Surprisingly, no one at my school got a patch of the first letter of their name to put on that red and white varsity jacket. It wouldn't be out of the ordinary in that Bat-logoed time.

How much are those early Super Soakers with "the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" colors worth today? Could that orange tip be anymore less bearable? These were 'badd with a second d' (I'm gonna stop now) at pool parties in the summer. Someone always got my hair with one of them. It was just after I went to the beauty shop to get it done so I could pick up a boy toy while I was there. "Bradley, I'm going to get you [figuratively], even if it's the last thing I do."

Now on to the Overly Expensive Name Brand stuff

I want my money, Generra. My gym shirt changes colors after a game of Dodgeball, too. Did you know that?

We weren't given a chance, sadly. Those my age wore KangaROOS when they were seven,and looked like one at the age of seventeen {She's only seventeen, whewwwww yeahhhhh. Feel the energy}. One name you will always hear leak out of our mouths is "Z. Cavariccis". The pants were $70. I suppose that's not so bad when you see males lining up at Foot Locker for $170 sneakers with a popular retired athlete's [That they probably won't meet, ever] last name on them. The Zs were a far cry from the amount spent on those silly 8-ball jackets that were all the rage then. You were still a nobody if you didn't have the I.O.U. Sweater paired with Z. Cavariccis. Now you find I.O.U., Camp Beverly Hills and Club Monaco sweaters all at your local Goodwill. Dumbfounded as to why? So, am I.

I was going to die if I couldn't get a Hypercolor shirt from JC Penny. I remember there were rules to the shirt.

1. Never practice any sport in them.
2. Never wash them in a Maytag.
3. Don't go to Truth or Dare parties in them.

The idea was to keep these clothes as new as possible. Generra was destined to be up there with Zubaz workout pants to be in the 'ugly early 90s clothing Hall of Fame'. I thought they would be around forever and that the 90s would be a new age much closer to THE FUTURE. How could they not? There were Hypercolor pants (Don't quote me on that), Pop Qwiz Popcorn [Popcorn that come out a different color], and Oilies (stickers that changed colors). I loved the color of my teal Hypercolor shirt so much that I wanted to get my Slap Wrap airbrushed in that color at the Mall. Once people like Stefani broke the roles, the idea of getting more had gone out the window. I knew someone who wore theirs into the late 90s, though.

Funny, when I talk about these brands, it's like I'm talking about people I knew. "Major Damage is the twin to Used Jeans in that they look like their labels imply of them." It appeared as every 'coverall' we had on, had a name to it. We went from "Boss" in '90 to "Bongo" in '92. There was a point, when in my gut, I wanted it all to stop. BODY GLOVE!!! Literally, a hand for the symbol. Great, I could put it in my closet with BIG DOG, DUCK HEAD, AND TRIPLE FAT GOOSE!!! Leaves nothing to the imagination, if you ask me. We never took a good look at ourselves, back then.

College was really important to us all still in the early 90s. Would you believe AACA (African American College Alliance) sweaters are remnants from that era. The College sweater craze almost got out of hand like with Georgetown Hoyas apparel. In '92, everything still had to match. So, someone had UCLA sweaters and sweatpants. It got so bad, we saw people with subpar grades in School wearing a YSU sweater. He was just wearing it because he was a fan of their team.

I'll tell what was worst! Most members of my generation wish they could forget the Cross Colors phase. Guys were walking around looking like oranges, cranberries, limes and raspberries. Initially, Chess King sold them, beginning in 1990. They were hip hop style, or so we thought. I remember men getting into arguments over the Yo! MTV Raps/ Rap City [He pronounced it as if he were saying rhapsody]/Pump It Up feud. Everyone at my School caught wind of them after they were featured on MTV's "House of Style" with Cindy Crawford. They went overboard with it, but Color Colors were very important to that bridge/transition. Macy's carrying them in 1993 was big news. You can say they were the first FUBUs and Meccas. It ran its course in the middle part of the mid 90s. The raw attitude conjoined to the clothing is what sold it. Very 90s, at that. Ironically, people weren't wearing them for their purpose. They did bring people of all religions, races, genders together in a New York minute. The colors only got darker as the years went by.

Those Bo Knows introduced us all to font overlapping. They remind me of those "Sales Leadership Club Kit" ads in the magazines and digest of that time, now. What didn't overrun something else then? We wore colored shorts over even more colored shorts with two pairs of scrunch socks. I did, anyway. Off-topic, sorry. The best Bo Knows shirts weren't the Nike ones, but the knock-offs with loud messages. Some of them were dumb. I looked on Ebay and found a "Bo Doesn't Know Hockey" shirt. I mean, 'No Doy' (I'm on a roll). What buried it altogether was when they began to look as if they were written by someone my age at that time. "Bo Knows Your Mother". Why don't they make a yo Mama joke while they were at it, maturity a go with those producers.

The Hangout

That Grim Reaper most definitely puts the 'amuse' in Amusement Park.

What was it with the carnivals? MGM, Seaworld AND Universal Studios were available to visit at that hour. Yet, everyone was at the State Fair. I don't know what got into us. It's like we were harboring an inner child that needed to come out in the early 90s. Another guestimate would be that we were not sure of what was to come in the future, back then. We savored what was left for us to enjoy in the 20th century before it ended.

When it wasn't the Carnival, it was the local Arcade {Big deal then, gone today} or the playground. Your heard that right. A group who called themselves "the crew" always hung out at the playground after School,High School that is. There they would talk about crushes, beepers, shoes and Tommy Wu who was 'living large and in charge'.. Don't ask. If the playground was over populated, they would go to the park. There wasn't a worry in the world accept for a blemish. Speaking of blemish, remember how overemotional girls were in those Clearsil commercials?

Come to Momma

Food courts were a wonderful place to 'kick it' with amigos. Food was glistening in those days. You could smell them from the bag. Lots and lots of grease and elbow work went into it. I know I would, in this order, have a Double Decker [pre-Mad Cow and E.Coli outbreaks], then a frozen yogurt and a Le Menu TV dinner. Bear in mind, this was when we did not question if the beef in a Taco Bell taco was made of horse or rat, my 'buds' {Taste buds, you thought I meant the slang word right? D'oh!} just knew it was good. This was during the last days of J-ELLO pudding pops {Poor '93-'14ers, they'll never know what licking an original chocolate and vanilla pudding pop by J-ELLO felt like). Wendy's and Burger King were in their prime. I'd run to them if I had a taco at School the day before.

So, Any Period Pieces Made Today?

Yep, someone definitely had the 'round tabletop fade'. I kid you not.

Ah, the early 90s. You won't see many movies set in that time. Mainstream America will just write it off as a grunge shake. The main character would be apathetic and wear a Mudhoney shirt under his flannel. Did outcasts wear flannel in that time? Of course, but they resembled Lumberjacks when they wore it and used it for its purpose, to keep you warm. Grungees {As I call them}, just had on a dirty colored shirt and pants that you would find in a back alley somewhere. That was in the fall of '92. It was hard to distinguish the Grungees from Boarders in their "Stussy" and "No Fear" shirts.

You get my point. Hollywood executives just don't seem to get it right ever. The Cold Case episodes that take place in the early 90s are quite accurate. Producers are close-minded when it comes to depicting the early 90s. They don't capture the youthfulness of it. Where's the story of a girl who wants to be on Nia Peeples' "The Party Machine"?The 90s don't come together like ad executes would have you believe. You couldn't listen to music from 1992 in 1995. You would get laughed out the classroom. The mid-90s were when I realized I missed the 1980s and the tacked-on early 90s (somewhat) with all of its awfulness, too.

As you can see from reading this, I could write a book on the early 90s. The recently cancelled "Surviving Jack" did a great job, just about, giving you an idea of what 1991 was like. I hate the theme song to it. My brother was trying to rent "Killer Clowns From Out of Space" and "They Live" from the video store in 1991. TV was heaps better in '91 than it is now.

Everything from "Towelhead" to "The Wood" covers the early 90s perfectly. I've questioned if "Napoleon Dynamite" was set in the early 90s. It could be. "Stupid Hype" is one to look to at, too. Perfectionist may pick it apart after some scenes. I have to throw in "The Wolf of Wall Street" along with "Pain and Gain" in there. You can hear a "Milli Vanilli" mention on "The Hard Times of RJ Berger." I believe the name of that episode was "The Rebound". There's a nice nod to the early 90s in the Harold and Kumar flicks. They put Neil Patrick Harris on the map ["Look at that, we have a little Doogie Howser here." Am I the only one who remembers hearing that]

The best history clips were actually from that time. You could watch any show from then. Those are better than the recreations of the time.
Look at this Liquid Television Beavis and Butthead short below on Youtube.

Cop Rock. The fat lady sang in the last episode, correct?

The Wrap Up

The greatest hair carving I saw was one of an eye. Talk about eyes behind your head.

Nothing lasts forever. Before you knew it all of the men were threadbared in Ben Davis shirts and hats with an illegal plant [Not in Nevada] on them. The first three years of the 90s were arguably the best out of the whole decade. 1991 World Series, alone, solidifies that statement. The Nineties were monotonous. The only ones who will tell you they weren't would be the children of the 1990s. That's because they were children. They didn't know what a NAFTA was at the time. They were watching Barney and thinking nothing of world events. It does sound like I'm pontificating a bit.

Back to the subject, basically, in the early 90s, we saw…

1. MC Hammer's transformation into just Hammer.
2. Saw Parker Lewis go from being a perfect immortal to be simply being Parker Lewis, no different from any other human being. In other words, Parker COULD lose.
3. Planet Hollywood usurp Hard Rock Cafe.
4. A high top fade with a ducktail and/or rattail behind it.
5. The first issues of "Entertainment Weekly".
6. The ADIDAS Equipment logo first.
7. The revamped Mickey Mouse cast members go on to form "The Party".
8. The advent of Springer and Maury shows when they were trying to compete with Geraldo and Donahue.
9. People wear black with neon colored shirts.
10. What a Dummy, the Howard and the Hendersons tv show and Scorch succumb to ALF [How could you not get that dynamic right?]
11. Peers reciting Andrew Dice Clay jokes. Hickory Dickery Dock.
12. The other channels jump on the primetime toon bandwagon. "Fish Police" and "Capital Critters" anyone? Didn't someone get offended by something in ABC's "CC"? Perhaps it was too far up on the politically incorrect ladder.

In short, this was the period when some people wanted change immediately while making the most out of newly introduced culture from the late 80s. Pants got a little baggier, but there were acid wash cargo jeans with zippers on them. Look through a Sears Wishbook from that time, you'll see what I'm talking about. The music had life to it and wasn't putrid like that Bittersweet Symphony or that Peaches song. I could have a field day listing all of the 90s songs my ears couldn't take. Society obviously went MMM MMM MMM for more Fiona Apple. Couldn't help myself with that one. Listen to Stacy Earl's Love Me All Up . Life is too short to be sullen and pouty. When you think about it, the same thing happens in every decade. You work and then come home only to work again tomorrow. That last sentence sounded as cynical as a Joan Osbourne song.

Oh well, I have to take you back to your time. Undercuts, tearjerker candy, globe earrings and all of the talk about a move a Supreme Court Justice made is tiring you. You'll be speaking of 10s the way I speak of the early 90s in another decade or so.

What do you know…

Are those Guess jeans she's wearing? The early 90s never say die.

Well, I'm 'Audi 5000'. 'Peace to the Middle East' and 'Word to the Mother', 'yo'.
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