Obsessing Over the Olden Days: ‘90s Pop Culture Nostalgia

Ankhet Holmes March 20, 2013 1

The Boy Meets World cast. Source: IGN

While the sensation of lusting after the good ol’ days might not be new, the Internet and its vast storage container of television shows, songs, and memes lets people relive their past glory days more than ever before.Nineties kids have jumped into this trend with enthusiasm, creating lists and blogs of memorable cultural icons in television and music. Such reminiscing is peppered with sighs of “Everything was better back then!”

When talking about television, nostalgic lists are sure to include shows like “Boy Meets World,” “As Told By Ginger,” “Lizzie Macguire” and “The Rugrats.”  Television stations are feeding the ’90s mania.

Nickelodeon has reprised its late night showings of ’90s classics such as “All That,” “Hey Arnold” and “Kenan & Kel.” Disney has also promised the new show, “Girl Meets World.” It will be a spin off of “Boy Meets World” and feature the original characters, Corey and Topanga, and their daughter as she follows in her father’s footsteps.

So what exactly draws people to the old shows, music and movies of their youth?  One fired up Archer senior rants, “Old TV shows  talked about issues relevant in our lives and educated kids. TV seemed so much more diverse back then, in terms of race, the issues addressed, and even the type of women portrayed in shows.”

She adds, “Back in the 90s and early 2000s they talked about racism in shows like ‘The Proud Family’ and ‘That’s So Raven.’ In ‘Boy Meets World’ there was episodes on physical abuse and the double standard between genders. Now on Disney all the shows feature overacting characters trying to get famous. And actual important causes like ‘Going Green’ and ‘Making Healthy Eating Choices’ are sent to commercial breaks.”

Though not everyone has such strong views, others do seem to find some important aspect lacking in teen television shows today.

The same phenomenon can be seen in music. While today’s music is quite impressive and varied—it’s not odd to hear Nicki Minaj and Mumford and Sons being sung simultaneously in Archer’s halls—there’s still a special love for popular anthems of the 90s and early 2000s.

Archer students have fond memories of early Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, and Aaron Carter. For their first Friday music session, the seniors played songs they deemed “classic fun jams.” They included hits such as “Dirty Pop” by NSYNC. It was apparent that the senior’s were enjoying themselves. They hopped up to do the “Soldier Boy,” and happily bopped along to the Spice Girls.

Some teens look beyond their own childhoods for nostalgic entertainment. There’s a loyal following for The Brat Pack, the nickname for the group of actors who starred in popular movies of the 80s like the ubiquitous “Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink.” If you want to check out real ’90s television drama, take a look at “My So Called Life.”  And of course Archer girls have the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire” theme song down.

Now all this reminiscing isn’t meant to hate on popular culture of today. Many believe that there are great television shows, movies and music happening right now too.

Just take a look at the clubs based on popular culture today. At Archer we have a My Little Pony Club, a Geek Club in love with “Doctor Who,” and a “Glee” fan club. People love their Taylor Swift and Wiz Khalifa. Mention “Adventure Time,” which is “the crazy and weird but hilariously quotable” television show on Nickleodeon, and students from three different grades will serenade you with songs of Jake the dog and Finn the human.

And after a particularly intense episode of “Pretty Little Liars” or any other beloved television show, students share all the juicy details in the halls the next day. But when people aren’t happy in their entertainment options or are feeling nostalgic, they often turn to what they enjoyed in the past.

Old television shows and music aren’t going anywhere soon. They can’t. They’re frozen in time, ready to be happily rediscovered whenever anyone needs a little taste of their youth. There’s an interesting and magical aspect in returning to the activities enjoyed when younger.

To experience this, just take a good browse through the backlogs of the internet and get reacquainted with memories from your youth and beyond.

One Comment »

  1. Kristin Taylor March 20, 2013 at 8:29 PM -

    I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry at the idea of the 90s as “the olden days.”

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane…but I think you’ve forgotten one pivotal 90s classic: Buffy the Vampire Slayer!