I am not even sure what the Australian stereotype is from the American viewpoint, exactly. They are farther away from us than outer space is, but they’re still here, somewhere on Earth. They have cavalier attitudes. Kinda leathery. I guess they are all rugged and outdoorsy? Especially our Australian writer, Saxon. So outdoorsy. And of course, everything in their land is trying to kill them, always, from every angle. They all survive, though, and some of them even become big name stars!
My friends say that guitarists are off-limits for me, but since you’re fictional anyway I’m gonna go for it. In an era of strange and uninteresting male MTV stars, you stood out as at least a hunk. A slacker, nihilist, sarcastic hunk. What a dreamboat.
You were grungy, aloof, a little dumb, and hot. We liked your punky skinny jeans and your idiotic lyrics. You spent a lot of time thinking of ways to get more sleep. Same, Trent.
I always like to consider myself as “timeless.” I am Amanda Wood no matter what decade or location I am in, and that’s fine by me! Sometimes, though, I do feel like I might be very “90s” about things. It was the ten year span that I was an impressionable teen, so it makes sense that it would leave its stain on me for the rest of my life. And really, with hindsight making things clearer, it is probably a symptom of the ’90s to feel as though you were alone, or in any way apart from the others. A generation of alienated youths probably didn’t have a solid cohort base. I know buzzfeed makes a lot of lists that only ’90s Kids Would Understand, but I often wonder which of us would even bother making that kind of thing?
As an old person now, I derive a little satisfaction seeing that my classmates don’t really want to bother setting up class reunions. We kept the friends we wanted to keep. No one really wants to put forth that kind of effort, anyway. None of us really wants to awkwardly see how much we’ve aged or discuss shattered dreams or whatever. It’s nice. Thanks, class of ’98. I probably like you all better because it turns out we were all as antisocial as I thought only I was! Bonding from afar.
With that in mind, I always planned to preface this article with a disclaimer saying that my impression of the ’90s is probably extremely personal and just one tiny rare facet that is nothing like anyone else’s experience. But, no. I had a teen time probably like everyone else’s, at least in rural Ohio. I’ve heard it suggested that rural Ohio is kind of surprisingly horrible in many ways, so maybe the rest of you dear readers had some sort of decade of playing in flower fields and volunteering your time to good causes. Well la dee da, sunshine. Good for you.
Brutal fact of life: Gaming will never, ever be as cool as it was in the late 80s/early 90s. Why? Several factors contribute to it: 80s/90s hairstyles, general inability to see how much we would laugh at ourselves in the future, etc. But the biggest thing that made the time so awesome was that it was all so new. Sure, games had been around for over a decade at that point. But after the video game crash in ’84, the future of gaming was mostly relegated to being bulletpoint features on shitty home computers from Radioshack. Then came the NES, and everything exploded. Gaming, as it turned out, was the real deal. And it wasn’t going anywhere. Suddenly the entire subculture of video games went mainstream, and few people were ready for it — especially the people that quickly saw they could make a boatload of money from them.
Magazines based solely on games literally sprung up over night. The two most prominent being Electronic Gaming Monthly, and Gamepro. Immediately out of the gate, Gamepro seemed to be the far more “color by the numbers” magazine created by people who had no clue what to do with a game magazine, and were just throwing stuff together in a way they thought would look cool to kids. Featuring blindingly bright layouts (I still can only see in shades of neon pink thanks to Gamepro), giant cartoony art, and a general mishmash of coverage more suited for an ADHD-addled chimp.
Gamepro quickly garnered a reputation as being that one kid who would always scream for attention on the playground, but no one would ever come close to him for fear that he would never leave you alone again. That didn’t stop Gamepro from making money though, since this was a time when you could put out anything game-related and kids would choke it down as fast as possible. Gamepro quickly saw that their aberration of a magazine was making gobs of money, so decided to take the next logical step and made a TV show.
The 1990s had some remarkable television. Television that laid some of the groundwork for today’s greatest and most hilarious shows. Iconic television. Television that I’ll never, ever stop watching.
Sitcoms in the 90s were just the best, really. Even with some of the amazing shows of today, we’ll never get back those sick nineties fashions, haircuts, dance moves, or wacky synth noises. Sure we’ll have some reboots, and nostalgic tendencies in newer shows, but it won’t be the same.
The 90’s decade was a glamorous year for any of us in the teenage bracket. Sure, Seventeen Magazine had “new clothes” that you should buy in order to be popular, but truthfully they were just expensive new versions of the attire the rest of us found in thrift stores, the closets or floors of friends and friends’ family, or, occasionally, pretty much just in the actual street.
In the 1990s, I was in my impressionable teenage years. Well, impressionable-ish. I probably was no more impressionable then as I am now, but, much like now, then, I knew what I liked and what I despised. Regrettably, I must confess that I probably hated more things than I liked, much as I still do today, although I try to turn hates into “devastating indifference,” which might be worse in some cases. Back then, I liked the brand new Comedy Central, still in its infancy. And I downright loved Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. And I deeply appreciated Dr. Katz’s sullen secretary, Laura.
When she wasn’t being outright hostile to other people, her baseline character was forbidding, unwelcoming, and uninterested. Laura was reticent. That was her entire persona. I loved it then, and I still do now. Here is a small list of reasons she was a sort of role model for me, although not entirely because I didn’t really want to be a Terrible Person, but there is still this appeal.
Sometimes I watch old dumb videos on YouTube because I have no life. Literally. My life consists of getting up, going to work, coming home, and going to bed. Be it old commercials from the eighties, or terrible training videos from fast food restaurants, it continuously fascinates me to no end. There’s something about watching these old videos that genuinely brings me back to a time that, obviously, isn’t coming back. It relaxes and soothes in a way that few things can. And while I’m aware that living life with rose-tinted glasses can be dangerous, it’s usually always fun to put them on occasionally to see just how modern-day life has evolved and changed over the years. Also I’m pretty sure I once heard my history teacher tell me that learning from the past is just as important as living in the present, so there’s that whole thing to pull out of my ass when someone wants to question why I’m obviously insane.
Below you’ll find just a few of the YouTube channels and videos that I use to escape into at times. Sometimes to just relax, other times to actually learn from the past, or at least laugh at just how dumb everyone was back in the day.