A list of things from the 90s we need to get over
Your Tamagotchi died a long, long time ago hun
Everything seemed pretty chill back in the 90s, back when we were 90s kids doing 90s things in the 90s. A great decade with good vibes; 90s vibes. Bill Clinton playing sax rather than Donald Trump inciting racial hatred, Jarvis Cocker mooning Michael Jackson live at the Brits rather than ISIS transmitting its hatred across the internet.
As I said, they were simpler, purer times.
Nostalgia for the era when you were young and the world seemed less terrifying is an inevitability. But there are some things from the 90s we need to forget. Sometimes you can only advance the culture by calling out some of the bullshit that went before.
The Tamagotchi your parents threw away in 1999 is dead. It is dead. The Tamagotchi your parents threw away in 1999 – the Tamagotchi you loved like your own child – is festering in an anonymous landfill somewhere very, very far away and it’s run out of battery. Your Tamagotchi is dead.
And I’m sorry, I really am, my heart is bleeding for you, it bleeds for your deceased Tamagotchi. But after a period of mourning, after the tears you’ll no doubt be shedding, we have to move on with our lives, by you know, maybe buying a real pet.
Nobody, nobody has that much PVA glue.
Putting your inflatable chair out in the garden back in ’99, when the sun was shining and birds were singing, with the wind blowing through your hair, wearing low key vibesy clothes – you were the King or Queen of all that you surveyed. You sat down. You stayed there for a couple of hours. You tried to move your leg and that was when you realised that inflatable chairs were bullshit, because nothing adheres to a surface quite like your flesh and the balloon-like skin of an inflatable chair from the 90s. Seriously. Buy one now and try it again. It sucks. It really, really sucks.
They say heroin’s bad for you but I doubt it’s addictive as Sunny Delight. Do you know how much sugar one bottle of Sunny Delight had in it back in 1998? All of it. One bottle of Sunny Delight back in 1998 contained all of the sugar. Honestly. Look it up. All of the sugar was in there.
It goes without saying that things can never again be what they were, the way they were. Bear that in mind when I tell you that a few years ago now, on a particularly fuzzy and pointless day during my first year at uni, we all downloaded Pokemon Red onto our phones. We couldn’t wait. Pokemon! Remember Pokemon lol, we all said. How much fun was that? Remember Jigglypuff, remember Weedle, remember how Ash never once banged one of his female companions haha!
Smash cut to ten minutes later, when we’d realised that Pokemon Red is a boring, boring game. Think about it. Think deeply. Pokemon wasn’t a laugh, no, Pokemon is walking around for miles, constantly being bothered by fucking Metapods, wishing you had a bicycle and a limitless supply of rare candy. We stopped playing after ten minutes, marvelling at the at the colossal attention spans we possessed back when we were 90s kids.
I’ll tell you who had a good 1990s: Will Smith. What a 1990s he had. Here was a streetwear style that matched the optimism of the decade: colourful tracksuits, Zubaz pants and a mouth-watering collection of Jordans. He did well. Compare and contrast with Yeezy Season 3 in 2016, where the brightest colour was a putrid shade of mud and all of Kanye’s models were told not to smile.
Will was smiling in the 90s. But it’s hard to escape the feeling with Fresh Prince Will that this was as good as it got for him. Will Smith never had a better three minutes than this, never made a more entertaining film than Independence Day. Will Smith isn’t a man for all seasons, he’s man for a very specific time and place: Bel Air, around 1994, chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool – you know how the rest of it goes. We need to let him go.
How many times can you watch a really good looking young guy drown for entertainment purposes before you admit you’re a sadist?
Pringles carry cases
Lunchtimes in the 1990s were brutally divided. Between the haves and the have nots, between those who had Pringles carry cases and those who didn’t. And you know what? There are enough divisions in the world without creating another one as devastating as this. There’s actually nothing wrong with eating Pringles out of a tube btw. Like, the Pringles still taste exactly the same. The only reason you carried them around in a little case back in 1997 was to make yourself feel better than the kids who didn’t have a case, you dick.
Let’s play a game called Will’s Big Game Of Completely Arbitrary Choices.
The game works like this: I take two completely unconnected things and make you choose between them, because I’m a nasty, sick person. This week I’m going to make you choose between Clueless and Mean Girls. Yeah that’s right, you can only pick one and you can never watch the other one again. I have a theory: everyone picks Mean Girls. Even you, you big 90s kid, even you’re going to pick Mean Girls. And as a result of this totally arbitrary choice I put it to you that liking Mean Girls more means you can’t get all dewey -eyed and nostalgic about Clueless. Deep down, when push comes to shove, you’d leave it in the 90s if you couldn’t see Mean Girls again.
Manchester United’s treble
You know what’s not going to make Louis Van Gaal’s impossibly mediocre Manchester United team perform any better? Constantly banging on about 1999. That is not going to improve anything guys.
L’Oréal Kids “no tears” shampoo
No tears they said, no tears you thought, as you rubbed it into your hair. No tears you thought, as the acidic foam ate away your poor little eyes. They lied.
Britpop was responsible for a lot of good things. But its main legacy, the legacy that endures with painful consequences like a pop music Versailles treaty, is the million plus covers of this song you will hear in karaoke bars before you die. And not a single one of them will make you feel like you’re watching Oasis play Knebworth in ’96. They’ll make you think the guy singing it with Noel Gallagher’s hair is a total dick.
This is how Justin rolled in the 90s, and I’d argue it constitutes enough evidence to suggest that 90s Justin Timberlake isn’t something we want to be nostalgic about:
One word, two blood-soaked syllables: Iraq.
Berol Handwriting pens
If these were any good you’d still own one now.
As part of our laudable ongoing effort to appear sophisticated and intelligent and deeper than we actually are, we sometimes align ourselves with really cringe things like Nirvana. They were basically just a dude in an old cardigan who refused to wash his hair.
Imagine you’d spent all the hours you spent playing Crash Bandicoot doing something productive. You could have learned Italian. You could have learned how to make shoes. You could have learned anything you wanted to with those hours you spent eating wumpa fruit and collecting crystals. Now you don’t have the time to learn Italian do you? You fucked it mate.
Furbies had beaks but they didn’t have wings. They always looked like they were plotting something and they refused to learn to swear no matter how hard you tried to teach them. It says a lot about the 90s that they were probably the scariest single part of the decade.
“Back in my day,” drones on some old guy who went to his first party before you were a foetus. The laziest kind of thinking belongs to the people who start sentences with the words or sentiment “back in my day”. I’m sure things were great back in your day, mate. Talking to 90s ravers about their day is painful, simply because they can only see the good things about their day, the things they think make their day better than our day. Did they really have more drugs, stronger drugs? Did they really go harder than us? Nobody fucking knows so why bother having the argument. One thing I do know is that in 25 years time we’ll be doing the same thing, and 25 years after that our kids will do the same.
The Lion King
Look: you’re allowed to like The Lion King. You like The Lion King, I like The Lion King, we all like The Lion King. But simply admitting that isn’t enough for some people, they have to intellectualise it by pointing out how similar the plot is to Hamlet’s. Great. Way to kill the vibe.
Calling anything “the ultimate 90s” something
“Kate, Naomi, Linda, Cindy, and Christy were the ultimate 90s girls.”
“Melanie B, Melanie C, Emma, Geri, and Victoria were the ultimate 90s girls.”
How about they were successful girls in the 1990s and we just leave it at that. Is that alright?