September 2011

It's The 90s!

Everything Is Terrible (a sort of internet art collective) has made a "supercut" of people saying "It's the 90s!" in movies and TV shows from the 1990s. This is surprisingly engrossing and funny, and it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling that I get from thinking about the 90s all over again.
Maybe because everyone uses that phrase as shorthand for "We're living in the future, so don't be so stuffy and old-fashioned." That's how we felt in the 90s: we really were living in the future, and everything was as shiny and awesome as you could possibly imagine. So get with the program, and stop being such an old fuddy duddy! Talk deals on your cellular phone and fax someone! (And while you're at it, why not party like it's 1999?)

Modem Noise

For a lot of us, the sound of the 1990s is the sound of a dial-up modem going BREEEEE-EEE-EE-AAAA-EEEEE-DOODLEY-DOOOO-GHHHHZZHHHHHSHHHHHKKK! (And then a really long wait while AOL downloaded "art." No one knows what was happening when AOL told you it was "downloading art," but it basically meant "you might as well go fix yourself a nice cup of coffee, because this is going to take a while.)

"Got Milk?" and "Things That Make You Go Hmmm"

Every five years or so, something enters the nation's consciousness that is, for whatever reason, incredibly catchy to Middle America. When our nation's soccer moms and middle managers get hold of these phrases, they use them half to death. Long after the point when everyone else is sick of them, these people are still trotting these catchphrases out as if they were actually funny. It's not just a meme, it's a specific meme which gets treated a specific way by a specific demographic.
"Can you hear me now?" is an excellent recent example of this. Or "Where's the beef?" in the 1980's. I'm telling you, there are STILL people who ask "Where's the beef?" My dad made this reference a few months ago, and believe me, it is still not funny. Too soon, man, too soon.
The 90s will forever be branded with the two phrases "Got Milk?" and "Things That Make You Go Hmm." In fact, I saw a "Got Milk?" parody bumper sticker just the other day in the Walmart parking log. It said "Got Jesus?" Haw haw.

Colors of the 90s: Dusty Rose

Dusty rose took America by storm in the 1990s. You could find just about anything in dusty rose, from curtains to cars. I never liked this color, and it's one of those 90s things I'm glad we left behind, as a people. Hopefully dusty rose won't return in the inevitable 90s revival!
Dusty rose is a real oddball color. It's like pink, blended with taupe. Like a grayish pink. Gross, right? It was always presented as a "mature" color, like pink for women who had long since grown out of the princess phase. I'm pretty sure it hails from the fad for the color mauve in the 1980s. Maybe that's why it always struck me as a fusty, matronly, non-modern color.
Frumpy, thy name is dusty rose.

Faux Finishing

In my recent review of The Craft I mentioned that there's almost nothing that ties this movie specifically to the 1990s. But that isn't entirely true: in an early scene when the new family is moving into their giant ramshackle mansion, the ENTIRE SET has been faux finished within an inch of its life.
Looking back on it, the trend for faux finishing seems just so quintessentially 1990s. Can't afford travertine floors? Paint them to look like it! Can't afford to swap your boring old wall out for a marble one? Paint it to look like it! Wish your clothes dresser was actually made out of burnished gold leaf? Paint it to look like it!

Movies of the 90s: The Craft

It's an interesting experience to go back and re-watch a movie that you haven't seen in a while. It's been at least a decade since I last watched The Craft (originally released in 1996) and what a difference a decade makes. I used to consider The Craft a guilty pleasure, and spent many a lovely Sunday afternoon sacked out on the couch watching it on VHS while smoking and eating popcorn. It used to seem like a fable of female empowerment, but now it strikes me as a clumsy parable about the dangers of drug use. (Same difference?)