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o you think you’re a 90s fan? OK, Jar Jar Binks, can you handle this? It’s I Love the 90s, and this is 1999! The flicks, the fashions, the trends, the TV, the tunes—a totally awesome year that brought us these burning questions:
What kind of history lesson was Woodstock ’99 teaching the kids?
Christina Adkison: Message of Woodstock ’69: Let’s fuck everyone. Message of Woodstock ’99: Let’s fuck over everyone by setting shit on fire.
And what exactly was life like before Napster?
Steve Lichtenstein: “So wait wait wait wait…let me get this straight. I can “download” the Malkmus solo album before it comes out and “Buffalo Stance” and put them both on the same CD? Sweet fucking Christ, it’s all over.”
Because you still love the 90s, because you still think that “waaasuuuuuuuup” is the funniest thing ever, admit it—this is 1999!
Ben Woolhead: Four American high school kids set out to lose their virginity before graduating. With hilarious consequences.
Brad Shoup: Titanic and Braveheart and American Pie. The trilogy of blockbusters I'm trying to avoid my entire life.
Ben Woolhead: It’s a teen movie, ergo it’s shit. It’s one which revolves around knob gags and frat-boy humour, ergo it’s really shit. And it gave the world Seann William Scott, ergo…
Ian Mathers: Full disclosure: I have seen and enjoyed all three American Pie movies. There. I admitted it.
Adrien Begrand: Not only was this brilliantly raunchy, but the characters were much more likeable than any similar movie from the 1980s.
Ian Mathers: And I even like Jason Biggs!
Ben Woolhead: This is the movie where Jason Biggs sticks his dick in a freshly-baked fruit pie. How droll.
Ken Munson: Why the hell doesn’t anyone LOCK THEIR DOORS in this movie? Three instances of people getting caught masturbating? Who the fuck doesn’t lock their door doing that shit? And for that matter, who the fuck starts molesting baked goods right in front of the kitchen window? Lord almighty, he deserved to get caught.
Michael Heumann: "You're the guy who fucked that pie!" Retire now, Jason Biggs. You'll never live that one down.
Ken Munson: One of the only funny things about Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was Jason Biggs’ cameo, where he shouts “I’m the pie-fucker! I’m the pie-fucker!” And so shall you be for eternity, o fucker of pies.
Ken Munson: And how do you have sex with a pie, actually? I mean… how do you get any friction out of that? That… that just doesn’t work.
Ian Mathers: Yes, these movies were fluffy, but they were a welcome throwback to the light comedy of my halcyon days. You know, the Ernest movies and stuff. Only with boobs. And Eugene Levy!
Brad Shoup: Eugene Levy, you deserved far better than this.
Andrew Unterberger: Levy would play the most awkward and uncomfortable father figure of the whole decade had Happiness not happened first. It’s still disturbing enough to make watching his scenes virtually impossible.
Ian Mathers: Seriously though, Levy is a fucking genius and anything that gives him another fat paycheck gets points from me.
Ken Munson: I would watch a TV series based around the comic exploits of Stifler and Finch. They were all the comedy in this movie.
Ian Mathers: Also, like most of the guys I know who have ever seen Buffy, I’ll admit Alyson Hannigan might have been a small part of why I watched this. Just a little though.
Adrien Begrand: The way Alyson Hannigan inflects the ends of her sentences ("This one time? At band camp?") is exactly how every single Canadian speaks. But seriously, Tara Reid cannot act.
Ken Munson: Tara Reid is the most horrible person in this entire movie. I’m going to hold out sex with you until you can sincerely say you love me, and then I’m going to DUMP YOU a ha ha ha ha. Evil bitch.
Ben Woolhead: In 1999 Mena Suvari starred in one brilliant film. This wasn’t it.
Ian Mathers: Look, it comes to this: About as substantial as a Big Mac, but if you’re able to shut your brain off and remember high school, pretty entertaining.
Nick Southall: Yes it’s puerile. Yes it’s gross. Yes almost all the characters are hideous and punchable. Yes it appeals to a certain subsect of humanity that I’d quite happily see napalmed out of existence. Yes it’s stupid. Yes it’s really funny.
Andrew Unterberger: 1999. Good year for beverage commercials.
Christina Adkison: The entire 7-Up executive board crowded in a room to discover how to combat the deliciousness and athletic star power of Sprite. After months of starvation and brutal fist fights they come up with their one brilliant idea to save their product: offensive, yet clever, T-shirts! My god!
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours, baby.
Brad Shoup: The slogan wasn't funny. Orlando Jones was, being all cheerfully oblivious. He would've made a good British comedian.
Ian Mathers: I’ve been a huge fan of Orlando Jones since early MadTV and his great turn in Office Space. Doing his wide-eyed idiot shtick was enough to make these ads awesome. Actually, I did find the concept slightly amusing, but it was really all in the delivery.
Ken Munson: Right before 7-Up started using these commercials, they were using commercials trying to promote 7-Up as a drink for rebels against the forces who would try to get you to drink the drinks of the popular. As you can guess, they were beyond bad. I think Orlando Jones is a funny guy, but he looked like a genius of marketing after that mess.
Andrew Unterberger: “Make seven up yours, man!” “SAME TO YOU!” “SAME TO ME--you see, it’s catching on!”
Christina Adkison: If you didn’t know about the campaign, the shirts were really confusing. I mean the back that said “Up Yours” was understandable, but the front was confusing as all hell. “Make Seven”? Make Seven what? Pies? Babies??
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours was a fairly clever slogan, and I thought it was funnier than Tom Green at the time, but I’m really not sure how effective a campaign it was. If you asked me a month ago what the commercial was actually for, it’d probably take me about half a minute to reason it out.
Brad Shoup: No one drinks 7-Up. I see more Make Seven Up Yours t-shirts in a day than I drink 7-ups in a year.
Ken Munson: I had this great idea for a T-shirt once. It would be all green, and on the front in white letters it would say “Make Seven” and on the back it would say “Fuck You.”
Andrew Unterberger: Make Seven Up Yours sold more t-shirts, but it definitely lacked the quotable factor of the Waaasuuuuuup commercials. Which is probably a good thing.
Ben Woolhead: Wasssuuuuup? No, my friend, the word you’re looking for but clearly unable to remember is “Hello”.
Ken Munosn: All catchphrases will eventually become annoying, but “Wassup?” is the only one I can think of that was annoying by design.
Ian Mathers: I’m assuming Budweiser keeps a bunch of my friends from high school in a cage somewhere, because all of their ad campaigns back then were exactly the sort of shit we’d do. Only less dirty.
Steve Lichtenstein: If I ever needed a reason to respect the “Where’s the Beef?” lady, this commercial gave me a perfect framework: her uncanny ability with complete sentences.
Ian Mathers: This was funny the first 631 times. After that, though, it got old real quick.
Brad Shoup: The first 'Waaassuuuuuup' commercial was a watershed in beer-sponsored entertainment. The 'waaassaaabi' commercial was a travesty, a cashing-in on a noble work of pure entertainment. I would turn the labels of my Bud Light away from the TV in shame.
Christina Adkison: I will never eat wasabi again after watching these awful beer commercials.
Adrien Begrand: Those of us who still act like idiots whenever we see wasabi, raise your hands. "Wa-zaaaaaaah-beee..."
Brad Shoup: Well, it was funny when - when the guy... You know what? I hated this commercial from the get-go. I hope all the actors involved develop cirrhosis of the vocal cords.
Ian Mathers: Waaassuuuuuuup officially went too far when I started getting emails from my friends with links to old episodes of “Spider Man” cut up so it would go with the sound from the ads.
Brad Shoup: On the plus side, think of how many kids made Budweiser their illicit beer of choice. Warms the cockles.
Ken Munson: Budweiser has a superior advertising agency, but this is the one thing I’ve ever done that I simply cannot stand for. That and promoting pisswater beer, of course. Let’s see more Louie the Lizard!
Ken Munson: The New Radicals: No longer new, never once radical, but for one song, so so awesome.
Andrew Unterberger: First time I heard “You Get What You Give,” I seriously couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know songs like it still existed. I’m not sure if they ever did. “Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you!” What the fuck is this Journey shit? Do I love it or hate it? Do I care?
Ian Mathers: There is no in between: This is either what its supporters claim, one of the best pop songs ever, or what it actually is, a piece of turgid crap.
Ken Munson: This song is so great!
Nick Southall: This is actually really, really good.
Adrien Begrand: I hated that song, and I can't believe how many people still like it today. An annoying blend of Live, Happy Mondays, and Hall & Oates.
Ben Woolhead: Whatever we gave, it must have been fucking bad to have got this piece of shit in return.
Brad Shoup: If ever a song was designed to escort you through that escalator ride between Banana Republic and Wicks 'n' Sticks, it was this one.
Christina Adkison: I actually never really listened to this song….it just sort of blended into the background of the landscape as I drove with the radio on.
Steve Lichtenstein: The most exhausting use of a hook ever. More painful than six simultaneous root canals at the dentist’s office.
Ben Woolhead: Horribly, horribly chirpy – the sort of breezily upbeat pop song that makes you want to be locked in a darkened room with Godspeed! You Black Emperor or to bathe in molten Leonard Cohen LPs.
Ian Mathers: Written and performed by (based on the video and interviews at least) a massive jackass.
Nick Southall: I was convinced for months that it was a new single by The Rolling Stones, and not only that, that it was their best single in about 30 years. That it was actually some skinny indie boy with a bad hat and an inferiority complex made it even better, somehow.
Adrien Begrand: See, this is one song that might have benefited from someone like Mandy Moore singing it. Gregg Alexander was too grating.
Ken Munson: No, seriously, I love this song. The “one two three OW!!” intro. The disses to better artists. The way he tosses off his stupid hat in the video.
Andrew Unterberger: And the video—gah! It’s mind-boggling!
Ian Mathers: The video sucked - it was so corny, and of course if someone works as a mall security guard or, heaven forbid, wears a suit, we should clearly put them in cages. How progressive of Gregg Alexander.
Brad Shoup: Such a disrespect for the basic economic and law enforcement forces that govern our nation's shopping centers. As go the malls, so goes America. So goes America.
Christina Adkison: I actually have never heard the line about Beck, Courtney Love, et al. because I usually stopped listening to the song by that point.
Ian Mathers: You could kick the asses of Courtney Love, Marilyn Manson, Hanson or Beck, but why all together? What do they have in common? Is Gregg Alexander just randomly rhyming names while pretending he has a legitimate beef? Do bears shit in the woods?
Ken Munson: Gregg Alexander isn’t a tough looking guy, but I’m willing to bet he could take out Beck, the smallest Hanson brother, and Marilyn Manson easily. Not Courtney Love though, Courtney would tear him to pieces.
Brad Shoup: “"Come around, we’ll kick your asses"? The guy can't even bring the fight to Hanson's doorstep. Lame.
Ian Matherse: Oh, and Andy Capp wants his hat back.
Nick Southall: Wasn’t everyone going on about how he was the saviour of pop or something? Wasn’t he secretly writing every pop hit ever? Or was he a ONE HIT WONDER.
Brad Shoup: Supposedly this was the work of a young pop genius who retired rather than sully his singular musical vision. Dude, I knew Kevin Rowland, and you are no Kevin Rowland.
Andrew Unterberger: Maybe that’s why we never heard from him again—he was too busy hiding out of fear of retaliation.
Brad Shoup: If you chug soft-serve, it really really hurts your teeth. If you learn nothing from I Love the 90s, remember this.
Andrew Unterberger: We miss you, Gregg. Send a postcard or something, just let us know you’re OK.
Ian Mathers: Now, see, there are two sides to the humour of The Simpsons. There’s the warm-hearted character driven family stuff, and there’s the cold, almost nihilistic random absurdity “by the way, Middle America, we HATE YOU” stuff. These two approaches were taken up by two shows: The intermittently okay King Of The Hill got the former, while the scabrously funny and justly cancelled Family Guy got the latter.
Adrien Begrand: Family Guy: little more than a low-rent Simpsons, but when it was at its best, which is almost always, it is absolutely, deliciously vile.
Brad Shoup: The premise of Family Guy was, "Let's take recognizable characters from The Simpsons and copy their wacky adventures. While we're at it, let's take those lightning-fast non-sequitur asides and stretch them five minutes past the breaking point. All ironically, of course."
Ken Munson: All of the big adult cartoons that came after the Simpsons owed it a debt, in some way. Futurama got the animation style, South Park inherited its dangerousness, King of the Hill took the concepts of well-developed characters and heart. But Family Guy took its sense of anarchy, and they ran with it, and they turned from a ripoff show to one of the best things on television.
Joe Niemczyk: Matt Groening and all the writers for The Simpsons must be kicking themselves for all the time they’ve wasted over the years trying to write smart and relevant stories. Seems that crass humor and annoying characters seem to be all you need for a prime time animated series.
Matt Chesnut: I used to hate this show. Not that I had ever seen it, I merely pounced on it for walking on the Simpsons’ turf. Peter was clearly Homer, the fat, loveable oaf. Lois was Marge, the overworked, under-appreciated housewife, and Stewie was some welding of Mr. Burns and Maggie’s characters.
Christina Adkison: Although Family Guy doesn’t have the breadth of characters that The Simpson has, the few core characters are enough to make the show. Stewie is arguably enough alone to keep the show running. In one episode he kills Mister Rogers and destroys all of Make Believe Land….awww, the fulfillment of wishes.
Joe Niemczyk: This show lives and dies with Stewie. Take him away and no one, not even Brian, the cognac swilling, *Times*-reading family dog, can save the show.
Brad Shoup: Stewie is a great character. Bile-spewing genius babies will be Family Guy's contribution to comedy.
Ken Munson: Stewie’s so great. “Dammit Machiavelli! You’ve taught me nothing I don’t already know!”
Adrien Begrand: The show did have its moments of brilliance, like when Peter Griffin finds the last contest-winning beer bottle, runs all the way home, trips on the sidewalk in front of his house, and spends 30 seconds writhing on the ground, wincing in pain.
Joe Niemczyk: I can still remember watching the very first episode with a group of friends after the Super Bowl. The scene near the end where the Kool Aid Man bursts through the wall and shouts “Oh Yeah!” sent us into a collective hysteria that lasted several minutes *after* the show had ended.
Christina Adkison: The debut of Family Guy has brought us too many priceless memories. Like “Math is the lesbian sister of biology.”
Ken Munson: “People look at me and see a loser. Except that guy with the lazy eye... He sees a loser and a snack machine.”
Christina Adkison: “Look Brian! My Alphabets cereal is giving me a message! Its says, ‘ooooo’”. “Peter, those are Cheerios.”
Ian Mathers: “Diamonds: She’ll pretty much have to.”
Adrien Begrand: Auctioneer: Our first item is a pair of panties confiscated from a prostitute.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
Auctioneer: She had nine STDs.
Quagmire: Forty-five bucks.
Auctioneer: And when we caught her she wet herself.
Quagmire: Fifty bucks.
Christina Adkison: “Take a drink…and you’ll sink….into a world of pure inebriation.”
Ken Munson: “Tom, I’m getting late word that you’re a petty, jealous closet case.” “A bit of breaking news, we now go live to Diane being a bitch. Diane?”
Adrien Begrand: Lois: What's going on down here?
Stewie: Oh, we're playing house.
Lois: That boy's all tied up.
Stewie: Roman Polanski's house.
Ken Munson: I’ve seen every single Family Guy episode about a billion times now. I can recite them if I want to. I don’t.
Matt Chesnut: It wasn’t until Adult Swim picked up the cancelled episodes did it skyrocket into popularity.
Ian Mathers: Of course, once it got onto the internet and then DVDs where you didn’t have to sit around and wait for it, we all discovered its brilliance. Those of us who loved it but could never find it on TV could finally watch all the episodes. And now it’s back. I’m quite sure Seth McFarlane will use this mandate to be even more out there and crude.
Joe Niemczyk: Why is Family Guy coming back after years of cancellation and cable reruns? Hell if I know. Ask your Hot Topic-shopping little brother.
Brad Shoup: Sure, "The Simpsons" sucks now, but if you insist on standing there, telling me how Family Guy tops any of its first five seasons, then you have ADHD, you feel no human emotions, and I feel very sorry for you.
Ken Munson: Interchangeable young blonde girls catering to middle-aged pervert lust: hooray.
Brad Shoup: This being pop music in the 90s, some specific demographic had to "explode" every six months. In 1999, we got splattered with the gonorrheic goo of female teen-pop. I'll say this much: it was a good year to be 40, male, and sexually frustrated.
Adrien Begrand: One was an awful singer, one didn't want any of us to forget she was a good singer, one looked like she couldn't walk and carry a tune at the same time, and the youngest and seemingly phoniest of the lot turned out to be the one with actual talent...as an actor.
Ian Mathers: I can honestly say I never ogled these girls. Well, maybe Christina and Mandy Moore a little. Just a little. In a strictly platonic way, you understand.
Nick Southall: Britney is not pretty, except from certain angles in good light. But MY GOD she is sexy – a female pop star with an actual figure, with actual sex appeal rather than desiccated anorexia chic.
Ian Mathers: Britney, always seemed a bit too focused on conquering the world to be attractive.
Ken Munson: I hate the Britney Spears/Max Martin sound, I really do. Max Martin songs are hideous monstrosities.
Christina Adkison: I totally understand little girls’ worship of Britney Spears. I mean, song titles like “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and “I’m a Slave 4 U” really empower women. Totally.
Ben Woolhead: Britney’s song titles made for interesting reading. “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. “Born To Make You Happy”. “I’m A Slave 4 U”. It was like Girl Power had never happened.
Brad Shoup: Every time Britney released an album, it seemed like every newsmagazine heralded the final shedding of her good-girl image, as if the Catholic dress code involves ripping three inches off your oxford shirt.
Ben Woolhead: Britney didn’t get dirty. She was dirty to start with. C’mon, school uniform and pigtails?!
Ken Munson: I think I might actually prefer the constant dirrty nudity of these pop-stars nowadays; at least they're not playing up the child porn angle anymore. There was a photo in Rolling Stone of Britney Spears wearing skimpy teen clothing standing next to a pink girl's bike, which might be the creepiest photo I've ever looked at.
Nick Southall: So yeah, Britney wins hands down. Jessica? Mandy? Far too boring. I can’t remember what either on looks like, and they look the same anyway. Though I must admit that Christina has a certain… allure…
Christina Adkison: What was most frustrating about this “movement” in music was that talent did not equal success. Christina Aguilera is the best singer, but her career is not as lucrative as Britney’s. Hmmm, could it be her awful, boring songs with god-awful lyrics? I guess she didn’t get rubbed the right way.
Andrew Unterberger: At least back then, Christina still looked like a human being of some sort. Then she got all dirty.
Ian Mathers: Christina turning dirrty was not big, clever, or particularly surprising.
Nick Southall: At least Britney and Xtina have songs that hold up. The others… Less so. Notice how neither Britney nor Xtina have resorted to fly-on-the-wall TV programmes to maintain their profiles yet.
Ian Mathers: And Jessica Simpson? Let's just say I've never understood her appeal (those teeth! those hideous teeth!).
Christina Adkison: We really should appreciate Jessica Simpson’s music because at least it’s not her sister’s.
Ken Munson: If anyone needs to convince me that Max Martin’s any good, all they have to do is point me at a Jessica Simpson song. Britney Spears is horrible, but at least she isn't LAME.
Christina Adkison: I guess I personally tolerate Jessica and Mandy the most, but not because of their music. Britney and Christina just disgust me, whereas I can at least laugh at the stupidity of Jessica on television and be (somewhat) entertained through Mandy’s movies (I’m talking about Saved, not the crap that is A Walk to Remember a.k.a. Let’s Be Sad Forever, Yeah!).
Ken Munson: And then there was Mandy Moore's "Candy" video; that also made me feel gross, and I was actually younger than Mandy Moore.
Ian Mathers: Mandy Moore is actually the only one who never really skanked up.
Sam Bloch: Mandy was sick of being pigeonholed. She’s no ordinary pop star. She wanted respect. She dyed her hair.
Adrien Begrand: At least Mandy Moore covered XTC. I don't like her music, but good on her for doing that.
Matt Chesnut: If you had told me all four of these teen queens would not only still have careers, but PROSPEROUS careers, I’d probably tell you to lay off the Surge. Britney is still the biggest star, Christina has had a bit of plastic surgery, Jessica made a big resurgance as a ditzy housewife, and Mandy made the smartest career move by switching to acting.
Adrien Begrand: None of those songs hold up well at all. Okay, maybe "Genie in a Bottle", but we have Freelance Hellraiser to thank for that.
Christina Adkison: According to my gay friend, who has crappy taste in music, “Britney can’t sing, Christina has no self-respect, Jessica is a dumbass, so Mandy the only decent one.” I agree whole-heartedly except for the last part.
Brad Shoup: A pox on Britney and her ilk, on their smug entitled gazes, their calculated coyness, their Swedish pop jackhammers, their dubious promotion of virginity, and especially on Mandy Moore for not marrying me.
Nick Southall: I am glad they are dirrty now. Very glad.
Coming up tomorrow, on the last day of the 1990s!
The best thing to happen to the goth kids at your high school since Marilyn Manson:
Christina Adkison: The Matrix was the movie that made the strange Goth kids at school seem cool all of a sudden. Long, black trench coats were sexy!
And the acronym that sent an entire nation into panic…
Pat Brereton: Did this shit really need to be abbreviated? It's only one less syllable. How lazy are we?
When we return to I Love the 90s!
By: Stylus Staff
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