Kids these days don’t know what they’re missing. The ’90s were the best, and I’m not just saying that because I was five in 1990, therefore those were the wonder years for me personally, I’m thinking they were the wonder years for the whole world too.
The whole world, except me, Ellyn. Because I grew up in an Orthodox Jewish household where pretty much all of the below was forbidden.
Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Birthday parties at McDonald’s, when we weren’t chastised for being obese and having high cholesterol. We really just wanted the toy that came with our happy meal (Barbie or Hot Wheels) and the Playplace. But we ate fries, not stupid apple slices.
McDonald’s is not kosher, therefore I did not eat there until I was fourteen and being rebellious and past Happy Meals.
2. Ball pits. Kids today have ball pits too, but their moms drench them in Purell after their fun fests. Whenever I went to Chuck E. Cheese’s, I felt like the parents just disappeared but no one ever worried about getting kidnapped or bullies pushing us off slides. Then we went home and jumped off the stairs into our own ball pit made of pillows. Awesome.
I actually did get to go to a ball pit, but only because there was one at the local IKEA.
3. Pop Qwiz Popcorn. Seriously why doesn’t this exist anymore? Is it blue? Green? Purple? You won’t know til you pop it! Best idea ever. We ate Kraft mac and cheese daily, along with sugary cereal, hotdogs, fruit snacks (aka fun fruits), Butterfingers, Bubble Tape, Dunkaroos, Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, Ring Pops, and those cheese and crackers with the red stick. The world didn’t force us to eat less carbs and more veggies. We were kids on sugar rushes, and it didn’t kill us.
I wasn’t allowed to chew gum because it makes “you look like a cow.” I wore them down until I finally got permission to chew one piece on special Jewish holidays.
4. TV shows like Full House, Family Matters, Clarissa Explains It All, Salute Your Shorts, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Hey Dude, Ren and Stimpy, Guts (Aggro crag!), Rugrats, All That, Blossom, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug, Power Rangers, Saved by the Bell, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Beavis and Butthead, Sesame Street when Cookie Monster still ate cookies, and WWF (all when Mom wasn’t home). Stick Stickly rocks.
I was seriously traumatized because I could never keep up with all the playground gossip about Stephanie and Michelle. And I experience post-traumatic stress when people make Saved by the Bell references.
5. BookIt when Pizza Hut was cool. I was a chubby kid for a while there, and I blame BookIt. I read and ate personal pan pizzas voraciously for pretty much all of elementary and middle school. I read every single Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps, and American Girl book ever written.
So despite the fact that Babysitter’s Club is “trashy,” I was allowed to read them, but until Bryan explained BookIt to me just now, I had no idea you could get free pizza for it. That is beyond unfair.
6. They don’t make movies like they used to. Huggabunch is probably one of the creepiest, most delightful movies I’ve ever seen. So is Look Who’s Talking, Rainbow Brite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Big, Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Karate Kid, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, or anything with Rick Moranis or Arnold Schwartzenegger. Most of these might be made in the 80s but they were certainly over-viewed in the 90s…by kids
The only one of those movies I’ve seen is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and that’s because my college roommates made me watch it.
7. We had practical items, like themed sleeping bags and lunch boxes that were actually boxes with thermoses inside. For example, I had a Popples sleeping bag, my sister had Teddy Ruxpin (the animatronic talking bear). We had mini back packs, Trapper Keepers, Lisa Frank folders, and WalkMans (men?) with clip ons. It also took us 10 hours to make a mix tape using the radio and waiting for certain songs to play, but that was okay.
I had a sticker book, does that count?
8. Nintendo, mostly Duck Hunt, Sega, GameBoy, troll dolls, a thousand Barbies, the first Big Wheels and Power Wheels, kitchen sets with unhealthy foods (again McDonald’s themed), Lite Brite, Easy Bake oven which really wasn’t safe for children, My Little Pony, Little People (at least it was politically correct), pogs, Oregon Trail, Super Soakers, and Nerf guns.
Yeah, my mom banned Barbies and I had to beg for a My Little Pony. Needless to say, I was super pissed when my dad bought my brother a Wii.
9. Stretch pants (with stirrups), slap bracelets, scrunchies that matched every outfit created, sneakers with neon laces, side pony tails, curled and poofed bangs, bowl cuts, Tommy Hilfiger, skorts, and Starter jackets.
All of my clothes came from Land’s End and L.L. Bean. My friends used to give me their hand-me-downs so I could look normal.
10. I probably missed a billion things, which just proves the ’90s was the best. Maybe we need a ’90s theme party for Miriam to experience this phenomena?