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o you think you’re a 90s fan? OK, Professor Frink, can you handle this? It’s I Love the 90s, and this is 1992! The flicks, the fashions, the trends, the TV, the tunes. A totally awesome year that brought us these burning questions:
Just what is it, exactly, that Whitney Houston will always love?
Gavin Mueller: This song is actually about weed.
And what was the real reason behind Home Improvement's popularity?:
Gabe Gloden: Remember Tim “the Toolman” Taylor’s quasi-sexual grunting when he talked about “More Power!”? There was always so much homoerotic tension between him and Al it kept me coming back for more.
Because you love the 90s, because you still remember all the finishing moves from Mortal Kombat, admit it: this is 1992!
*** Grunge*** Aladdin*** Kriss Kross*** 1992 Election***
*** Melrose Place / Beverly Hills 90210*** Pavement*** Barney***
*** Ben Woolhead Remembers 1992*** The Mighty Ducks*** I Will Always Love You***
*** Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat*** Basic Instinct*** David Drake Remembers 1992***
*** Home Improvement*** Baby Got Back*** Wayne’s World*** I’m Too Sexy***
*** Gabe Gloden Remembers 1992*** Goosebumps*** Alternative Rap***
*** Generation X*** John Grisham/Michael Crichton***
*** William B. Swygart Remembers 1992*** Madonna*** The Simpsons***
Michael Heumann: So there were a bunch of hard rock bands in Seattle all hanging out, making music, putting that music out on Sub Pop. Then Nirvana hits it big, and suddenly it's called grunge.
Kareem Estefan: The grunge breakthrough in 1992 was really cool.
Ben Woolhead: 1992: the summer I wore out my cassette copy of Gish by the Smashing Pumpkins and very nearly did the same with Sonic Youth’s Dirty.
Tony Van Groningen: The youth of America were ready for something new, and grunge was it. It was definitely a major and legitimate movement in American music.
John Rothery: Following the overblown excesses of the previous few years, came the sleazy, underground sound of Seattle. This had the very look and feel of the disaffected and apathetic American youth.
Kareem Estefan: There’s little more one can ask for than Nevermind being the #1 album in America.
Ian Mathers: When Nirvana displaced Michael Jackson from the top of the charts, it felt like a victory. I was just surprised at how long it lasted and how quickly it all went wrong.
Scott McKeating: Was that really that big a deal? They didn't topple Jackson; he did that by himself through releasing shite records. They might have sold more CDs that week, that’s all.
Josh Timmermann: It now seems ironic that, at the time, Nevermind knocking Michael Jackson's Dangerous out of the top slot on the albums chart was celebrated as such a great, symbolic coup. You can say what you want about the guy, but we undeniably have Michael to thank for Justified and that terrific new Usher single; we have Nirvana to thank for Puddle of Mudd and the Vines.
Gavin Mueller: Nirvana's cover of "Jam" was dropped from the release of Nevermind, but has surfaced on numerous bootlegs.
Adrien Begrand: I loved grunge. But then I forgot about it in 1993. It was a genre with no staying power whatsoever, producing maybe three classic albums in total.
Michael Heumann: Fuck grunge. Music is always more interesting than the strategies corporations use to market it. All these bands—Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees (best band name ever), and the others—were interesting. They didn't always make good music, but they were a hell of a lot more interesting than the Whitney Houstons of the world.
Clem Bastow: I hated grunge, and I have to admit there’s not a lot that I like even these days. I think it was because I always resented Nirvana for stealing Mudhoney’s thunder. That and Pearl Jam were nobs.
Andrew Unterberger: Of the big post-Nirvana explosion in ’92, the biggest band to emerge was probably Pearl Jam. They had the incredible “Jeremy” music video—easily one of the most popular music videos ever. For good reason, I’d say.
Gavin Mueller: Amazing how trite this video seems in our POST-COLUMBINE WORLD.
Clem Bastow: After hearing so much about the video to “Jeremy”, all I could think when I actually got around to seeing it was “big-whoop”.
Scott McKeating: The “Jeremy” music video was about as shocking as me leaving a pair of socks on my own bedroom floor.
Ian Mathers: I was just old enough to understand barely enough of what was going on in the “Jeremy” video for it to be the most disturbing thing I’d ever seen on TV at the time. Great video. I kept wanting to see it so I could figure out what else was going on in the song and video.
Gavin Mueller: It's just high school, dude. Get over it.
Dan Maguire: In a rare music video moment, we actually got to see the moment when Eddie Vedder went mad: sitting on that stool, singing “Oh, but we unleashed a lion,” his eyes rolling into the back of his head
Adrien Begrand: Soundgarden was the one grunge band that all us metal heads gravitated to first. Louder Than Love? The brilliance of Badmotorfinger? Kim Thayil was a fantastic metal guitarist.
Andrew Unterberger: Alice in Chains’ Dirt might be the best album from this period.
Adrien Begrand: Alice in Chains' Dirt is so overrated. I found it tiresome and depressing back then, and have no desire to revisit it. It's a shame, because Layne Staley had an absolutely killer voice. As a guitarist, Jerry Cantrell was a total one-trick pony.
John Rothery: The lead singer of Warrant, still tucking his fried blonde locks behind a bandanna, tells MTV how grunge killed his career. "I walked in to my agent's office one day, and there was this huge poster of Alice in Chains!" He genuinely seemed surprised.
Adrien Begrand: Sonic Youth's Dirty was the year's best grunge album by a band who wasn't technically a grunge band.
Andrew Unterberger: Come on, how can you hate on a movement that gets Thurston Moore on MTV for one brief, shining year?
Clem Bastow: What about Ugly Kid Joe?
Ian Mathers: As much as most of that “grunge” stuff did nothing for me (the only record from that period and movement I still own is Everclear’s first album), it was a nice change from the hair bands and novelty hits. Sure, most of them just wound up being novelty hits themselves, but we didn’t know that at the time.
Tony Van Groningen: Grunge also pretty much destroyed the commercial viability of hair metal, and we still owe a big debt for that.
Adrien Begrand: It was nice to see the likes of Warrant and Poison go away, but one thing we began to realize as the 90s produced grunge clone after grunge clone was, the best of the 80s hard rock bands knew what a hook was, something nearly all of that watered down grunge lacked.
Gavin Mueller: Oh, cry me a river over Quiet Riot. The real casualty of this reorientation of pop charts was Paula Abdul's music career.
John Rothery: Like many pop trends that are so perfect, a bunch of evil suits got hold of it and it burned out and ate itself before the world at large could really fathom what it was all about. Kurt was, of course, the unwitting and unwilling voice of a generation that he didn’t care for, let alone want to represent.
Kareem Estefan: But let’s not forget that because of Nirvana, Pearl Jam is still making music. At least hair metal bands had camp value.
Nick Southall: “’Our’ music won!” Bollocks. This is not ‘our’ music. How much guilt and repression has been caused by this? And how many shite bands from Canada? This was precisely the point where my music taste began to separate from that of my friends.
Adrien Begrand: Ultimately, grunge became as shallow and empty as hair bands were in 1988. Candlebox was every bit as evil as Firehouse.
Tony Van Groningen: Grunge was pretty hit-or-miss as far as individual song quality goes, but the music created a zeitgeist that still to this day has lingering effects in music and culture. Sadly, you cannot say the same about flannel shirts.
John Rothery: At the epicentre of grunge lay implausibly good, social fabric shifting music.
Andrew Unterberger: Grunge is responsible for 95% of the music that I grew up on. Maybe not all of it was good, but I wouldn’t know—it’s mixed in my blood, it’s part of my DNA. When we’re old enough to listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Would?” and “Jeremy” on classic rock radio, I’ll be damn thankful. Grunge doesn’t need to apologize to me for anything at all.
Andrew Unterberger: The fantastic second golden age of Disney in the early ‘90s brought three undisputed classics: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and 1992’s trophy, Aladdin.
Gavin Mueller: Best Disney movie EVER.
Clem Bastow: Pretty much all of my mates thought Aladdin was the best Disney movie ever, but for me—with the exception of Princess Jasmine—it was the beginning of the end. It was the first time they’d made the songs sound more like pop songs (obviously with an eye to merchandising, or possibly future jazz ballet performances), and to a musical comedy fan like me, that was the pits.
Ian Mathers: Why do all Disney movies have to be fucking musicals?
David Drake: This movie was wonderful. Robin Williams did a fantastic job portraying Genie.
Ian Mathers: Robin Williams was like a Pulp Fiction-style shot of adrenaline shoved into the dying corpse of this movie. Before the genie appears = every “heartwarming” Disney movie ever. After = every “heartwarming” Disney movie ever with that crazy dude from Good Morning Vietnam.
Dan Maguire: Finally, a Robin Williams character who actually moves as fast as Robin Williams talks.
William Swygart: Robin Williams’ performance as ‘The Wisecracking Genie’ would lead to a major resurgence in irritating ‘wisecracking sidekicks’ for uninteresting lead characters in films, be they Eddie Murphy in Shrek and Mulan, or the entire cinematic career of Rob Schneider.
Andrew Unterberger: The best part is Gilbert Godfried playing a two-faced parrot named Iago, who…wait a minute. Iago. Oh. I finally get it!!
Ian Mathers: Somehow Gilbert Gotfried is a lot less annoying if you don’t have to see his squinty little eyes.
Gavin Mueller: The Prince Ali procession still causes me to clap my hands with glee.
David Drake: The best song was definitely the one that went “Prince Ali, yes it is he, Prince Ali baaaabaaaaaaaa.” Classic, that. The carpet ride song sucked.
Dan Maguire: “A Whole New World,” curiously, has since turned into a stoner sing-a-long anthem in some circles.
Sam Bloch: And then that whole debacle about what Rajah really said. "GRRRRRGRGRGRGTAKEOFFYOURCLOTHESGRGRGRGRGGRGRG"
Dan Maguire: The Little Mermaid gave us the whole ‘golden boner on the cover’ controversy. The neighborhood legend continued into Aladdin. At one point, turning the volume all the way up after Aladdin gets up on Jasmine’s balcony allowed all us neighborhood kids to hear some guy faintly saying “All good children take off their clothes.” We were all like “Is that true? Should we do it?” So from then on, we were always naked.
Gabe Gloden: I really liked this movie when I was younger, but now that I consider myself a conscious adult, I’ve realized (like all of Disney’s animated films) Aladdin is incredibly racist and offensive.
David Drake: Although my P.C.-collegiate mind gets a tad uncomfortable when I see another “dark skinned Disney villain,” I still have a soft spot in my heart for this movie.
Kareem Estefan: Aladdin’s the only Disney movie I haven’t revisited in recent years, but it’s also the only one I don’t need to revisit to be convinced of its absolute brilliance, whether you’re six years old or twenty-six years old.
David Drake: Kriss Kross were the best!
Clem Bastow: “I missed the bus… And I will nevernever do it again”. Oh man these guys were lame.
Tony Van Groningen: OK, so I used to like Kriss Kross.
David Drake: This was the first tape that I ever bought. I loved this album and memorized the lyrics in it backwards and forwards. I remember trying to hide it from my mom after I got it because Kriss Kross said “shit” on one song, and I was afraid she would take it away from me if she heard it.
Dan Maguire: There was a whole ‘sect’ of student who sat on the back of the bus, wore their pants backward, and listened to Kriss Kross on walkmans.
Tony Van Groningen: I can’t remember a single one of their songs except “Jump.”
Steve Lichtenstein: I don’t take kindly to directional songs. “Jump,” like “Stand” and “Relax,” I just didn’t care for the bossing.
Gavin Mueller: The beat for "Jump" is hott, and I refuse to entertain any criticism implying otherwise.
Nick Southall: My mate Ben did this at karaoke the other night, allegedly. He turned his shirt backwards. On his way home he was gonna drop his trousers and turn them backwards too, but the police stopped him.
Clem Bastow: “Jump” was okaaaay, but all Kriss Kross really did was put a big dent in my growing appreciation of “hip hop” (come on, I was like, ten).
Dan Maguire: I guess Kriss Kross had their time, because pretty soon the group was doing everything from Nickelodeon appearances to Sprite commercials (“Yo Kriss?” “Whattup Kross?” “Whattsat in your hand?” “It’s the S to the P to the R-I-T-E can.”)
Ian Mathers: There was a song on this album called “Can’t Stop The Bum Rush”, which with its suggestions of both homosexuality and possibly homeless people, we thought was hilarious when we saw the album in the record store
Tony Van Groningen: I swear to God that I never wore my clothes backwards though, I never even had baggy pants to wear backwards.
Joe Niemczyk: One of the things I've always loved about the '90s was the relative lack of bad fashion trends, even in kids. Yet somehow the youth of America were taken by the idea that wearing their clothes backward was cool, or at least that it was a statement of authenticity. Whatever it was, it seemed like every one of my classmates at my rural middle school fell for it.
John Rothery: This wasn’t a trend, at least I don’t remember anyone actually dressing that way as a result of their admiration for Kriss Kross. Young children tend to dress this way purely by accident rather than design.
Tony Van Groningen: There was absolutely no way in hell that these kids were going to have a career beyond this album when their main gimmicks were being young rappers and wearing their Knicks jerseys backwards.
Joe Niemczyk: We even had "backwards clothes day," which in effect forced every student to participate, unless of course, they wanted to look stupid.
David Drake: I tried this once or twice at home. It wasn’t particularly successful; I didn’t really have pants that were loose enough for this sort of thing. How did they zip up their pants when the zippers were in the back?
Ben Woolhead: Surely standing at a urinal fumbling with your zipper is embarrassing enough without making the whole process of taking a piss more complicated by wearing your pants backwards?
John Rothery: You would have to fully drop your trousers at the urinal. Nobody wants to see that.
Tony Van Groningen: I think the running joke was that they had to have their moms button up their shirts for them, which couldn’t have helped Daddy Mack’s pimp game much.
David Drake: I wondered what a “mack daddy” was. And a “daddy mack,” for that matter.
Ian Mathers: Yeah, yeah, yeah, backwards pants, stupid hair, hit single, blah blah blah. One of the few reasons I’m glad nobody in my hometown listened to anything but rock and/or country is that we missed crap like this. At the time I absolutely hated it, and although it’s grown on me a bit, it hasn’t enough to make me want to hear it again.
Ben Woolhead: I blame Kriss Kross for Lil' Bow Wow, who surfaced briefly about three years ago as the Scrappy to Snoop Dogg’s Scooby Doo.
Ben Welsh: I must say I prefer to the recent crop of stand alone kid-hoppers (Lil’ Romeo, Bow Wow) to the crews of the early 90s (Kriss Kross, Another Bad Creation).
Nick Southall: They’re no Musical Youth. Which is good, because Musical Youth are all dead or in rehab now.
Dan Maguire: They were giving a good message, jumping instead of shooting other kids.
David Drake: There is a videotape somewhere of me awkwardly staring straight into the camera perfectly lip synching the lyrics to “I Missed the Bus” while self-consciously fidgeting with the seam on my t-shirt. I loved this album.
Andrew Unterberger: The election race of 1992 and its surrounding events were packed with enough humor (Dan Quayle misspelling “potato”), hipness (Clinton appearing, with sax, on Arsenio) and plot twists (Ross Perot’s third-party shenanigans) to almost get me interested in politics. Almost.
Dan Maguire: This little “incident” took place at a grade school. The kid spells the word right, and Danny Boy quips: “that’s fine phonetically, but you’re missing just a little bit.”
Andrew Unterberger: P-O-T-A-T-O-E. I mean, I guess it was an honest mistake, but it was still the highlight of the Presidential Bloopers videotape we watched in History class.
Michael Heumann: That's nothing; you should see how he spelled "Quayle."
Andrew Unterberger: I mean, that’s it, right there. Dan Quayle could’ve single-handedly smoked out Saddam Hussein from his foxhole and his career would still be as done as done gets. Still, it probably doesn’t top Bush vomiting on the Japanese Prime Minister.
Dan Maguire: If the election were based solely on coolest stunt of the year, Bush would have easily had another four years for throwing up all over the Japanese Prime Minster.
Karim Adab: I remember a discussion on Radio 1 on the eve of the election which argued that the political landscape was subconsciously reflected in the musical taste of the people at that time. Thus, they speculated, with Boys II Men's "End of the Road" seeping like treacle from every US transmitter, the time was up for Bushy Mk 1. As suspicious as I was at this claim, I felt a pang of sympathy for Bush that he'd be ousted under the influence of a song that my classmates used to try and touch girls to.
Andrew Unterberger: On the other side, Clinton was doing a lot better by playing “Heartbreak Hotel” on the saxophone to appeal to all us hip youngsters.
Michael Heumann: Clinton playing that sax on a talk show as a cheap gimmick. It might have worked for his election, but it was pretty meaningless otherwise.
Dan Maguire: Clinton’s saxophone noodlings clinched a spot for him in the Animaniacs’ intro segment.
Michael Heumann: The important point that came from all that was almost never brought up by the media: Clinton's favorite musician is Kenny G. Now that's scary.
David Drake: I remember walking through the schoolyard with my friends and chanting “Clin-Ton! Clin-Ton! Clin-Ton!” Paragons of political nuance we were.
Andrew Unterberger: And then there was Ross Perot.
Michael Heumann: As James Carville put it in the documentary The War Room, "The single greatest masturbatory act in the history of politics."
Dan Maguire: Ross Perot is one of the easiest men in the history of the world to parody. Seriously, can it get any easier? Tack on some huge ears, speak in a nasal, southern twang, and repeatedly say “can I finish canIfinishcanIfinish” ad nauseum.
Clem Bastow: How funny was it when Jim Carrey was Ross Perot on In Living Color? “DJ Ross in da house. I can get down with you people! All I wanna do is a zoom zoom and a boom boom”. Ahem. Carry on, US people.
Josh Timmermann: It's a bit odd saying this, but, boy, do we ever need Ross Perot back in the presidential race. Perhaps he could suck as many votes away from this Bush as he did from his dad—and as Nader inevitably will from Kerry, as he did from Al Gore.
Gavin Mueller: The Democrats of 2004 should take a page from the Clinton strategy book of 1992: get some crazy Texan to run as a third party candidate and suck away votes from the Republican incumbent. It's so obvious, people!
Andrew Unterberger: Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place—soap operas go back to high school and conquer the United States.
Clem Bastow: I wasn’t allowed to watch 90210, but even if I was allowed to I probably wouldn’t have, in protest. This show turned all of my friends into retards.
Scott McKeating: Bad hair, poor characters, zero hot women = Horseshit.
Gabe Gloden: I watched Beverly Hills 90210 only to dream about the day I would go to high school and everyone would look like a 26-year-old model.
John Rothery: Tiffani-Amber Thiessen is a beguiling creature. Her transition from Kelly Kapowski to the evil bitch-type character she played in BH 90210 ran parallel to my school sex education and taught me valuable lessons about the fickleness of women. Until this programme I genuinely believed that Kelly Kapowski was real and that her and I were destined to marry.
Adrien Begrand: Whither Daphne Zuniga?
Dan Maguire: I met Jennie Garth at a car convention that year. She was slated as the celebrity attraction to the event, and at least 300 people showed up. She had to have felt good about her future.
Adrien Begrand: Remember when Melrose Place first started out? It was a sappy, "I'm a directionless but earnest Gen Xer who's trying to get by in the world" show, completely unbearable to watch. A recipe for disaster. Heather Locklear to the rescue...
Karim Adab: I was too busy playing Sonic to have any interest in Locklear's missiles, to be honest.
Adrien Begrand: That episode of Seinfeld was so on the money, where he's strapped to the lie detector, swearing he's never watched Melrose Place, and he eventually caves, saying, "Oh that Jane, she makes me so MAD!"
Andrew Unterberger: Then there was The Heights, but people pretty much just remember that show for the one-hit wonder band that it produced.
Dan Maguire: One of my friend’s older sisters would blast “How Do You Talk to an Angel?” and gush things like “if you ever wanna make a girl melt, play this.”
Andrew Unterberger: “How Do You Talk To an Angel?” is probably the blandest song ever written. Makes “I Will Always Love You” look like “Bombs Over Baghdad” by comparison.
Karim Adab: And now look what you've done—I'll have four bars of the 90210 theme going round my head for the afternoon.
Steve Lichtenstein: I hated Beverly Hills, but I’ll emphatically punch the air if you hum the first 8 notes of the theme song and pause. Try me—you clap.
Andrew Unterberger: Maybe in 10 years we’ll look at The O.C. and it’ll look this ridiculous. But I seriously hope not.
Adrien Begrand: When Spin named Slanted and Enchanted their 1992 album of the year, those of us who lived in small towns without any good record stores were left scratching our heads, wondering, "Who the hell is Pavement?"
Dan Maguire: Pavement is basically a band that came out of nowhere and showed the world just how pretentious a bunch of arty nerds can be. The band was barely cohesive, and that’s what defines indie rock, don’t you think?
Gabe Gloden: You know, I missed the “indie rock” bandwagon by miles. Instead, in 1992, I hitched a ride on the industrial rock 16 wheeler from hell with the Broken EP and Psalm 69. At 12, I doubt I would have given much credence the Pavement sound (you know, the tin can recording quality). No, I wanted those guitars to shoot out like diesel exhaust in my face. I’ve come around though now.
Ian Mathers: Yet another great indie band from my youth I didn’t even hear about until later.
Adrien Begrand: Slanted & Enchanted is the best indie rock album of the 90s, bar none. Two college buds and a 40 year-old stoner on drums. Perfect.
William Swygart: I decided a while ago to just flat-out hate Pavement. I don’t know why, I just thought that I’ve got to have something about me that’s not utterly obvious from first looking at me, and hating Pavement’s an awful lot easier than becoming good at throwing things.
Michael Heumann: Great songs but awful production. It sound like it was recorded inside a phone booth.
Scott McKeating: Pavement were alright, but I still don't really get why they are so revered; not particularly new or containing any amazing songs. Some really truly shameless Fall rip-offs on here.
Ben Woolhead: Stephen Malkmus has since admitted that this was Pavement doing their level best to sound just like their heroes The Fall.
Gavin Mueller: Maybe one day I'll listen to this all the way through.
Adrien Begrand: Is "Here" not the most beautiful song ever? The line, "I was dressed for success/But success it never comes," seemed written specifically for every 21 year-old out there at the time; it encapsulated Gen X angst brilliantly.
Dan Maguire: S+E is best when you start flailing around to it and screaming all the words. A lot of people champion ‘Here,’ but leave that for Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. This album is about RAWRK.
Scott McKeating: "Summer Babe" is quite pretty.
Adrien Begrand: "Summer Babe" is such a great slacker love song. "Ice baby/I saw your girlfriend/She's eating her fingers like they're just another meal/She waits there/In the levee wash/Mixing cocktails with a plastic-tipped cigar." Longing, ennui, surrealism, and a poke at Vanilla Ice, all at once. What an opening line.
Joe Niemczyk: I've always loved "Summer Babe" -- or is it "Summer Babe (Winter Version)"? -- but the chorus on "Conduit For Sale!" is what really makes the record for me.
Adrien Begrand: And dig those cymbal crashes! Gary Young never knew subtlety. He just hammered away like Animal from the Muppet Show. Pavement got more and more boring in the years after Young was fired.
Dan Maguire: Gary Young was the best member of Pavement, hands down.
Andrew Unterberger: My favorite song on the album would have to be “In The Mouth a Desert”.
Kareem Estefan: One of the things that makes Slanted and Enchanted so great is that I never know what Malkmus is singing about, but it always kills me. “I’ve been crowned the king of it / and it is all we have”…and I’m floored.
Ian Mathers: Despite what everyone else says, “In The Mouth A Desert” is clearly the best song on Slanted And Enchanted. “Conduit For Sale!” is easily the funniest. And “Zurich Is Stained” is probably the most underrated.
Sam Bloch: "Zurich is Stained." "You think it's easy, but you're wrong." Ungh! You tell 'em, Steve.
Joe Niemczyk: Slanted And Enchanted was, still is, and will probably forever be the archetypical indie rock album of the 20th century.
Kareem Estefan: Loveless stands today as the only album rivaling Slanted and Enchanted in its influence on the indie rock community. Pavement’s importance is damn near impossible to exaggerate.
Adrien Begrand: In "Conduit For Sale", Malkmus yells out, "Between here and there is better than either here or there!" There's no better way to define Slanted & Enchanted; its sound is so difficult to pin down, it stands alone as a classic 90s album.
Clem Bastow: Argh! Argh! Argh!
Dan Maguire: Barney was a man in a giant purple dinosaur outfit who promoted being totally gay. One of the few children’s programs that actually fares worse when you’re baked.
William Swygart: “Two plus two is fourrr! Two plus two is fourrr!”
Sam Bloch: This was when I began to notice token stereotypes filled in television. As I recall, the first few episodes were all white kids, maybe one black dude, right? Then the Asians. Then the girl in the wheelchair. Then the stupid little girl (Baby Bop). Then the edgy prehistoric teenage mutant ninja dino, TJ.
Joe Niemczyk: Why a purple dinosaur? You know, I'm no closer to answering that now than I was 12 years ago.
Ian Mathers: Maybe purple dinosaurs are less likely to scare kids?
Nick Southall: Why not? A few years later four creatures of indeterminate species and indeterminate sex would seem like a good idea. By comparison a dinosaur is sensible. Especially one that actually speaks English.
John Rothery: Purple can denote regality and homosexuality. In short Barney was a queen.
Andrew Unterberger: Barney was unfathomably huge in the early-mid 90s, but the backlash against him—by annoyed adults, bemused teenagers, and already jaded young’uns alike—was even bigger.
Scott McKeating: How can you have a backlash against a pretend purple dinosaur?
Gavin Mueller: Barney backlash was played out faster than Barney.
Joe Niemczyk: Alright, the backlash against Barney probably went a little too far. I mean, it's just a children's show. Who cares? But I did love watching Charles Barkley knock Barney's eye right out of its socket on SNL.
Ian Mathers: I can understand the backlash, God knows I sympathized, but a lot of actual kids liked the show.
Sam Bloch: I don't get it. I liked him enough. He was unoffensive, taught life lessons, and had a pretty funny voice.
Kareem Estefan: I was always more into that show about the lamb when I was a kid (if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please inform me), but Barney backlash was seriously annoying. Imagine thousands of five-year-olds trying to come up with a clever comeback to the “I Love You” song, what do you think you get? I’ll give you a hint: it’s the opposite of love.
Ian Mathers: And, you know, it wasn’t exactly aimed at the rest of us. Who gives a shit if some kids like some dumb singing dinosaur? Unless I completely missed the point of that “I love you, you love me” song and it was actually preaching bestiality, I think we should have just left Barney alone. Kids get tired of that stuff quickly enough.
Ben Woolhead: I can pinpoint exactly the moment when I realised that the musical times were a-changing, and that I was being swept up and along in it all. Round at a friend’s house (the same friend who barely a year earlier had routinely bombarded me with WASP records) I watched an American music programme which boasted the following live performances: “Alive” – Pearl Jam, “Dollar Bill” – Screaming Trees, “Drunken Butterfly” – Sonic Youth, “Get Me” – Dinosaur Jr, “Changes” – Sugar and “Rhinocerous” – Smashing Pumpkins (as well as more incongruous bands: Rage Against The Machine, REM, The Lemonheads). I’d never heard anything like it before, and I knew it was the start of a beautiful love affair.
Clem Bastow: What was it with ‘90s sporting “feel good” movies? The Mighty Ducks, The Air Up There, errr….
William Swygart: I remember really, really wanting to see this film when I was eight or nine, but it wasn’t on in Croydon, so I ended up seeing Cool Runnings instead.
David Drake: I sorta thought this movie was the shit back in the day.
Ian Mathers: I’ve seen The Bad News Bears, sir, and you are no Bad News Bears.
Andrew Unterberger: The Mighty Ducks established the formula that dozens upon dozens of kids sports movies would follow for the rest of the decade. Especially the glorious, glorious token characters.
Gabe Gloden: Man, how do you pick a favorite character? There was the ever-charming coach Gordon Bombay played by Emelio Estevez (in a comeback role)…
Dan Maguire: Emilio Estevez plays a washed-up drunk (imagine that…) who is forced to teach a “rag tag” group of misfits how to be champions.
David Drake: The whole drunk-driving thing with Emilio Estevez (correct actor?) was weird for me as a kid because I knew it was wrong and it seemed so counter to common sense at the time. That bastard in his sports car coulda killed someone. Good thing they put him in charge of some kids hockey.
Gavin Mueller: I wonder how many hookers Emilio Estevez paid for using his Mighty Ducks money.
Andrew Unterberger: “When Emilio Estevez gets drunk and drives onto the pond, cracking the ice and nearly killing us all?” “DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!!!”
Gabe Gloden: The sweet kid Charlie Conway played by Dawson Creek’s hunky Joshua Jackson…
Clem Bastow: Joshua Jackson was such a hottie.
Dan Maguire: Best character was the kindly old equipment manager Hans, who eventually dies off in D2. If I could have any one sharpen my skates, it would be Hans (by that, of course, I mean sex).
Gabe Gloden: Or Goldberg, the fatass goalie with bad gas…
Andrew Unterberger: “And when the fat kid farts on the bench, making the whole team vomit?” “DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!!!”
David Drake: Also, I am reminded of a 3rd Bass quote when I see this movie – “Bad guys wear black/ musta been a white guy that started all that.” You knew they were gonna play dirty cuz they dressed in black hockey uniforms.
Andrew Unterberger: “And when the cartoonishly evil team in black tries to kick our asses?” “DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!!!”
Kareem Estefan: Geese fly in Vs, not ducks. Swans fly in Vs too, but ducks do not! Be warned: this movie is full of lies.
Clem Bastow: I knew so many kids who had Mighty Ducks jerseys and hats; this film was everywhere. It even made me reconsider – momentarily – my hatred of sport. Then I fell on my arse at ice-skating and it was all over.
Ian Mathers: All of us hockey-loving Canuck kids came out of the theatre of this one, which was decent at best, joking that they’d actually make a hockey team called something dumb like the Mighty Ducks. Man, was the joke on us.
Adrien Begrand: I'll never forget the Duck's first visit to the Montreal Forum. "Les Mighty Ducks d'Anaheim." It just did not sound right. I'm sort of used to it now.
Andrew Unterberger: “And when we become the laughing stock of the NHL?” “DUCKS FLY TOGETHER!!!
Kareem Estefan: There are only two things better in life than The Mighty Ducks: Little Giants and the D2: The Mighty Ducks.
Andrew Unterberger: Quack. Quack. Quack. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK. QUACK. QUACKQUACKQUACKQUACK!!!!!!
William Swygart: Because Bryan Adams wasn’t anything like enough, whoa-oh no-oh-woah.
Josh Timmermann: Before Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, there was this interminable pile of shite. If I was Kevin Costner and found myself charged with the responsibility of protecting the perpetrator of this crime against music, I’d just stand back and let her die in a hail of bullets.
Tony Van Groningen: Yeah, this song was just a little bit popular.
Ian Mathers: There was actually a period of about six months where I could barely go a day without hearing this song. That I didn’t commit eardrum suicide as a result still seems strange to me.
Nick Southall: It was number one all year in the UK, I think. It certainly seemed like it. I can still see the video if I close my eyes, I think she was sitting on a fence. Or was that Bing Crosby?
Dan Maguire: Whitney’s relaxing all cool on this chair, checkin out all the fake snow around her, the slow jam is all laid out, then BAM! She’s smiling and shit starts zoomin’ out and we’re left with that eternal “iiiiiiiii-eeeeeeeeeee-iiiiiiiiiiiiii” which still haunts our dreams. Whitney never seemed so much like the Enola Gay.
John Rothery: Hearing that iiiii-eeeee-iiiii is like the pain you suffer when you lay a really painful turd, but in sonic form. Whitney has been known to apologize in advance at gigs for not attempting the said note though as yet she hasn’t apologized for producing it in the first place.
David Drake: A foul screech from the bowels of the eternal. I can’t imagine she could pull this off any more, what with the crack addiction and Bobby Brown’s iron fist.
Nick Southall: How does she do it? I’ve tried to make my lip wobble like that but short of getting loaded on drugs I couldn’t manage it. Oh.
Michael Heumann: If you ever wanted to know what people in third world countries are talking about when they refer to the domination of soulless, bland American "culture," just listen to this song. It sums it all up.
Clem Bastow: Of course, the Dolly Parton version was always much more moving, but there was something about the bombast of Whitney’s version that just forced you to emote. At gunpoint.
Ben Welsh: I think Dolly Parton wrote this song, so I can’t hate it.
Josh Timmermann: Ieeeeeiii will always infinitely prefer the Dolly Parton original.
Gabe Gloden: I’m more of a fan of the original Dolly Parton recording, and I haven’t even heard that version.
Clem Bastow: For a song that has copped a lot of derision over the years, it is actually remarkably hard to sing – especially that unending “Iiiiiii-eee-iiii-eee-iiii”. There’s a reason that people who sing Whitney songs at karaoke (or on American Idol, for that matter) always sound like stuck pigs; once upon a time, before the drug scandals and Israeli weirdo camps, she was actually a great singer.
Tony Van Groningen: Whitney’s voice is pretty awesome in this song, even though the song itself is too heavy on the melodrama for me to ever actually enjoy it.
Ian Mathers: If nothing else, “I Will Always Love You” was a damn good excuse not to go to school dances, though.
Gabe Gloden: I think when researching prom themes of that year, I’m going to speculate that 65% adopted “I Will Always Love You”, 34% went with Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and 1% other.
Tony Van Groningen: I had a friend who was madly in love with his first girlfriend and this was “their song,” and then they broke up, and every time he heard it he’d get all quiet and sad and it was pretty funny because we were 14.
Scott McKeating: I have no vitriol left for this song, I don't think I ever really hated. It’s just dull.
Clem Bastow: Choose… Your… Destiny…
Tony Van Groningen: Clash of the fighting game titans!
Andrew Unterberger: In 1992, there were only two real videogames for kids aged 6-14—Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat. People still fight today about which was the true classic.
Tony Van Groningen: I grew up with Street Fighter and love it dearly to this day, and Capcom endowed it with some of the best character design ever seen in a video game. I loved the colors and animation-style action and the goofy yet still badass characters. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve ever heard “hadouken” I’d be able to buy a modest-sized Caribbean island right now. Then, out of nowhere, came Mortal Kombat.
Gabe Gloden: I swear my mortal allegiance only to Kombat.
Dan Maguire: Whenever I feel a little disenchanted, I think back to the first time I pulled out Johnny Cage’s heart. Mom was grocery shopping, and a kid from the neighborhood came over with his copy of Mortal Kombat (his mom never gave a fuck). He whispered these letters into my heart: ABACAB. I thought every game from then on should have had a blood code. This is why Mortal Kombat is far superior to Street Fighter.
David Drake: Mortal Kombat was definitely my shit. Blood flying everywhere, cool ass guys with their faces hidden behind masks, “finish him!” “GET OVER HERE!” I was terrible at it, but it was terribly great fun too.
Andrew Unterberger: I wasn’t allowed to play, of course, but when I did play I usually tried Scorpion. Mastering the “GET OVER HERE” move would’ve been one of my life’s proudest moments if I’d ever done it correctly.
David Drake: My favorite would have to be Sub-Zero, of course, and if not him, Scorpion. Those guys got the coolest costumes. All mysterious and shit.
Tony Van Groningen: It was more violent, more realistic looking, and a lot faster. Plus, it had…FATALITIES.
Gabe Gloden: As Sub Zero, I will pummel you with a fusillade of fists and ice blasts until you stand swaying back in forth in a daze. I will then summon the powers of the Lin Kuei warrior clan and remove your head from your body, complete with spinal column, and display it proudly to the lords of Kombat. FATALITY!
Tony Van Groningen: It was a fun game, but in the end there was no doubt that I preferred Street Fighter.
Joe Niemczyk: I've always been a Street Fighter kid at heart. Overall, it's just a better game, with more characters and move moves to learn. I mean, you've gotta give it up for the gallons of blood and the fatal finishing moves in Mortal Kombat, but after ripping someone's spine out for the fiftieth time, it starts to lose its appeal.
Ian Mathers: Street Fighter 2, though, was
the fighting game. You could play that for hours and not get bored.
Ben Welsh: MK was pretty sweet, and a superior arcade experience, but nothing from that time period matched the sheer awesomeness of Street Fighter II Turbo for SNES. And although MK could boast all the extra bells and whistles (Fatalities, punching a dude in the nuts, TOASTY!, blood, et al) it couldn’t make the gameplay of SFIITurbo.
Nick Southall: Street Fighter, obviously. So Mortal Kombat had blood? So what?! It looked awful.
William Swygart: Video game – Street Fighter 2 by miles. Mortal Kombat had blood, yes, but Street Fighter 2 had “Yoga FLAME!!!” and “HADOOOKEN!” and Zangief and Blanka and Chun Li…
Joe Niemczyk: Plus, it had a better cast of international stereotypes: the Japanese sumo wrestler, the Jamaican Rastafarian, the Hindu yoga master, the nimble Chinese pixie girl…
Tony Van Groningen: Besides, Mortal Kombat didn’t have Dhalsim and Guile. Sonic BOOM 4 lyfe, suckaz.
Ben Woolhead: My allegiances lie firmly with Street Fighter, primarily because it featured that rubber-limbed fire-breathing freak Dhalsim.
Nick Southall: “Yoga fire!” I liked Dhalsim because his unfeasibly long arms meant you could stand in the corner and strike from distance like a girl.
William Swygart: and and and HUNDRED HAND SLAP! Ah, the Hundred Hand Slap! Yes, even crappy old me could win at this game, just get the bastard in a corner and WHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAMWHAM and I think you’ll find you is all E. Honda’s bitches now, thank you kindly.
Ian Mathers: No gimmicky fatalities, just me and E. Honda and the Hundred Hand Slap. If it’s funny once, it’s funny a thousand times.
Joe Niemczyk: My favorite character? Definitely Ryu. All around he's the strongest fighter in the game. He’s the basic well-rounded character that everyone usually starts with, and once you've mastered his Ha-Du-Ken fireball and his rising uppercut, you're ready for just about anyone.
Ben Welsh: Ripping a dude’s heart out is fine and dandy, but over time it just wasn’t as rewarding for as making Chun Li squeal on the hardest difficultly level.
Gavin Mueller: Street Fighter wins. FATALITY.
Gabe Gloden: Paul Verhoeven solidified his status as the 90s quintessential exploitationist with Basic Instinct. Never has a movie seemed so infinitely memorable, yet so obviously shit. I don’t know anyone that could give a simple capsule summary of the plot, but we all remember seeing the damn thing.
Tony Van Groningen: I was totally banned from watching this movie, which of course meant that I went to a friend’s house to watch it.
Gavin Mueller: Michael Douglas - white women want him, white men want to be him.
Ian Mathers: Michael Douglas: Member of the undead? I’m not sure about that, but he really is one creepily unpleasant fuck. I have yet to actually
meet a woman who finds him attractive, and have yet to see him in a role I haven’t quickly loathed, whether I was supposed to or not.
John Rothery: Many women are attracted to Michael Douglas. You have to feel that it’s the fame, power, money and hamster features in that order.
Ben Welsh: In my mind, this guy has to be filed under FAME WILL GET BORING WHITE GUYS PUSSY with Mark Prior and John Cusack. Brad Pitt I can understand, but Michael Douglas? Jesus, he’s like Donald Trump with a better hair stylist.
Tony Van Groningen: The only reason I can think of that the audience is supposed to believe that girls like Sharon Stone want to have sex with Michael Douglas is that he looks like a rich guy. He has been reprised in his Basic Instinct role in about fifteen movies since then, each time with an insanely hot woman, and it’s just not right.
Clem Bastow: And when Michael Douglas wears that jumper to the “hip” nightclub, soo-ee!
John Rothery: Huge hype led to legions of horny lads descending upon the cinema and then freeze-framing the video to snatch a glimpse (pun very much intended). You will do well to find a video copy that isn’t fuzzy and well worn at that particular point.
Dan Maguire: ”huh-huh huh-huh. And if you look close enough, you can see her cooter. Huh-huh huh huh. My dad has the Laserdisc, you wanna see it? I can even pause it without the tracking lines.”
Clem Bastow: I actually thought this was quite a good thriller, but the sex scenes were just… gross. The filmic equivalent of Sex.
Tony Van Groningen: The hype for the leg crossing scene was huge; and while it impressed my young mind, it was something of a letdown.
Adrien Begrand: That scene loses all of its intended appeal, thanks to the presence of a very sweaty Newman. You can't think of one image without the other, and it's very irritating.
Nick Southall: You can’t see bloody anything! What’s the point?
John Rothery: The hype also attracted older, more discerning viewers to see ‘what all the fuss was about’ – they got a bog-standard thriller.
Gabe Gloden: Perhaps the image of Sharon Stone’s crotch burned in our minds clouded our perception of the remaining hour and a half.
Adrien Begrand: Who wrote the three word review that went, "Basically, it stinks"? That pretty much sums it up for me.
I REMEMBER 1992
Joe Niemczyk: Like a Midwestern Jeff Foxworthy channeling Gallagher with a power drill and every bad comedian who's made a career out of borderline misogynistic jokes about football and toilet seats, Tim Allen somehow parlayed a tired shtick into one of the most successful shows of the decade.
David Drake: Was Home Improvement formulaic or what? Here’s an episode for you. 1. “ARG! I have somehow hurt myself on the set of my low-budget home repair show!” 2. Maritial/familial conflict at home! 3. Talk to Wilson, he solves the problem. 4. Everybody is happy. Tim Allen grunts.
Ben Woolhead: For me, there were always two primary reasons to tune in: firstly, to hear Tim Allen’s grunts…
Steve Lichtenstein: Oh yes, grunting and power tools – those unwavering bastions of trendsetting comedy.
Gabe Gloden: Remember Tim “the Toolman” Taylor’s quasi-sexual grunting when he talked about “More Power!”? There was always so much homoerotic tension between him and Al it kept me coming back for more.
Dan Maguire: Tim Allen grunts a lot and has sex with Al.
Ben Woolhead: Was it just me, or did Al have something of the gay lumberjack about him? He looked like he spent his time at home in his bachelor pad drilling and hammering whilst wearing ladies’ clothing. Kinda like Freddie Mercury in the video for “I Want To Break Free” with DIY instead of hovering.
Ian Mathers<: Al and Tim totally should have got it on. Every episode of “Tool Time” had as much repressed manlove as the third Lord Of The Rings movie.
Ben Woolhead: ... And, secondly, the hope that it might be the episode when we finally got to see all of Wilson’s face.
Scott McKeating: The guy behind the fence, that I never got.
Ian Mathers: Tim Allen should stick to movies. Seriously. When the best things you can say about your sitcom is it has funny grunting noises and you never get to see the funniest character, it’s time to hang it up.
Scott McKeating: The fact that it was the woman who held everything together while he blundered around was good too.
Andrew Unterberger: For the girls, though, the kids of the show were the real attraction.
Joe Niemczyk: Jonathan Taylor Thomas? Nah, everyone just called him J.T.T. You know you’re a hot teen idol when the girls and the press start abbreviating your name.
Nick Southall: How can he be a heartthrob? He’s (still) nine?
Clem Bastow: Oh man I hated JTT. Did anyone see that “serious” movie he did a couple of years back to shed the teen hottie mantle? [cue: crickets]
Scott McKeating: I don't remember who JTT was, he can't have been that great looking.
Dan Maguire: JTT’s name still gets dropped from time to time whenever somebody wants to look all hard.
William Swygart: Far too much of my life has been spent trying to avoid having hair that looked like Zachery Ty Bryan’s. The ‘curling out from behind the neck’ look, I think it’s called. Get it right and it looks OK, you look like a young 1970’s Swedish folk musician/footballer or something. Get it wrong, you look like Zachery Ty Bryan used to.
Adrien Begrand: Sitcoms should never, ever have precocious kids as characters. It always goes all to hell when their voices break, especially young male actors.
Steve Lichtenstein: This show was like interviewing chalk, but about 8% as funny. It was also one of several mysterious Top 10 ratings entries from the 1990s ABC catalog, starring Tim “Could I really be this vapidly obnoxious and a coke fiend” Allen.
Scott McKeating: Funny guy though, who I don't recall hearing of before the show, who I presume was a stand-up who got offered his own show (that’s the way it works isn't it?). No need for him to drop his ethical pants and do a Santa movie though.
Gavin Mueller: Tim Allen has a special place in Hell waiting for him.
Dan Maguire: Never was their a more appropriate name for a show, fictional or otherwise, than ‘Tool Time.’
Tony Van Groningen: Ah, the birth of the booty anthem.
David Drake: These were two of a score of early 90s hip-hop singles that must have been indefatigably popular because even as a 9 year old I remember hearing them all over the place. They were great though.
Gavin Mueller: Booty anthems were quite necessary during that era of Puritanical sexual repression known as the early 1990s, but these days their sentiments are passe. Think about it: who doesn't like ass?
Clem Bastow: “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt.”
Dan Maguire: Sir Mix-a-Lot is kind of like the George Washington of big butts. What Sir Mix-a-Lot didn’t know was that by saying “even white boys have to shout,” he single-handedly created a national epidemic. White boys did indeed shout, like only white boys can.
Clem Bastow: Like “Ice Ice Baby”, there is a whole generation of twenty-somethings who are able to recite “Baby Got Back” pretty much verbatim when given this opening-line clue. I am proud to admit that I am one of them.
Josh Timmermann: Few songs are as universal in their appeal, and in their offensiveness, as "Baby Got Back." Men from Albuquerque to Afghanistan get sprung when a girl walks by with an itty, bitty waist and a round thing in their face, while ghetto-bootied senoritas the world over grow tired of their shapely derrieres drawing lecherous stares.
Steve Lichtenstein: Sometimes when I see babies with big backs on the street, or in a restaurant, or mall, I think about rounding them up and bringing them to Sir Mix to seek his approval. Only then can he make a twenty-foot high model of their ass in what looks like Styrofoam covered in peanut butter and frolic through it. It really brings him joy.
Dan Maguire: Stop pretending you haven’t bounced around like epileptic screaming every word to your friends as you chugged that Natty Light at a dorm party. This song, along with “Piano Man” and possibly “Like a Prayer,” rank as the most overplayed party songs of all time, so are you trying to say that you never went to a “wild” dorm party?
Ben Welsh: To this day I still see and hear white girls in bars and on the street play acting through the intro to this song. And nearly every white guy under 30 can probably get you through the first verse by memory.
Josh Timmermann: Or perhaps they're secretly flattered by the song's positive message of body-acceptance. Haha.
David Drake: I remember the first time I heard it – I was quite young, but I was in a pizza shop with my dad and I remember being confused about Sir Mix-A-Lot’s use of the word “back.” I thought he was being too vague – he should have just said “rump.” Yeah, that’s why I love “Rumpshaker.”
Gabe Gloden: Although “Baby Got Back” is infinitely more quotable, I’m going to stick up for “Rumpshaker”.
Andrew Unterberger: Wreckx-n-Effex. All I wanna do is zooma-zooma-zoom-zoom in da boom-boom.
Gavin Mueller: Mix-a-Lot's anthem features the better rhymes and lyrical conceits (My anaconda don't want none!), but there's something to be said for Rumpshaker's slinky bari saxophone. Something, but I'm not sure exactly what.
Tony Van Groningen: I remember being amused by “baby got back,” due in large part to the absurd video for it. But “Rumpshaker,” while similar in theme, for some reason had more of a sinister undertone. Maybe just because it didn’t have any punchlines.
Gabe Gloden: The saxophone was hookier in “Rumpshaker”, but I guess there wasn’t any sax in “Baby Got Back”, so there’s really no comparison. You’re right, “Rumpshaker” kinda sucks.
David Drake: I’m definitely more of a “Rumpshaker” man. That horn during the hook was killer, and I don’t think you can fuck with its bass-heavy grinding groove. “Baby Got Back” is great as well of course, but it’s so ubiquitous that it’s hard for me to dig up that much enthusiasm for it.
Tony Van Groningen: I liked “Rumpshaker” a lot better, it wasn’t as silly and had a better beat. I don’t have any problems with these kinds of songs in general, they make clubbing fun…well, I was 14 in ’92. These songs made Homecoming dances fun.
Adrien Begrand: I didn't like those two songs, and I still don't care for them. That said, Sir Mix-a-Lot was way better.
Clem Bastow: “Rumpshaker” was all riiight… but for me it’s always gonna be “Baby Got Back”. Wreckx-N-Effex just don’t have a motor in the back o’ their Honda.
Scott McKeating: "Baby Got Back". That first line is just a killer.
Andrew Unterberger: In the early 90s, Saturday Night Live got a new lease on life with the greatest cast they’d assembled since the 70s, with dozens of skits funny enough that they were deemed fit to be expanded into full length movies.
Adrien Begrand: I think I played a tape of Chris Farley's Matt Foley sketch a thousand times. By far the funniest sketch SNL has ever done. "Well, lah-dee frickin' dah!!!" "Well I'm here to tell you that your not going to amount to JACK-SQUAT! You're going to end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!"
Ian Mathers: Tim Meadows was totally undervalued. And although he wasn’t exactly undervalued, Phil Hartman was one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever seen.
Gabe Gloden: Was Phil Hartman not the most versatile actor SNL had ever seen? That man had more talent in his upper lip than Mike Myers, Chris Farley and Dana Carvey combined. R.I.P. Phil Hartman.
Michael Heumann: SNL movies are, almost by definition, bad ideas because they try to stretch a 3-minute idea into a 90 minute feature. There's just too much padding.
Ian Mathers: Most SNL spin-offs sucked so much probably because they were just cheap cash-ins. I think because Mike Myers is Canadian he managed to dodge the curse. That and the fact that he, you know, gave a shit.
Michael Heumann: Wayne's World was different because the original idea—two guys who put on a cable access show from their basement—is only the beginning. The original idea wasn't that cable show but three-dimensional characters played by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey.
Adrien Begrand: The combination of Mike Myers and Penelope Spheeris was perfect. Myers was a much smarter writer than his other SNL cohorts, and Spheeris was still, at the time, a rather edgy director.
Michael Heumann: Wayne and Garth were such interesting characters that they could have easily fit into a Mike Leigh film.
Tony Van Groningen: Oh, how I loved this movie. It was just so strange and funny and unlike anything else, the actual SNL skit excepted. Wayne and Garth were these lovable nerdy guys with big imaginations, you couldn’t help but laugh with them and root for them. They just wanted to rock out, have fun, and score with hot chicks. Who doesn’t relate to that, right?
Karim Adab: Mike Myers is directly responsible for not only two eras of playround vernacular but two entire semantic cultural shifts. He gave crap words a context in which they could be enjoyed subversively by your average eleven your old…
Ben Woolhead: “Schwing!”
Sam Bloch: " ... psycho hose beast."
Clem Bastow: “No. Benjamin is nobody’s friend. If Benjamin were an ice cream flavour, he’d be pralines, and dick”.
Sam Bloch: "Sha, right! And monkeys fly out of my butt."
John Rothery: ‘When monkeys fly out of my butt’ is so much better as a phrase than ‘When hell freezes over’. If Mike had hung around with Jesus the bible would be a much more enticing read.
Clem Bastow: I remember my brother and I taught ourselves the Cantonese sequence, entirely phonetically. Zang!
Ben Woolhead: Who would have thought that rock legend Alice Cooper would also be an expert on the history of Milwaukee?
Adrien Begrand: "Car! Game on!" The way Myers brought little Canadian idiosyncracies to American culture was, like, way subversive.
Clem Bastow: I drove past some kids playing street-cricket the other day and yelled “game on!” out the window at them. I don’t think they understood.
Andrew Unterberger: I must’ve watched the scene where Wayne’s stalker girlfriend coyly crashes her bike into that parked car at least five times on rewind before I could get to the rest of the movie. Brilliant.
Sam Bloch: My grandparents bought this movie because my cousins and I loved it so much. "Grandma, Grandma, a sphincter says what?"
Clem Bastow: Whenever I go into a Donut King these days I still have to do the “hello, Mr. Donutman, how are you?” sequence. I’m sure they’ve never heard that before.
Ian Mathers: That bit where Wayne wrote stuff like “I blow goats” on the back of the cue cards for the sponsor nearly made me fall out of my chair. I was 11, I should point out
Dan Magurie: I never could figure out why Rob Lowe was walking all funny toward the basement.
Ian Mathers: Rob Lowe was perfect as the bad guy, and it was kind of touching how everyone wound up with someone, even Garth.
Karim Adab: Not only that, but hands up if this movie represented the first time “Bohemian Rhapsody” actually made any sense to you.
Clem Bastow: Is it humanly possible to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody” these days without acting as though you’re in the Mirthmobile?
Ben Woolhead: Right when hairy, hoary metal was under attack from all sides, up popped Wayne and Garth to keep the flame burning.
Ian Mathers: “Beelzebub has a devil set aside for me! For meeeeeeee!”
Adrien Begrand: Thanks to that movie, "Bohemian Rhapsody" has become even more painfully ubiquitous than it was before, but remember just how funny that scene in the movie actually was the first time you saw it? Every 80s metalhead could relate to that! We all did that. Just not to freakin' Queen.
Nick Southall: Can anybody hear this song without doing that head-nodding thing?
Tony Van Groningen: The concept of having a licorice dispenser in your car is what blew my mind more than anything though.
Dan Maguire: Star of the whole movie was the guy in the backseat, trying his hardest to go beyond the booze, pills, and pot to just ROCK OUT to Queen for one shining last moment before overdosing.
Clem Bastow: Wayne’s World has been comprehensively absorbed into my being, not to mention my family vernacular. I love it.
Josh Timmermann: What I want to know is, who’s Fred, and why the fuck didn’t he just say “Wrong!” and spare us all from the pain?
Tony Van Groningen: What the fuck was this song? Obviously it is really sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek, and there is something to be said for that, but…what the fuck was this song?
Kareem Estefan: I distinctly remember sitting with my parents as they watched Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” on VH1 and being scared. Very scared.
David Drake: I have no idea where I first heard this. I wasn’t particularly drawn to it, although I definitely remember thinking that the deep baritone vox were really funny. I don’t think any sane person could really disagree.
Clem Bastow: How un-sexy were these guys!
Gavin Mueller: Bald beefy Germans in muscle shirts? I'm getting hot just thinking about it.
Steve Lichtenstein: Humility never got Fred anywhere. Much like shirtlessness.
Nick Southall: Yes Right Said Fred were sexy. How can you doubt that?! They looked like Richard O Brian but BEEFED. Bald + beefed = sexy, obviously.
Ian Mathers: That guy from Right Said Fred was a motherfuckin’ P.I.M.P. Muscular too.
Dan Maguire: Is this how Vin Diesel got his start? He was certainly too sexy for a toupee. These two bald guys dance around in jean shorts and tank tops, like mythical, gay unicorns.
Josh Timmermann: What’s Richard Fairbrass too sexy for? Hair, it seems. On his head, at least.
Dan Maguire: Every time I start to visualize the video, my body goes into seizures and I can’t continue.
Clem Bastow: For some reason, the “I’m too sexy for my cat… poor pussy, poor pussycat” bit used to make us howl with laughter.
Ian Mathers: And yeah, when I was young I thought it was unspeakably clever that the last line was “I’m too sexy for this song”.
William Swygart: The more I think about it, the more I like Right Said Fred. I mean, none of their big hits were that bad, and at times they were even quite good – you could argue they were a novelty act, but they were a perfectly sweet-natured one.
Nick Southall: Plus, actually, it was a pretty good tune. I certainly sang along on more than one occasion.
Tony Van Groningen: The epitome of a one-hit-wonder, and also a prime example of how the masses love novelty in music. I wasn’t remotely sorry when this finally stopped getting airplay.
John Rothery: Right now I am far
far too sexy for anybody in my office. I’m too sexy for the blue felt that is daubed on the moveable partition in front of me and for my mocha-soiled waste paper bin.
Gavin Mueller: I'm too sexy for deadlines, baby.
Ian Mathers: I tried to explain to my girlfriend that I was too sexy for my pants, but she wasn’t buying it. She also didn’t believe that she was too sexy for her bra.
Gabe Gloden: I’m too sexy for radio or television, that’s why I write for Stylus.
Dan Maguire: I’m too sexy for this memory.
David Drake: I’m too sexy for the 90s.
Gabe Gloden: When I think of Kriss Kross, I’m immediately reminded of an unfortunate incident at a mandatory middle school dance. First off, I had just bought my first pair of Cross Colors from the local JC Penny and copped a fresh new Hypercolor shirt, and I wanted to show them off. Little did I know, every dude my age had come wearing the same costume. Under pressure, I decided to hit the boys restroom and flip the script (i.e. my pants) to, well, freshen things up a bit. Like all boys my age, I came for one reason and one reason only, to impress a girl. She was a cute little hood rat, two years my senior in 8th grade, so I decided to have my mother drop me off a block from the school so I wouldn’t be seen rollin’ in the Caravan.
She must have come with a crew of 10 incredibly shrill girls, so there was no way I was going to sweet talk my way into a conversation with her without being drowned out by her friends. So I had to resort to a more visually flamboyant mating ritual to get her attention. I don’t know if I could’ve picked a worse role model than Kriss Kross, but I figured since I had already chosen my costume I might as well do the dance that goes along with it. When “Jump” came on over the speakers, I saw my crush start to move her way onto the dancefloor and that’s when I made my move. With a my left hand by my crotch and my right hand thrusting in the air, I bounced my way adjacent to her and her friends. Piercing giggles were followed by a tap on the shoulder. I turned to find my crush red-faced with laughter.
“You know this isn’t ‘Jump’, fool. It’s ‘Warm It Up’.”
I tried, in vain, to cover up my faux pas. “I—I’m just really looking forward to ‘Jump’. Do you know when they’re going to play it? hehe.”
It was too late. She giggled her way off the dancefloor and out of my life forever. I learned an important lesson about every potential relationship that day. You have to warm it up first before you can jump.
Clem Bastow: Tosh. I can’t believe these things took over the world. Jesus they were shit. R.L Stine, you bastard.
Dan Maguire: Forgoing a possible career in a harem, R. L. Stine decides instead to write “scary” stories for kids!
William Swygart: There were these or there were Point Horror. I think they might have been the same thing. They were very popular back in primary school anyhow, though I never read them. 9-year-old me really didn’t want to be in for a scare, thank you very much.
Andrew Unterberger: I can not properly express the importance that these books had to me in my young life. Each time R.L. Stine posted his back catalogue in one of the books, I would memorize it in chronological order. I would go through the choose-your-own-adventure books and choose EVERY ADVENTURE POSSIBLE.
Ian Mathers: I was precocious enough that by the time Goosebumps hit I was reading Dungeons & Dragons novels and shit like that, so when I tried one of these they seemed awfully simple. But Stine was good at identifying stuff that would actually terrorize kids our age.
Joe Niemczyk: The only Goosebumps book I can recall reading was one called Go Eat Worms. You can guess what that was about.
Dan Maguire: I never read Goosebumps, although I remember seeing one titled Say Cheese and Die! The cover had a family skeletons in mid-backyard cookout. It looked really stupid.
Kareem Estefan: I once owned a lot of Goosebumps books. I don’t anymore.
Andrew Unterberger: I even started a mini-Goosebumps Library in my elementary school. We had a card catalogue and a system for signing out and returning books. I moved on to Middle School before I could install the microfiche and make the transition to hardcover.
Joe Niemczyk: At the time, I think parents were just happy to see their children reading, so they kept buying them the damn things.
Dan Maguire: Either way, the guy made sick amounts of money.
Gavin Mueller: Incidentally, one of my middle school teachers was a ghostwriter for R.L. Stine, so consider your suspicions confirmed.
Nick Southall: If you take rap as being born in 1979 then it’s no wonder it should get all adolescent and pseudo-political and be obsessed with ‘meaning’ for a short period around it’s 13th birthday.
Tony Van Groningen: “Alternative Rap.” What a stupid label, but I guess it was indeed alternative to other forms of rap in ’92. Pharcyde, Tribe, De La, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Jungle Brothers, Black Sheep…yes, even Arrested Development…this stuff changed hip-hop, and did a lot to create an awareness of an “indie” or “underground” scene.
Gabe Gloden: The whole Alternative Rap movement was around and kicking since the late 80s, but it didn’t start to make an impact on the mainstream until the early 90s when coffee-house liberals retreated in terror from gangsta rap into their studio apartments with their Arrested Development albums, brandishing them as proof that rap wasn’t the ultimate evil Tipper Gore had made it out to be.
Tony Van Groningen: The production style, even more than the lyrical content, is what made it different. I personally highly enjoy the jazzier, organic “alternative” beats a lot, and think the production injected a much needed breath of fresh air into the mostly stagnant beats of the 80’s.
Andrew Unterberger: The biggest act to emerge from this movement was definitely Arrested Development.
Ian Mathers: Arrested Development were like the Spin Doctors of rap. I thought I didn’t like rap at the time, and I was wrong, but I
knew I didn’t like Arrested Development and time has borne that out.
Adrien Begrand: It was thoughtful, it was introspective, it was earnest, it was boring. They always struck me as the hip hop equivalent of Phish, and I do not mean that in a complimentary way.
David Drake: I still don’t understand why anyone could enjoy listening to that when there was so much other great music going on.
John Rothery: I’d like to stick up for Arrested Development. I was the proud owner of 3 Years, 2 Mont.. err, their album.
Nick Southall: They didn’t suck anywhere near as much as people seem to think. They just looked like fucking idiots.
John Rothery: ‘Mr Wendal’ taught me about the cruelty of capitalism while also being a one of the best singles of the year. The lyrics are carved indelibly upon my brain and I can recite them more assuredly than I can the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Hey man, here’s a dollar, in fact, no, brother man here have two..’ I could go on…
Clem Bastow: “Tennessee” was brilliant. Apart from that “a game of HORSE shoe!” bit, which just made me throw things at the speakers.
Scott McKeating: The first album was quite a nice blend of rustic and Hip-Hop, but I can’t say I’m in a rush to go back to anything but the singles.
Josh Timmermann: While "Tennessee" remains a rather vital moment in hip-hop's coming-of-age, Arrested Development, in retrospect, seem one of the more telling, if not down-right embarrassing, groups to achieve serious critical consensus in the '90s.
Gabe Gloden: Arrested Development probably received too much attention. They were a quality rap group, but just not on the level of a Pharcyde or Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth.
Tony Van Groningen: I’d say that either Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “T.R.O.Y.” or Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” are the pinnacle moments of the era.
Gabe Gloden: “T.R.O.Y (They Reminisce Over You)” was, in my opinion, the best hip-hop single of the decade, a sublime tribute song that encapsulated everything that was great about the alternative rap movement in first place, that is, the way it managed to sound “deep” without being schmaltzy and “street” without being overtly violent.
Nick Southall: “Can I Kick It?” is by far the best thing to come from this ‘movement’, because it DOESN’T come from this movement. Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug.
David Drake: There are SO many to choose from – “T.R.O.Y.,” “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Sweet Potato Pie,” “Mass Appeal,” “Never Seen a Man Die”…. It really was an amazing period for hip-hop.
Adrien Begrand: The one "alternative rap" song I really liked was Digable Planets' "Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)". That Art Blakey bass sample is amazing, and I always liked Ladybug's voice and phrasing.
David Drake: But I think the song that resonated with me personally the most was Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By,” a classic tale of unrequited love that I related to on many levels. Even for a 9-year-old, I was something of a romantic.
Tony Van Groningen: Alternative rap, in my opinion, didn’t either legitimize or trivialize hip-hop; it just expanded it, added to the lexicon. It was probably a lot more palatable to people who were opposed to gangsta rap, (Oh shit! De La Soul had neon fucking flowers on the album cover!) but that wasn’t really the point of it and it isn’t fair to define it as such. It produced some incredible songs.
Andrew Unterberger: As grunge took over in 1992, it started becoming more than a music movement, influencing the way the kids started dressing, showing up in popular movies and defining the youth of the 90s as Generation X.
Steve Lichtenstein: We’re the generation that’s one-third pornography, which is decent.
Adrien Begrand: Coupland's book Generation X was excellent. And yes, some of us Gen Xers related to it...somewhat.
Michael Heumann: If you divide the number of people who actually read this book by the number of people who pretended to read it so they could sound smart at parties, and if you then divided that by the number of people who watched all or parts of the final Seinfeld episode, I think you'll end up with 3.14159265. Makes you think, doesn't it?
Ben Woolhead: After a while I got tired of the narrative’s meanderings in no particular direction and just read the brilliant terminology and neologisms at the bottom of the pages.
Nick Southall: I finally read the book when I was about 21, and felt both identification with the characters and an almost permanent desire to vomit viciously.
Michael Heumann: Did the term “Generation X” it define a generation? Yes—at least, until the whole Internet boom. Strange that it didn't reappear after the Internet bust!
John Rothery: Pretty meaningless label for apathy.
Scott McKeating: A very silly term.
Adrien Begrand: Back then, the whole attitude was, "Don't classify us!", but these days, I'm fine with the term; it's a good brand, you can't deny that.
Nick Southall: It’s a hideous term.
Adrien Begrand: As for all you folks born after 1979, what are you all called, anyway?
Gavin Mueller: These days I just call them sell-outs.
Scott McKeating: Being in Generation X meant you could slob out and still be 'cool'. Well the media seemed to like it but as with every youth culture round-up it failed to cover the majority of people of that age who were not lethargic, apolitical Nirvana fans.
Michael Heumann: Grunge--the only fashion trend that ever encouraged people to spend LESS money on their clothes.
Ben Woolhead: Watching the videos for Pearl Jam’s “Alive” and “Would?” by Alice In Chains is enough to suggest that “grunge fashion” is an oxymoron. Too many bandannas, for one thing.
Dan Maguire: I used to rock the long-sleeved T-shirt under my Nevermind concert T-shirt. Mom must have thought I looked so cool as I sprawled out on the living room floor and watched Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.
Adrien Begrand: I did own a flannel shirt. Out of necessity, mostly. I'm Canadian, and those things are warm.
Lisa Oliver: I saw Nirvana in Cleveland right before 'Nevermind' came out. Me, Sue and our other friend Missy got into the show with fake IDs. The three of us spent hours figuring out our perfect grunge outfits to wear. Missy's was a Helmut t-shirt, dark blue Levis with a brown suede jacket, Sue's was a vintage dress with men's brogues and mine was a Halo of Flies t-shirt, short black shirt, black tights, black boots and short fake fur jacket.
Scott McKeating: I had Pillar box red streaks in my long hair and a mustard tartan jacket. I had to beat the women off with a shitty sick.
Dan Maguire: I dragged my mom to JC Penney's and made her buy me a flannel hoodie. Too bad my childhood was in Tampa, FL and not Aberdeen. The heat, coupled with the fact that I wore that thing at least four times a day, made me feel pretty grunge.
Lisa Oliver: Also, in my grunge group, the must own accessory was mardi gras beads. For some reason, this was what we deemed as the epitome of hipster chic, red being especially coveted, so we were resplendent with ours. That night, Nirvana kicked our asses, we rocked and it was beautiful.
Ben Woolhead: Though the music might have consumed my life, I can say with retrospective satisfaction that I never succumbed to the allure of dressing like someone a tramp would give money to. Well, that’s not strictly true – I wanted to, I just wasn’t allowed. Even if I had been, at the age of 14 I was probably still too much of a square to actually give it a go.
Andrew Unterberger: The fashion, the location, the music and the attitude all came together for mass popular observation in the movie Singles.
Adrien Begrand: Remember, Singles predates the grunge explosion, it doesn't cash in on it; Crowe filmed it in Seattle because it was his home, and he loved the music that was coming from there at the time.
Ben Woolhead: Shit film, great soundtrack. If you must put yourself through the movie, then watch out for Chris Cornell’s cameo.
Andrew Unterberger: “All my life, waiting for somebody! Ah-Ah-Ahhhhh!!” The grungesters on that soundtrack were beautiful, but Westerberg destroyed them all.
Adrien Begrand: The movie, on the other hand, was kind of weak, save for a cute Bridget Fonda, and Alice in Chains' killer performance of "It Ain't Like That". Oh, and I don't ever want to hear Matt Dillon sing ever again.
Scott McKeating: Matt Dillon's little chin beard thing was really awful looking, like he'd dragged to the set mid scat munch. For such a great actor, he played a stoner very badly.
Michael Heumann: If only Eddie Vedder and the gang had really called themselves Citizen Dick!
Adrien Begrand: The movie's best line: "He's only the next Martin Scor-seeze."
Andrew Unterberger: Singles was probably the first movie of the 90s that couldn’t have been made in any other decade. It changed the way hip romantic comedies were made. And it was a great one, too.
Andrew Unterberger: Michael Crichton and John Grisham completely owned the 90s.
Dan Maguire: These guys must have been whoring their wives out to screen writers and movie executives, and their wives must have been absolute pros. No questions asked.
Clem Bastow: Michael Crichton was God to me from Grade Six onwards. I think he’s one writer who has unfairly been daubed with the “airport novelist” brush; he’s one of the better horror/sc-fi/techno crossover writers around.
Ian Mathers: Neither of these guys were really very good, but Crichton had The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, Eaters Of The Dead and the book version of Sphere, so he wins.
John Rothery: Fucking rubbish. I read Sphere, apparently the film was worse though I don’t know how.
Clem Bastow: I think his political stuff – Rising Sun, Disclosure, Airframe – was probably less successful, but nothing has ever scared me as comprehensively as the opening sequence to Jurassic Park (that’s the book, dummies).
Nick Southall: The book of Jurassic Park wipes the floor with Mary Shelley, I know that much.
Ian Mathers: Plus my dad’s a lawyer, so Grisham’s stuff just seemed cartoony.
Adrien Begrand: Grisham was a good guilty pleasure, though his earnest southern lawyer shtick got tiresome really fast.
Andrew Unterberger: The Firm rocked my young mind like no book has since. Something about litigation is just so damn sexy and suspenseful.
Adrien Begrand: Grisham was the Garth Brooks of 90s literature: safe, wholesome, predictable, and tailor made for the mass market.
Ben Woolhead: If you ever go round to the house of a friend who lives with their parents, there’s a surefire way of telling if the dad’s made a contribution to the family bookshelves: there’ll be several books written by John Grisham or Michael Crichton. Or Tom Clancy. Or Andy McNab.
Josh Timmermann: I'm no fan of either Grisham or Crichton, but both are vastly preferable to Tom Clancy. I mean, if I wanted to read a book about the technical workings of submarines, than I would read a goddamn book about submarines!
Scott McKeating: They’re airport lounge novelists. People get bored at airports, so the shops at the airport sell them.
Gavin Mueller: Why were they popular? People like two things: established brands and thick books that imply that some sort of intellectual rigor is required to get through them.
I REMEMBER 1992
William B. Swygart: 90210 is now repeated at around 4 or 5 o’clock in the mornings on Saturdays on Channel 5, and I’m certain Melrose Place also occupied that slot at one point. It’s really quite weird watching it, remembering when 90210 was one of the biggest prime-time programmes on Saturday nights on British TV. But watching them at these odd hours is a very peculiar experience. No-one else is awake, and I’m alone in a silent room as these pastel-shaded people with perfectly smooth yet totally matte complexions slide into view in the title sequence with massive toothy grins, supposedly the very image of opulence at the time, and yet it all looks totally washed out and empty now. The soundtrack sounds almost mono or muted, it’s all really desolate and quiet, like the television’s been visited by ghosts or something. It’s not intentionally like this, either, you still see Luke Perry and Jason Priestley rolling like they’re the man, and everyone being “oh gosh, isn’t Shannen Doherty’s character so gorgeous?” when she quite obviously isn’t. It has aged so badly that you can’t even begin to consider a time when it would have been popular, and that’s really quite terrifying.
Gabe Gloden: 1992 was really the year Madonna completed the transformation from pop music star to all-around media icon. She released her infamous Sex book which featured, well, plenty of sexiness. Coupled with the release of Erotica, she swung for the fences to become THE inescapable sex symbol of the 90s.
John Rothery: This may well be a misogynist observation but she had gone from being the most fuckable thing I had ever seen, whilst writhing around on the sand all Marilyn-like in “Cherish,” to being an outright slut by 92.
Scott McKeating: The book wasn't that bad. The Campbell and Daddy Kane pics were quite entertaining. Vanilla Ice is a minger.
Dan Maguire: I never cared much for Madonna, and Vanilla Ice was so ’91. Plus I was ten.
Ian Mathers: I could forgive that woman for almost anything (including the English accent), but not tarnishing the innocence of sweet young Robert Van Winkle.
Clem Bastow: Those Vanilla Ice pics were majorly disturbing, perhaps moreso because of the leer on his face that read, “hoo boy, my fifteen minutes just got a thirty-second bonus!” Good one, loser, you’re rooting her with your jeans and boxers on.
Josh Timmermann: That Sex book thing just sort of grossed me out. Does that mean I'm sexually close-minded, even rather conservative when it comes to does or doesn't do it for me? Probably.
John Rothery: There is nothing sexy about Sex/Erotica-era Madonna. It is about Sex and Power, revealing the strange dichotomy between female empowerment and the shedding of clothes.
Clem Bastow: And what is she wearing in those photos? Space-blanket Harry High Pants hotpants? Sheesh.
John Rothery: This abridge between mainstream pop and hardcore porn made a lot of repressed people feel uncomfortably titillated and posed questions that they weren’t keen on answering but to me it was desperation, which will never ever be sexy. History repeats with Britney; she was much sexier in the school uniform and happier too, it seems.
Josh Timmermann: I'll take Girls Gone Wild Doggystyle anyday over that weird art-porn shit.
Clem Bastow: It’s obvious that they were going for some kind of Helmut Newton/Robert Mapplethorpe gravitas (I know, we’ll be in a street… naked! And the photos are in black and white!) but it’s NQR erotica; it’s about as sexy as a Kmart catalogue.
Gabe Gloden: Then she finally landed a role that she could play, the slut in “A League of Their Own”.
Ian Mathers: Madonna was in A League Of Their Own? Really?
Steve Lichtenstein: In 24 years, studies will be performed to determine the effects on sexual orientation of Madonna’s role in A League of Their Own on young, potentially homosexual baseball fans.
Josh Timmermann: Madonna is probably the best thing in A League of their Own, aside from that classic scene where Tom Hanks takes an epic piss. Somtimes she actually can act.
Gabe Gloden: ’92 might have been the year Madonna was the most like Madonna.
Adrien Begrand: The nadir of the most overrated career in pop music history.
William Swygart: The Simpsons, or, ‘When The General Consensus Was Actually Bang-on.
Andrew Unterberger: The Simpsons was absolutely a one of a kind TV show, achieving a stimultaneous level of commercial and artistic success that no other show in history could ever dream of.
Ben Woolhead: Forget the fact that it’s a cartoon, or that toy shops were full of Bart dolls soon after the show was first screened: this is very much a programme for adults, featuring some of the sharpest and wittiest satire around.
Adrien Begrand: One thing most people forget about The Simpsons: the first season really, really sucked.
Kareem Estefan: The Simpsons had been around since ‘89 – ’87 if you count the Tracey Ullman Show – but it was some time around ’92, during the third and fourth seasons of the show, that its creators got into an unstoppable groove, which would soon produce hours of unimaginably good television.
David Drake: I think this was around the time that the focus moved from Bart to Homer…a good move, I think, and a more natural focus for the series.
Ben Welsh: I think that turning point for The Simpsons came some time after this year when they shifted the focus of the series away from Bart and onto Homer. All the best moments and episodes revolve around Homer Jay.
Michael Heumann: Homer Simpson. He is the id. He can think and say and do ANYTHING. He is a glutton, a liar, a moron, a Zen philosopher, a spaceman, a punchline, a buffoon, a friend, an enemy, a lover, and a fighter. He is America. Put him on the flag!
Adrien Begrand: I like how the show's creators remarked how Homer Simpson openly weeps more than any other American fiction hero in history.
David Drake: Later on it became a show about all of Springfield.
Andrew Unterberger: My favorite character(s) are Lenny and Carl. “Sending some outgoing mail?” “You know it!”
Scott McKeating: C'mon! Ralph. He's practically a classic one liner machine.
Ralph: "Mommy, can you open my milk?”
Miss. Hoover " I'm not your mommy Ralph”
Adrien Begrand: Professor Frink, with Hank Azaria doing his most over the top Jerry Lewis impersonation. All I have to hear is "Goyven-glayven!", and I just crack up.
Ian Mathers: Professor Frink is the best character on any TV show ever, with the burning and the rain of blood and the ow ow ow.
Dan Maguire: Hans Moleman, the old man who is actually in his 30’s (“I was saying ‘Boo-urns.’”)
John Rothery: Captain MacAllister. Is it true that he isn’t a real sea captain? ‘Arrrr’ (Hangs head in shame)
David Drake: My favorite character was definitely pretty much anyone played by Phil Hartman. The man played some wickedly funny characters.
Gabe Gloden: “I'm your host, Troy McClure. You may remember me from such films as ‘The Erotic Adventures of Hercules’ and ‘Dial M for Murderousness’.”
Ben Welsh: There’s no way I can pick a favorite. Too much awesome.
Ben Woolhead: Favourite line – Homer: “I see they’ve got the internet on computers these days”.
Adrien Begrand: Favorite guest appearance: The Ramones. "Hey, I think they liked us."
Michael Heumann: There are so many, but here are two, courtesy of Kent Brockman. First: "Kids are people too—worthless, incomplete people." Second: "I've said it before and I'll say it again—democracy simply doesn't work."
John Rothery: Homer: ‘Good things don’t end in –ium. They end in -mania or –teria’
Adrien Begrand: Homer: "Y'know, I've had a lot of jobs: Boxer, Mascot, Astronaut, Imitation Krusty, Babyproofer, Trucker, Hippie, Plow Driver, Food Critic, Conceptual Artist, Grease Salesman, Carnie, Mayor, Grifter, Bodyguard for the Mayor, Country-Western Manager, Garbage Commissioner, Mountain Climber, Farmer, Inventor, Smithers, Poochie, Celebrity Assistant, Power Plant Worker, Fortune Cookie Writer, Beer Baron, Quik-E-Mart Clerk, Homophobe and Missionary...but protecting Springfield, that gives me the best feeling of all."
Kareem Estefan: “They may say she died of a burst ventricle, but I know she died of a broken heart.”
Ian Mathers: “Fine then, you’ll pick many a bean!”
Nick Southall: “Don’t make me run; I’m full of chocolate!”
Adrien Begrand: Homer: (singing) “Max Power, he has the name that you want to touch, but you musn't touch! His name sounds good in your ear, but when you hear it, you musn't fear. Cause his name can be said, in many different ways...”
Ben Woolhead: Favourite episode – It just has to be Homerpalooza. “I’m looking at you, Cypress Hill.” And Sonic Youth get to deconstruct the theme music – absolutely perfect.
Michael Heumann: One that sticks out in my mind is the one where Homer is freaked out when he learns his new friend (John Waters) is gay, and then becomes frightened that Bart will become gay too. Best line comes from Barney: "Don't shoot us, Mr. Gay Man."
Andrew Unterberger: Treehouse of Horror V. “DAD! YOUR HAND IS JAMMED IN THE TOASTER!!,” “Urge to kill….rising,” Grandpa’s wedding advice, “In fact—you could say that we just…ate Uter….and he’s in our stomachs…right now!!,” Willie getting axed in all three episodes, “can’t murder now, eating”—oh, dear me…
Adrien Begrand: The show has always been clever, but the first five or six seasons had a real sweet side that the show really lacks these days. On "...And Maggie Makes Three", when Homer is forced to work in front of a plaque that says, "Remember: You're Here Forever," and he covers it with photos of Maggie so it reads instead, "Do It For Her," if you don't have a lump in your throat, you're dead inside.
Ben Woolhead: Though it consistently attracts the biggest guest appearances (the most recent being our very own President Mr Tony Blair), no one person or institution is too big to be lampooned – not even Fox, the channel on which the show appears. And the beauty of it is that the popularity of The Simpsons is such that Fox just have to go on letting Groening and co bite the hand that feeds them.
Kareem Estefan: The evolution of The Simpsons is fascinating. Beginning as a short document of an American middle-class family on The Tracey Ullman Show and ending as a subpar, continually manipulated Family Guy (at least I hope it isn’t sinking any further), the family we all love has had its bad moments and its good.
Adrien Begrand: These days, it's all self-parody, and this season especially, it's really starting to run out of steam. Please end it now, before it dies a slow, ugly death.
Scott McKeating: Its kind of run its course now, but its moving, entertaining and funny whilst packing messages. You don't find that very often.
Kareem Estefan: But no other show has ever been like this. None will ever claim to have the impact The Simpsons did from 1992-1996, when all of the producers’ purposes – entertainment, social commentary, narrative – coalesced beautifully into a show brimming with allusive dialogue, surprisingly meaningful plot, and the most ingenious characters ever to be animated.
John Rothery: Its become a bit holier than thou but it’s hard to criticise a show that is just so remarkably good in so many ways. Its just that saying that The Simpsons is the best TV show ever is a little like saying the Beatles are the best band ever, or “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the best video ever. With the difference that in the case of The Simpsons you’d be right as well as unoriginal.
Adrien Begrand: Easily the best TV show ever. I never tire of watching the re-runs, and on Canadian satellite TV, we get about six different episodes every day. It's gotten so bad over the years, I can think of a Simpsons line that corresponds with anything that might happen around me, wherever I am. It's sad.
Ben Welsh: It’s my personal theory that The Simpsons are the common denominator of life for anyone born after 1975. Any experience can be related to some similar occurrence on The Simpsons. They’ve covered that much ground.
Kareem Estefan: If it weren’t for The Simpsons, my sister and I would have nothing in common. There has never been a show so widely appreciated, and for good reason.
Steve Lichtenstein: Give me some good coffee and we can talk about The Simpsons for the next 39 consecutive days, no sleep, occasional bathroom breaks. It’s just that good, that important, that multifaceted. It can bring up sudden, sputtering laughter in my mind almost anytime, like nothing else I know. It probably happens once or more just about every day, and I’m usually inclined to share it with anyone near. It often triggers with only a word, or an image, or a tone of voice. It’s one of the best things there is.
Nick Southall: It’s still the only programme I make a conscious effort to watch apart from Italian football, which has got to say something.
David Drake: I could go on for HOURS about this show. Absolutely loved it. So yes, this is the best TV show ever.
Gavin Mueller: God, I can't bear to talk about the Simpsons any more. BEST SHOW EVER, OK I SAID IT.
Ian Mathers: Still hasn’t jumped the shark, although it has changed, and God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, it never will. Everyone who can imitate the Comic Book Guy is obligated to say “Best show ever” right now.
By: Stylus Staff
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