Between my weak stomach and my weak immune system, I’ve been taking my fair share of sick days lately. (I always feel bad calling in sick to work, but I’m pretty sure my coworkers don’t want me throwing up in my cubicle trash can.) Usually I’m semi-functional even when I’m sick, but lately I’ve just been getting knocked-on-my-ass, stay-in-bed-all-day sick. So I’ve been spending that time marathoning the first TV show I was ever obsessed with:
Re-watching this show now that I’m old enough to know what’s going on has made me realize a) how many things I unintentionally quote from this show, b) how it was kind of inappropriate for me to be watching this show at 6 years old, and relatedly, c) that the majority of my sexual education outside of “The Talk” came from various Friends episodes. (Like that condoms only work about 97% of the time, and yes, they do put that on the box.) Oh, and I’m pretty sure that the popularity of “the Rachel” haircut is the sole reason why I spent 19 years of my life hating and obsessively straightening my curly hair.
Re-watching Friends has also made me realize that ’90s nostalgia is officially in full swing. My theory is that it’s because people my age associate ’90s culture with our childhoods, so as we enter an increasingly depressing adult world, we’re attempting to recapture a sense of child-like innocence and happiness, which is, of course, being capitalized on and re-packaged by corporations for profit.
…I’m an optimist at heart, I swear. But seriously, the ’90s are back, and here’s why.
It’s Been Over 15 Years and I Still Have To Hear About Your Goddamn Pokémon
Maybe (HAHA, okay, definitely) I just run in some particularly nerdy circles, but it is impossible to escape hearing about Pokémon. When the X&Y versions came out last year, that was all my coworkers were talking about for a solid two weeks. I will admit, I never got into the Pokémon craze the first time it came around, so I don’t really see the thrill of it. But I’m really happy for you that you caught a shiny Charizard. That’s a thing, right? And it doesn’t stop there. Now they’ve got some new online merch store called Pokémon Center opening up this summer. I’m pretty sure when that happens, Nintendo will surpass Sallie Mae for the coveted title of “Corporation Currently Making Money Hand Over Fist From Millennials”.
Pokémon isn’t the only media supporting this ’90s revival, though. A new Sailor Moon series just came out a few days ago. There’s a spin-off of Boy Meets World airing on Disney. Christ, they’re rebooting Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which is a serious affront to production values everywhere. And just in case you never got to get your boy band on back in the day, Backstreet Boys are apparently on tour again. Several of my friends went and when I checked Facebook the day after the concert, I thought I had warped back to 1996. Or rather, a parallel universe where Facebook and digital cameras existed in 1996. Even new music is starting to sound kind of ’90s influenced. Don’t try to tell me Katy Perry isn’t channeling her inner Mariah Carey diva when she hits the high notes on “Birthday.”
The Back Of Your Closet Is Now Totally Normcore
If you haven’t heard of the new fashion trend “Normcore”, that’s probably because you spend a much smaller and healthier amount of time on the internet than me. I would try to explain it, but I’m not entirely sure I fully “get” it, so you might as well Google it. As far as I can tell, it’s basically anti-fashion, consisting of wardrobe staples such as baggy stone-washed denim, Sketchers, label-less tees, fanny packs, plain sweaters, hoodies, and flannel. If you’re in doubt, just dress like the cast of Seinfeld and you’ll be fine. I’m not exaggerating; every single article I found about Normcore listed Jerry Seinfeld as the number one style muse.
And just in case you’ve been hanging onto your jelly shoes and crop tops, good news, ladies! I hope you also kept your fringed jacket and high waisted denim cutoffs, cause if so, you’re all set for festival season. If you don’t believe me, just take a stroll through Forever 21. Last time I was in there, I saw a pair of overalls. OVERALLS! The resulting flashback made me practically black out, and when I came to I’m pretty sure I was muttering “OshKosh B’Gosh” under my breath.
Is That a Pager in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
We may be attached at the hip to our smartphones, but I think we secretly long for a simpler time, when your phone only had to be charged once a week, and it took a full 20 minutes for your computer to boot up and exclaim, “You’ve got mail!” If your smartphone is good at everything except for being a phone, HTC has you covered. For a mere $90 (coincidence? I think not), you can buy a dumbphone that will pair with your smartphone and let you make and receive phone calls. We’re through the looking glass here, people. And while you’re using your primitive dialing device to order a pizza over the phone like we did in the olden days, you can download the Tamagotchi app and order a pizza for your tiny collection of pixels too. (Confession time: I never had a Tamagotchi either. My mom wouldn’t buy one for me, and they got so obnoxious my school banned them. I’m the worst ’90s kid ever. But I was up to my ears in pony bead lizards.)
Or maybe you’re putting together some songs for your sweetheart, but somehow, 30 seconds of clicking on Spotify can’t replace the painstaking craft of a mixtape. Nothing says I love you like listening to the radio for hours and borrowing other cassettes to blend together the perfect playlist. Fear not, friends, because someone actually missed the world’s worst music format enough to try and bring it back. There’s even a Cassette Store Day, similar to Record Store Day, dedicated to encouraging labels and record stores to revive the medium. No word on if Sony plans to bring back the Walkman, but there might be some big bucks there. I’m just saying, Sony. You can PayPal me a consulting fee later.
I can’t wait to see what part of the ’90s we decide to bring back next. Maybe someone will reboot The X-Files. Or maybe it’ll become hipster to use old HTML tags like blink or marquee. (I tried to actually use those in that previous sentence, but apparently WordPress doesn’t support them. TIME TO BRING ‘EM BACK!) Personally, I’m hoping for the unbridled economic expansion of the US economy of the ’90s to make a comeback, but like I said, I’m an optimist at heart. In the meantime, I still have two seasons of Friends to finish, which at the rate I keep getting sick, should last me about a week, tops.