Thursday, December 31, 2009

In the Meantime, Please Enjoy this Classic Post: Jock Jams

Repost Disclaimer: Children of the Nineties is, weather permitting, in transit to much-awaited New Year's Eve celebrations. In the meantime, please enjoy a pre-scheduled classic CotN repost from earlier this year. As I only had three or four readers at the time, it's probably (okay, almost definitely) new to you.

Jock Jams

It only occurs to me now that the Jock Jams music series was in some way related to athletics in a "pump-you-up" sort of way. We all just accepted that the series was called "Jock Jams;" for years I thought it was a legitimate category of music. There was punk, top 40, rock, grunge, adult alternative, and Jock Jams.

Jock Jams was certainly unrelenting in its commitment to providing a singular type of music. Tack listings featured such non-sensically titled classics as "Whoomp! There it is!" "Boom, Boom, Boom" "Da' Dip" and "Tubthumping." Obviously, using words found in the dictionary was not a requirement for admission to Jock Jams stardom. If you could verbalize some sort of grunting sound and write a song about it, you were in. Pump-up themes were also prevalent and pervasive. The first volume featured a staggering 3 songs with the phrase "pump it up!" in their titles. There was no question this franchise was churning out upbeat tunes, as evidenced by a whopping 11 uses of the word "up" in song titles alone in the five Jock Jams albums.

These compliation CDs featured more than just music, though it was their main jock-inspiring focus. Jock Jams also included some spoken and/or chanted tracks full of strangely taunting remarks, often with vengeful undertones. These short tracks were cleverly faded into the next song, with little or no delay between tracks. Assumedly, this was to keep the jocks jamming uninterruptedly. There's nothing a jamming jock despises more than a two second pause between tracks. What sort of a bench press soundtrack would this be if lifters were forced to endure a one-second silence? How would they possibly build up the motivation to increase their muscular capacity if involuntarily subjected to quietude? How, I ask you?

Although the album covers declared the compilations to be presented by the distinctly athletic ESPN, in reality, these supposed "jock" jams were directed more at a teenybopper slash dance club crowd than their eponymous sportsmen demographic. In this sense, the spoken tracks were possibly misdirected with their vindictive themes. A bunch of 12-year olds chanting, "Hey, hey, you! Get out of our way because today is the day we will put you away!" is a tad more disconcerting and less appropriate than say, a football team delivering the same unsportmanlike message. Regardless of their out-of-placedness among the actual consumers, the spoken tracks had a certain charm to them that uniquely characterized the albums.

The most recognizable was of course the classic intro to the original Jock Jams (volume one) was the infamous boxing announcer Michael Buffer's trademarked phrase, "Let's get ready to ruuuuuumble!" Listeners were indeed, ready to rumble, possibly not in a punch-you-out fashion but at the very least in a 90s dance-club rump-shaking manner.

Jock Jams actually had listed tracks attributed to their very own Jock Jams cheerleaders, presumably those pictured on their various album covers. Though it was never made clear exactly what the prerequisites for Jock Jam cheerleaderdom were, we can only assume that the audition process required a yelling/spelling combo exam.

"Alright girls, all 28 of you have passed the shouting test, great work. Unfortunately, only 3 of you passed the spelling portion of the tryout. For those of you who spelled 'action' a-c-k-s-h-u-n, better luck next year trying out for volume 3 when we'll be asking you to incorrectly spell the word 'rowdy' with an 'i-e'." (Note: there is indeed a track on Jock Jams Volume 3 entitled "R.O.W.D.I.E". Check out the track listing for yourself if you have any remaining incredulity about the ridiculousness of these anthologies.)

These CDs included many of our favorite standard 90s upbeat tracks like the Macarena and the Space Jam theme, but also had some odd remixes thrown in for good measure. I'd been meaning to remix the Mexican Hat Dance for awhile now, but the good people at Jock Jams beat me to it. I also played around with the idea of turning "If You're Happy and You Know It" into a rockin' club jam, but again Jock Jams had clearer foresight than I. Did I mention I've always loved when they play the Chicken Dance at classy church-basement, come on, Jock Jams! You've got to be kidding me. That too? What won't you remix? It's obviously back to the drawing board for me.

The 1990s were famous for megamixing everything. We could never be satisfied with just mixing. Even supermixing seemed too tame for our extreme 90s music tastes. No, it was was megamix or nothing. Megamixing was the fine-tuned art of taking approximately one line from every song, in this case from a single compilation album, and mixing them into a something that even the most attention-deficit nineties child could attend to.

"We've tried mixing it...but could we megamix it? Our demographic prefers to listen to their favorite songs in snippets, people!"

I'll admit it is catchy. While the Jock Jams franchise was not creative by any means, you have to admire them for holding out all these years with their initial premise. The CDs were wildly popular and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. No 6th grade basketball tournament would be complete without a pre-game layup show set to some variation of the megamix. Jocks or not, children of the 90s reveled in the eardrum-shattering flavor of these CDs.

So go ahead, children of the 90s. Pop a Jock Jams the boombox, crack open a bottle of Surge, zip up that Starter Jacket, and get ready to rumble.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In the Meantime, Please Enjoy this Classic Post: Crystal Pepsi

Repost Disclaimer: Children of the Nineties is at a work conference, and despite desperate pleas to the contrary is not entitled to personal computer time. In the meantime, please enjoy a pre-scheduled classic CotN repost from earlier this year. As I only had three or four readers at the time, it's probably (okay, almost definitely) new to you.

Crystal Pepsi

Are you sick of delicious, well-known sodas? Do you find the comforting and familiar to be generally repugnant? Do you need a new soda Right Now, and would prefer to drink it accompanied by the Van Halen song of the same name?

Well, you're in luck! Or at least, you would have been had you expressed these concerns somewhere between 1992 and 1993.

In 1992, Pepsi executives sat down and thought, "Sure, our product is delicious and thirst-quenching...but is it pure?" You may have thought they had learned a key and important lesson in not-tampering-with-a-successful-formula from the 1985 "New Coke" debacle, but you would be wrong. In an ever-ongoing battle for one-upmanship between Pepsico and the Coca Cola Company, no product launch was too ridiculous.

Thankfully, they had an equally absurd ad campaign to accompany the product. Although Crystal Pepsi was indeed clear in color, it tasted pretty much like original Pepsi. I may be going out on a limb here, but I assume that if it tastes the same, there were not major recipe changes for the beverage outside of altering the color of the syrup. This did not stop our friends over at Pepsi from making the supposed "clarity=purity" concept the major cornerstone of their advertising campaigns. The concept in itself was ridiculous; no one was claiming Sprite or 7UP to be particularly pure in comparison to its darker-syruped soda peers. Regardless of the obvious fallibility of this advertising claim, PepsiCo pushed ahead with quintessential 90s commercials like this:

So, what did you learn? Nothing? What? You mean to tell me that despite all of those definitive statements splashed across my screen, not a single one of them tells us anything at all about the product itself aside from its clear color? Well, at least the music drops some heavy hints on when I can expect to find this beverages in stores. I'll give you a hint: it's not later.

Clearly (sorry, I had to), Pepsi was piggybacking on other marketing trends at the time and aiming to portray a product that was simultaneously familiar and improved. Researchers at the time were uncovering some mildly convincing evidence that people's perception of taste or quality is heavily impacted by its color. However, what the Pepsi R&D people failed to take into account was that people's expectations for taste also change significantly with a color shift. While people were expecting Crystal Pepsi to have a lighter taste and lower caloric content (after all, it's not a huge leap from how they market it in the above ad), their tastebuds were in uproar over the eye-to-brain miscommunication.

While Crystal Pepsi had done well in initial test markets, the actual substance of the product failed to live up to the hype. People tasted the cola and were generally unimpressed from its near indistinguishability from the original. In an effort to counterbalance popular public opinion, PepsiCo released the following commercial:

So, what did they think? They claimed it have a "nice lemony-zing taste!" and a "clear" flavor. None of those things were particularly true about the initial Crystal Pepsi formula, but the folks over at Pepsi were desperate to convince us they were so. Confronted with a backlash from loyal Pepsi drinkers, Pepsi continued backpedaling in an effort to extricate themselves from this sticky (though supposedly "less syrupy!") situation.

Suddenly, it was like the Clinton impeachment hearing of soda marketing as the Pepsi people really took it down to semantics. "What do you mean we called it Crystal Pepsi? It's called Crystal from Pepsi!" That's right. Pepsi realized that their staunch classic soda adherents were in a huff over the fact that they tried to pass off this colorless impostor as their old favorite Pepsi. Why, this wasn't Pepsi at all! It's as if their fanbase got together and put out a statement saying, "We don't care if you make it. We don't even care if people know it's from Pepsi. But for God's sake, we can't have people thinking this is Pepsi! Blasphemy!"

And so it was:

At least this ad shows the corporation is able to poke some fun at itself. Pepsi recognized how ridiculous the addition of this meaningless preposition was to the name of their product. They also knew it was absurd that they were forced to add a citrus flavor based on people's perceptions of how a clear soda should taste.

After all of that, I think we can all agree: no more messing with the original. Is that clear?


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In the Meantime, Please Enjoy this Classic Post: Magic Eye

Repost Disclaimer: Children of the Nineties is at a work conference, and despite desperate pleas to the contrary is not entitled to personal computer time. In the meantime, please enjoy a pre-scheduled classic CotN repost from earlier this year. As I only had three or four readers at the time, it's probably (okay, almost definitely) new to you.

Magic Eye

It's a well-known fact that all children enjoy staring at a two dimensional image for so long that their eyes begin to glaze over and water uncontrollably. Their heads may ache, their eyes may lose focus, and their patience may wear paper thin, but nothing will impede them from their ultimate visual goal. Though usually it is near impossible to force a child to stay still, set one in front of a Magic Eye book or poster and prepare to be amazed: not by the Magic we were promised, but rather by the level of maddening concentration associated with capturing it.

There was nothing worse than being the one kid who couldn't see the hidden image. If you were ocularly challenged in a manner that hindered your useless ability to view a supposedly three dimensional image amongst a repetitive sea of two-dimensional images, you were relegated to endless ridicule and social alienation. God help you if you suffered from the curse of poor binocular disparity, as you were likely headed for a sad and lonely existence devoid of exciting jump-from-the-page imagery. A seemingly pointless skill of blank staring suddenly set apart the Haves from the Have Nots.

In bookstores and classrooms across the nation, the same conversation was taking place between increasingly frustrated pairs of children:

Kid #1: Look at the picture.
Kid #2: Okay, I'm looking. (long pause) So, what's supposed to happen here?
Kid #1: You'll see something.
Kid #2: I'll see what?
Kid #1: Just look at it!
Kid #2: I am looking.
Kid #1: No, look past it.
Kid #2: Oh, I think I kind of...
Kid #1: Do you see it now?
Kid #2: Um, yeah, I think so.
Kid #1: So what is it?
Kid #2: A...whale?
Kid #1: Ugh, it's the Statue of Liberty. Man, you suck at these things.

(Kid #2 walks off with pounding eye strain-based headache and wounded pride)


Nobody really seemed to know how these things worked, and no one really seemed to care. The real test of 90s childhood street credibility was an uncanny capacity to descramble austereogramatic images. I know, it makes perfect sense. How else are we supposed to prioritize our social structure? Brains? Looks? Give me a break. It was Magic Eye or nothing.

The burning shame of not being one of the Chosen Ones was both crippling and inescapable. Living with the constant fear that our mothers' old adages of our crossed eyes forever sticking that way was not enough to deter us from staring intently until our brains were set to burst. We were determined that this would be the time that we would finally see what everyone was raving about. Those who were skilled in the ways of the Magic Eye were constantly coaching us, insisting that we were doing it wrong. Despite our protests of poor depth perception or an inability to visually construct convergent images, the Seers were neverendingly giving us all sorts of well-meaning contradictory viewing tips:

"Cross your eyes a little!"
"Eyeballs further apart!"

"Look to the left of it!"
"The other left!"

"Try to focus on one spot!"
"Don't focus your eyes on anything at all!"
"Try to look past it!"

That last one was always my favorite. Oh, you want me to look past it? I was foolishly looking at it. Alrighty, no problem. I knew this x-ray vision would eventually come in handy. I'll just gaze straight through the paper to the next page and I'll be set.

Unfortunately, this brand sarcasm was lost on our persistent Magic Eye instructors. After all, who cares about attitude when you've got magical pictures? Hopeful that their Magic Eye proteges may have finally blossomed into fully evolved viewers capable of perceiving 3D imagery, the Seers would eagerly ask, "Can you see it now?" Horribly embarrassed by our ineptitude, we would have to grudgingly admit time and time again that we still lacked the basic ogling skills necessary to deconstruct a series of seemingly meaningless colored dots. Try as we might, we would never be content to simply accept it as a moderately attractive example of pointilistic art. We knew it was so much more, and we wanted in.

Thankfully, our dear uploading friends over at YouTube have put together an instructional video of sorts. Don't let the soothing music and whimsical font fool you. This thing is serious. I followed the instructions to a T, but somewhere along the way my plan to see a glorious hidden three-dimensional image took a turn for the worst. It brought me right back to 1995, with all my Seeing friends telling me, "You're thinking about it too much. Just stare at it. Don't think about it at all." Right. Because telling me not to think too much about it leads me to think about it prominently and intently. Why don't you give it a try and see what you see:

Isn't that nice? They offer that little consolatory image at the end to offset the continued wrenching humiliation of those of us unable to see the 3D picture. If you can see it, congratulations. Your ocular capacity clearly exceeds mine, and I respect your visual superiority. However, if you failed to see the image, you are not alone; in fact, many of our celebrated television personalities faced the same issue, sometimes as a minor offshoot plotline!

On the original Ellen show, Ellen Degeneres desperately tried to hide her secret inability to Magic Eye. An episode of Seinfeld left George and others so transfixed by the Magic Eye task at hand that they were unable to complete the rudimentary functions of their everyday lives. And of course, we can't forget out beloved Friend Ross Gellar, who was chastised by the whole group for his incompetence at drawing out the 3D Statue of Liberty in one of the most popular Magic Eye pictures. US magazine has been right all along, they really are just like us! And they say there are no relatable characters in sitcoms.

Thus if you're feeling down about your lack of Magical Eyes, rest your weary sockets. You're among good company. For those of you who can see the mythical images, well, continue to bask in your transcendent ability. A skill you thought had been laid to rest years ago has briefly returned just long enough for you to reassert your superiority over the Blind. By tomorrow your so-called skill will reclaim its rightful place in obsolescence and your gloating rights will dissolve like the two dimensional dots from the three dimensional Statue of Liberty.

Enjoy it while it lasts, you lucky bastards.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Children of the 90s Travel Mix Tape Part Two: Flight Edition

I just can't seem to stay in one place for more than a few days at a time over this holiday season. I'm flying off again, this time for a work trip. Don't worry, though: I've got you covered. I know the pain of 90s withdrawal, so I've lined up some good classic posts for the coming week. No nostalgia detox necessary. You're welcome.

As I've mentioned, my iPod is full of 90s goodies. A flight playlist is tricky, though; it requires songs that you enjoy listening that you can both a) potentially sleep through and b) resist the urge to sing along. It can be a painstaking endeavor, but I think I've got my 90s flight playlist down to a near-science. Again, I must ask you to try your best to suspend judgment. Some of these songs are notoriously uncool to admit to, but I'm willing to put my already not-so-cool reputation on the line in the name of quality nostalgia. I thank you in advance for repressing your laughter.

You Get What You Give (New Radicals)

So much for keeping promises. This song has already failed my 90s flight playlist litmus test on one count: it is pretty fun to sing along to. The only part I really know goes something like, "Fashion shoot with Beck and Hanson, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson...(*mumbling along, pretending to know words*)...we'll kick your ass in!" Okay, okay, I guess I don't know it quite as well as I'd thought.

Bittersweet Symphony (Verve)

If you're a true 90s aficionado, you'll recognize this as the song played toward the end of Cruel Intentions. For some unknown reason, I've always had a soft spot for that movie. It's like the original Gossip Girl. I think I'm just digging myself deeper into your merciless judgment now, so I'll just cut it off there. This is a great song, though, regardless of your feelings on Cruel Intentions.

Stay (Lisa Loeb)

Very artists can boast a number one hit without even signing onto a record label. Lisa Loeb was definitely among the lucky unsigned, with her 1994 debut single "Stay (I Missed You) skyrocketing to the top Billboard spot upon its release. The song was featured in Reality Bites, which just makes it all the more 90s. And really, how can you resist Loeb's quirky charm and schoolmarmish glasses?

Linger (Cranberries)

I've loved the Cranberries ever since I heard Clueless's Elton lament hisdistress at losing his copy of the CD. True Story.

Till I Hear it From You (Gin Blossoms)

If there's one thing the 90s music scene could really dish, it was soft alt-rock. Like many of my old favorites, its nostalgic claim is tied to its placement in one of my then-favorite movies. The single was featured in Empire Records, the soundtrack to which I listened to endlessly on repeat for many of my later elementary school years. For a flight, though, I'd definitely have to pick this over "Sugar High".

Undone: The Sweater Song (Weezer)

Some of you might lament my blatant omission of Weezer's "Buddy Holly" in favor of the arguably inferior "Undone: The Sweater Song", but you're just going to have to deal. You've got to like a song that can construct a solid mental visual like this one does.

Loser (Beck)

Looking back, this song was a little dark for us kids to be singing along to in the 90s. At least the chorus is. I didn't really know any of the words then and I don't really know any of the words now, but it's always enjoyable nonetheless.

Only Wanna Be With You (Hootie and the Blowfish)

Here's where the embarrassing part comes in. It's truly painfully unhip to admit you like Hootie and the Blowfish. This song is so catchy, though, I'm willing to brave the judgment of my far cooler peers.

Wonderwall (Oasis)

Growing up, this would always be one of those songs that kid who was barely mediocre at guitar would take on at a bonfire or group gathering. It's rumored that Liam Gallagher actually hates this song, but I'm going to respectfully disagree. It has a certain charm.

Killing Me Softly (The Fugees)

This song has been covered by dozens of artists, but Lauryn Hill's vocals managed to make this version stick. If you're going to do a cover, do it right.

Peaches (The Presidents of the United States of America)

There are all sorts of theories floating around on what exactly these peaches might symbolize, but the band's lead singer claims its content is totally innocent. It's definitely on the quirky side, but it has that unique alternative 90s appeal.

Virtual Insanity (Jamiroquai)

How can you not have loved this music video? You must have at least briefly coveted that hat. It's just so fuzzy and geometric. A winning chapeau combination.

Criminal (Fiona Apple)

As Fiona Apple's first major hit, "Criminal" introduced most of us to her unique vocal stylings. We may not have always agreed with her 1997 MTV VMA outburst against conformity, but she has a sort of idiosyncratic charm that grows on you with repeated listening.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (Deep Blue Something)

As far as one-hit wonders go, this tune had some staying power. I still hear it on the radio from time to time. It constantly reminds me that I have yet to see Breakfast at Tiffany's, which must be worth a watch based on the fact that it brought the couple in this song together. Actually, I heard they really wanted to write it about Roman Holiday but it didn't fit well, lyrically, so maybe I'm actually covered on this one.

Like I said, it can be a tough balance to find a song to which you can simultaneously enjoy listening and fall asleep, but most of these do it for me. A few of them might make me want to turn my iPod screen-down on my folding tray table to ward off wandering and undoubtedly judgmental eyes, but they're worthy of 90s love nonetheless.

Friday, December 25, 2009

South Park's First Christmas Episode: Mr Hankey the Christmas Poo

Let me just say, the internet makes tracking down these kinds of things next to impossible. I have to scour foreign video sharing sites, struggling to ascertain which Russian or Chinese characters translate to "embed". I could never let you down in my quest to bring you a classic Christmas episode, though; I'd navigate hundreds of bootleg Chinese video sites just to bring you a little bit of no-copyright-intended holiday cheer.

This particular episode certainly isn't for everybody. It's rude, it's crude, it's downright ridiculous. Alright, that seems like fair warning to the easily offended. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Your Recommended Dose of 90s Christmas: Mystery Science Theater 3000's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Merry Christmas (Eve), Children of the 90s! For those who celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful holiday, and for those who don't hopefully you're enjoying some time off. Tis the season for some time away from our offices, at the very least.

As some of you longtime readers know, I am a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan*. The Christmas-themed episode I leave you with today is one of my all-time favorites. It features the full-length film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a Christmas movie that insults all legitimate endeavors in the holiday media genre. Spoiler alert: the film's title gives away the entire sequence of events.

It's a delightfully cringe-worthy piece of cinema. It's infinitely more bearable with the MST3K treatment, though, and the results are pretty hilarious. I leave you with my favorite of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Christmas episodes, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

*Read: dork

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

90s Kid's Christmas Movies

Tis the season for overly sentimental entertainment. This time of year, it's almost entirely socially acceptable to be moved to tears by cheesy movies. You better get your fill of these cryfests now; before you know it, you'll have to go back to sneaking a Hallmark Movie of the Wees when you're home alone with surplus stash of secret Kleenex.

There are so many classic Christmas movies from generations past, but there's something uniquely nostalgic about the Christmas films of our own generation. It's hard to imagine most of these achieving anything akin to the untouchable status of It's a Wonderful Life, but some are worth a repeat viewing or two. It may be too soon to say whether or not any of these will end up classics, but they certainly kept our generation entertained the first time around.

Home Alone

Home Alone gets my vote for hitching the fast-track to Christmas classic status. The movie was iconic in the way we'd come to expect from late director John Hughes. Home Alone follows the extended Chicago-based McCallister clan as they gear up for a big family Christmas trip to Paris. An angry eight-year old Kevin (Culkin) wishes his family would disappear following a fight with his older brother. To his surprise the next morning, his wish came true--or, at least that's the way he interprets his sudden solitude. In actuality, his family forgot him in their harried rush to the airport. His mother (Catherine O'Hara) realizes their oversight immediately after takeoff, but it's too late.

The movie follows Kevin's adventures, as the title suggests, while home alone. The bulk of the movie details his complex booby trap-based thwarting of some local burglars. It may not be the most realistic movie ever made and some may frown upon the cartoon-like violence, but Home Alone has genuine heart. Culkin is just so adorable in it, too, you can't help but feel some affection for him and his positive spin on his predicament.

To read the full Home Alone post, click here

Miracle on 34th Street (Remake)

Some movies just don't warrant a remake, particularly if still in popular circulation in their original form. The 1947 Miracle on 34th Street is assuredly a classic, though it's yet to be seen if the 1996 remake was wholly necessary. It was cute enough in a John Hughes type of way, which makes sense as he penned the screenplay and produced the movie. Whether or not it measures up to the original is questionable, though it follows the plot pretty straightforwardly. Interestingly, though, Macy's department store didn't want to be implicated in the remake, forcing the film to replace it with a fictitious department store in the remade version.

I'll admit there was some personal investment in this choice. As a child, Mara Wilson was the only celebrity with whom I shared a name, and I always rejoiced in seeing another Mara in the media. On the other hand, she's also Jewish like me, which is this case gives her Christmas wish a slight tint of irony.

Jingle all the Way

Like all native Minnesotans, I have a sort of built-in radar for all movies filmed in my home state. Minnesotans are innately armed with an arsenal of state-pride knowledge to deflect questions of how we could live somewhere so cold, touting movies like Fargo and celebrities like Prince as evidence of a state well-deserving of inhabitance. In 1996 we got yet another notch in our state fame belt with Christmas flick Jingle All the Way, meaning it will forever abide in my memory as a truly great movie despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

This movie is quintessential 90s, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as fathers battling for the most coveted toy of the Christmas Season, Turbo Man. Throw in the late Phil Hartman as a Stepford-esque dad and you have a trifecta of solid 90s stars. Despite the big names the movie was generally poorly received by critics, but it performed decently in theaters and had non-discerning kids everywhere laughing in the aisles. Aside from the tragic death of Phil Hartman, it's no wonder Jingle All the Way's co-stars moved on to bigger things: Schwarzenegger to a gubernatorial career and Sinbad to unemployment and massive tax evasion.

The Santa Clause

Before they beat this franchise to death with its innumerable sequels, The Santa Clause was a movie set in the tradition of high-spirited holiday classics. Tim Allen stars as Scott Calvin, a divorced businessman dad who frightens Santa off his roof and finds only his vacant red suit atthe spot to which Santa fell. He follows directions from Santa's suit's business card to put on the outfit, following which he begins to transform into Santa himself. That is the aforementioned Santa Clause. Get it? Santa Clause? Like a contract? Oh 90s movie makers, are there any limits to your hilarious punnery?

The movie was both a financial and critical success, which is a pretty impressive feat for a kid's Christmas movie. It's not particularly innovative or groundbreaking, but it follows the successful family-friendly Disney formula to a tee. Too bad we can't say the same for Santa Clauses numbers 2 and 3.

Nightmare Before Christmas

I'll admit this one stands out in the bunch as it's not technically a children's Christmas movie. Disney chose to release it under its Touchtone label to promote it as a more adult offering. Despite the stop-motion animation format, this movie is downright dark and a bit scary for children. Actually, it was probably because of the stop-motion animation. That stuff is creepy.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is Tim Burton at his best. It's quirky, strange, and oddly fascinating. While it scared me to near-death as a child, watching it as an adult I can recognize that it's a truly great film. Burton actually manages to make us feel empathy for his grotesque creatures, which is no easy feat when we're dealing with skeletons and zombies.

To read the full Nightmare Before Christmas post, click here

A Muppet Christmas Carol

Really, how many times can we retell this story? Apparently there's some demand for an infinite number of adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, leading to the nearly yearly permutations released in theaters or on TV. Regardless of the repetitiveness, the Muppets are kind of a sure thing for kids. I've said it before and I'll say it again: kids love puppets. That's usually the deal breaker on this kind of thing, so kids can overlook the fact they've probably seen this story three or four different times before and just focus on Kermit and Miss Piggy. Thank goodness for short attention spans.

We can't know for sure if any of these will become future classics, but we have a few viable 90s contenders. Give me a call in 20 years and let me know how it all plays out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Gift Ideas for the 90s Child

We're gearing up for the holiday at Children of the 90s, which means it's that time of year when we all empty our pockets in the name of the spirit of the season. Something like that. That's what I've pieced together from TV commercials, at least. There seems to be some direct correlation between buying a diamond tennis bracelet and Jesus's crucifixion, though I've yet to determine exactly what that relationship is.

If you're still agonizing over those last-minute gifts, you're in luck: Children of the 90s is here to help. We've got heaps of nostalgia-tinted gift ideas to delight even the Scroogiest of grown 90s children. These gifts are sure to make the most dead-eyed pencil-pushing 20-something office drones hearken back to their happy childhoods.

Here are a few of this season's 90s offerings sure to light up their recipients' faces with a glow that for once does not come from their iPhone:

Beer Pogz

Yes, you heard right. Beer Pogz. Really, how 90s is that z-for-an-s-in-a-plural substitution? It just screams X-treme to the Max! in a uniquely 90s way. Our favorite childhood game is back with a distinctly adult-friendly twist: drinking. What a great way to combine two things that make us irrepressibly joyous: fond childhood memories and booze. And get this: it comes with a Keg Slammer. If you're not sold on this game yet, I'm not sure how to make it more enticing short of plastering the packaging with adorable newborn puppies and scrumptious chocolate cream pies.

Find Beer Pogz here

Nick Rewind DVDs

What better way to show a 90s child you care than by giving them the gift of retro Nickelodeon? From the network ruled children's programming in the 90s comes numerous DVD box sets from which to choose the perfect gift. Whether your giftee is more of a Secret World of Alex Mack type or an Adventures of Pete and Pete fanatic, this collection has a decent offering of our old favorites. You can even gift them these shows via iTunes, which features shows like Doug and Clarissa Explains it All.

Find Nick rewind DVDs here

Trivial Pursuit: 90s Edition

Have you ever wanted to appear impressively smart without the undue hassle of book learning and legitimate knowledge acquisition? Well, here's your chance! Finally, a Trivial Pursuit edition that asks us questions to which we actually have a prayer of knowing the answer. The cards are brimming with pop culture questions that are sure to have you filling your little multicolored pie in less than the standard three hours for the original version.

Find Trivial Pursuit: 90s Edition here

Customizable Nike Air Throwbacks

There were no cooler athletic shoes in the 90s than the original Nike Air sneakers. Through the wondrous world of technology, you can now customize your very own brand new pair of 90s-style Nikes with a rainbow of color and pattern options. This is the stuff childhood dreams are made of. If you'd taken me to my local foot locker as a kid and told me I had free reign in customizing my sneakers, I would probably have passed out from excitement.

Find customizable Nike Airs here

90s Retro Candy Gift Basket
Do you have some abhorrent allegedly well-meaning friend who constantly gifts you with low-carb cookbooks and exercise equipment? Here's your chance at payback. This is the ultimate 90s kid candy gift basket, containing old standards like Nerds Rope, Fun Dip, and Laffy Taffy. As one disgruntled Amazon customer laments in the reviews, the basket is sorely lacking in the Warheads department, though. The basket is listed under the "gourmet food" category, which I guess implies that Bubble Tape makes the foodie cut while Tearjerkers are for the masses.

Find the 90s Candy Gift Basket here

90s TV Show T-Shirts

Here's your chance to give an apt gift to a friend who loves to wear his 90s pride on his sleeve. I'll admit up front they're a bit of a rip-off at about twenty bucks a pop, but it's worth it to see a friend's smile when they unwrap their coveted Legends of the Hidden Temple Silver Monkeys team t-shirt. You just can't put a price on that sort of joy. Okay, actually, you can, and apparently it's been appraised at $20. Extra credit goes to any reader who buys that full Where's Waldo? costume.

Find 90s T-shirts here

Whatever: The 90s Pop Culture Box
If you've grown tired of collecting NOW! That's What I Call Music! CDs, maybe it's time to graduate to a full box set. Sure, this compilation leaves a bit to be desired, but it's certainly enough to give you a solid dose of 90s Music. It's a little tough to squeeze ten years worth of music onto a mere seven compact discs, but they did single out a decent selecton of popular genres.

Find the Whatever music box set here

New Bop-It

It may not be the original, but the new Bop It model isn't so far off from the repetitive and anxious game we grew up with. To its credit, it comes with a sleek white design and some updated features. The current version offers a "Shout It!" option, which is sure to irritate parents even more than the original. The Shout It! makes it seem a bit angrier than our more benign, subdued version, but it's probably worth a try. You can always turn that one off, anyway. This thing is undoubtedly just as addictive as the 90s prototype.

Find the new Bop-It here

Even if you've finished your holiday shopping, it's not too late to buy yourself a little 90s something. As you feverishly tear through the gift wrap to reveal that Double Dare t-shirt from "Santa" on Christmas morning, it'll all be worth it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

90s Kid-Friendly TV Program Blocks

Parents in the 90s must not have considered the potentially detrimental effects of parking their kids in front of the TV for four or five straight hours. How else can you explain the endless list of hours-long program blocks marketed at TV-hungry kids in the 90s? Children's TV was shaping up to be the ultimate babysitter, seamlessly filling in every possible day and time slot during which kids might be loitering around the house. After all, why go outside and play with our Huffy bikes and Skip-Its when we could just experience it vicariously through the commercials? Those kids were always way more enthusiastic than we could ever be, anyway.

For a decade of children far less dependent on technology than today's kids, we sure watched a lot of TV. We can only imagine the future of children's programming as parents' growing anxiousness to keep their children satiated and entertained continues to grow. In our childhood years, though, we were content watching a few hours at a time and luxuriating in the laziness. It still had that delightful aura of the forbidden. Our parents may have tried their best to limit our TV hours, but at the end of the day (or the case of some of these blocks, the beginning) it was a lot easier to just let the mind-numbing glow of passive entertainment wash over us. It's like those parents who load up their grocery carts with organic kale and banana chips for their kids, but eventually cave to nuking some chicken nuggets. It may not be the right choice, but it's an easy one. As we grow into adults, we can certainly appreciate their laziness.


TGIF reigned supreme when it came to Friday night kid's TV. Originally conceived in the late 80s as the "Friday Night Fun Club", ABC's kid-friendly block morphed into TGIF: Thank Goodness It's Funny. The original lineup included Perfect Strangers, Full House, Mr. Belvedere, and Just the Ten of US. A lot of pretty terrible short-lived shows cycled through TGIF over the years, but they were able to mask it with some solid favorites like Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Family Matters, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. For every miscalculated move like Teen Angel, there always seemed to be a Dinosaurs waiting in the wings.


SNICk was a brilliant marketing tool, as it mainly catered to the then-unclaimed tween demographic. The key to capturing the interest of 8-12 year olds is treating them like teenagers. I don't mean in a current Limited Too miniskirts and go-go boots way. This was thankfully far subtler. Nickelodeon shows with teenage characters and market them at tweens, a demographic that at times is likely to act too cool for kid's shows. SNICK premiered in 1992 featuring Clarissa Explains It All, Ren and Stimpy, Roundhouse, and Are You Afraid of the Dark? Though the lineup changed frequently throughout the years, Nick was pretty masterful at holding our fleeting attention spans. They threw in some goodies like The Secret World of Alex Mack and All That and we were hooked.

Nick in the Afternoon

Another wise and undoubtedly calculated move on the part of Nickelodeon, the network aimed to capture the at-home idling demographic of kids in the summertime. They installed a popsicle stick host with the hours-deliberating-in-the-Nick-boardroom moniker Stick Stickly. It was a great means of getting more mileage out of their reruns, packaging the block as a chance for kids to request their favorite classic episodes. For Nick, this meant they didn't have to come up with anything other than a popsicle stick and some googly eyes. Not too shabby.

The Disney Afternoon

There's no doubt Disney is great at hawking its animated goods to kids. The Disney Afternoon block was no exception, featuring endless variations of their always popular characters. The block premiered in 1990 with Adventures of the Gummi Bears, DuckTales, Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers, and TaleSpin. Later shows included Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop, and the far-inferior Disney's Doug. The shows aired in the after-school hours, a perfect means of entertaining the growing number of latchkey kids left to fend for themselves with nothing but the remote control and a tube of Pringles.

FOX Kids

FOX Kids was a formidable franchise, despite the fact that it rarely aired the same shows two years in a row. Though the block opened in 1990 with animated shows like Bobby's World and the game show Fun House, the lineup changed regularly throughout its 12-year run. That's not to say there was no quality programming: FOX Kids played classics like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Animaniacs, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Goosebumps. My favorite, though, was always the magazine. For some as-of-yet unexplained reason, this block of children's TV shows warranted its own publication. Sometimes we got it free with Pizza Hut orders, others it came in the mail, but whatever route it took to my mailbox the glorified promo was inexplicably awesome.

Nick Junior

Let me just say, that Face mascot is actually pretty creepy. What is that thing? Why is it so happy all the time? I liked it as a kid, but as an adult it's almost disturbingly cheerful. Maybe I just haven't had enough coffee yet to deal with this sort of unnerving smileyness, but it definitely is weirding me out.

Nick Junior was marketed at a younger set, namely kids under the age of 5. I'll admit, though, on elementary school sick days there was nothing quite like curling up with some Blue's Clues and Gullah Gullah Island. I wasn't going to shout it from the rooftops or anything, but I sincerely enjoyed shows like Eureka's Castle, Muppet Babies, and David the Knome. Whew. Feels good to finally get that one off my chest.


Turns out Saturday mornings weren't just for cartoons: apparently older kids could get in on the action too with these delightfully cheesy teen sitcoms. With shows like Saved by the Bell and California Dreams, they could definitely hold our attention while padding the rest of the block with total fluff. That, of course, hinges on the notion that the aforementioned TNBC shows had any substance. I'll leave that one up to you.

Nick at Nite

Nick at Nite may not have been just for kids, but it was a means of enjoying some good ol' fashioned cross-generational TV. Kids and parents could watch old favorites together, delighting in shows like I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch and Mister Ed. It introduced a new generation of kids to a lineup of classic shows. The Nick@Nite model has wavered a bit over the years, though, now broadcasting old 90s reruns in lieu of black and white oldies. When did we become so retro? It's rumored they may even add Friends to their lineup in the next couple of years. If the thought of kids viewing Friends the way you saw Bewitched doesn't make you feel the tiniest bit old, I don't know what will.

Overall, the programming blocks were a happy compromise. Kids liked the notion that they were getting away with watching an ungodly amount of TV, while parents liked the fact that the shows were at best marginally educational and at the least, appropriate. We may have lost countless of potentially active hours glued to our screens, but it's given us wonderful life preparation for our hours spent in front of our desk's computers. Thanks, SNICK!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Children of the 90s Mix Tape Travel Playlist: Road Trip Sing-Along

Disclaimer: This playlist give you full license to judge me relentlessly. I don't claim any of this to be quality music. Quite the contrary. That's what makes it so fun to sing along to.

Bon voyage, children of the 90s. Your faithful 90s servant is about to embark on a vacation, but I can't leave my faithful readers in a lurch. I leave you with my personal (and incredibly embarrassing) road trip playlist. These infectious songs are more than enough to entertain you on a long journey--your singing and boy band-esque dance moves in the car will probably keep neighboring drivers entertained as well.

Without further ado, my personal picks for road trip sing-along playlist:

When the Lights Go Out (5ive)

This band spells their name with a number. How clever is that? Whatever they're pushing, it's got to be good.

C'est La Vie (B*Witched)

Why don't we have more Irish dance breaks in songs today?

Never Ever (All Saints)

There's something just so inexplicably fun about singing along to that spoken part. It's just so long, and has such a poor rhyme scheme. How can you resist?

Spiderwebs (No Doubt)

Tragic Kingdom was the first CD I owned, so the songs on that album hold a special place in my heart. I always imagined that when I was a grown-up, I would leave the chorus of this on my answering machine as my outgoing message. It turns out the joke's on me: answering machines no longer exist. Tough break.

Jumper (Third Eye Blind)

I have a soft spot for Third Eye Blind. They played this song when I went to the concert in 8th grade, and again when I saw them last year. I enjoyed it just much. It's one of those songs with easy-to-learn lyrics that you can just belt out along to.

What I Got (Sublime)

Looking back, it's hard to believe I liked this song as a kid. I don't think I understood a word of it, I just like the beat. I think I also liked that he had a dalmatian. That was pretty much my grasp of it.

500 Miles (The Proclaimers)

A 90s one-hit wonder classic. You can try to harmonize along, attempt to impersonate their accents, or just contemplate the meaning of the verb "to haver". Whichever way, you win.

Wannabe (Spice Girls)

As far as Spice Girls go, no matter what you choose is pretty embarrassing. For me, it was between this and "Stop", to which my friends and I choreographed a full-length dance. It's too tough to perform this complicated dance in the car, though, so we'll go with "Wannabe". It'll make you really, really, really want a zig-a-zig-ah. Whatever that means.

Calculus (2ge+her)

The funniest part about this fake boy band is that when it comes down to it, 10 years later I'd rather have these guys on my playlist than most real boy bands. Touche, 2ge+her.

One Week (Barenaked Ladies)

These guys were huge in the 90s, and as kids the band name could definitely summon a giggle or two. It's always fun to try to learn all the words to a song that goes really fast, it's a very satisfying feeling to get them all right. Or more likely, assume you got them all right. I've got a few questionable mumbled phrases in mine.

You Oughtta Know (Alanis Morisette)

I don't care if you're going through a breakup or not, this song is one of the most fun to sing along to. It's just so angry. It also might be about Uncle Joey, which makes it that much more ridiculous. I want to know the theater this alleged action happened in so I can make a note to never, never go there. It's bad enough to watch Uncle Joey do those god-awful woodchuck impressions, I don't want to have to consider him in these compromising positions, too.

Always Be My Baby (Mariah Carey)

This one is just catchy, plain and simple. Mariah's been at it for years, and she's still got it. And who can hate on that part that goes "do do do dum?" Those are the best ingredients for a quality sing-along.

Inside Out (Eve 6)

This song is pretty dark now that I can make a little more sense of the words, but back in the day I loved singing to it. I didn't really consider the repercussions of putting my tender heart in a blender and watching it spin around to a beautiful oblivion. I just liked the beat. Eve 6 is following me on Twitter, which makes me feel like a champ, too.

Who Will Save Your Soul? (Jewel)

I have a feeling a lot of you will disagree with me on this one, but this is one of those guilty pleasures. I'm still not totally sure what some of the words are, but that won't stop me from singing what I think them to be at the top of my lungs.

Walkin' on the Sun (Smashmouth)

I love how in this video the newscaster introduces them as "Rock n' roll's Smashmouth!" I don't quite see these guys as representative of rock n' roll, but you have to admit they're about as 90s as you can get.

Ants Marching (Dave Matthews)

How can that intro not make you feel just the tiniest upbeat? It's just a happy-sounding song.

MmmBop (Hanson)

You know, I think I can feel you judging me. I was in maybe 6th grade when this came out, and I instantly fell in love with Zach Hanson. Mostly I think I was just jealous that his hair was prettier than mine, but I liked the song either way.

Tubthumping (Chumbawumba)

What exactly is tubthumping? And for that matter, a chumbawumba? This is a sort of (okay, really) terrible song, but it's just so catchy.

Summer Girls (LFO)

Speaking of pretty terrible songs. I still like it. I can't help it. It makes no sense, but it's just pure kitsch. Plus, one of the band members commented on my post on LFO, which I thought was pretty cool.

I Want You (Cherry Cola) (Savage Garden)

If I still have any male readers left by the time I got to this one, I'd be shocked. I know, I know. This is pretty bad. But they say ch-ch-cherry cola! It's fun!

Runaround (Blues Traveler)

This is another one of those songs that just has tons of words squeezed into it, so it's fun to imagine I know all of them. As a kid, I just really liked that part where he goes, "I like coffee and I like tea". I don't know why. As a kid, I didn't like either.

Steal My Sunshine (Len)

Oh, come on. You know you listened to this one, too. The final choice was either this or Vitamin C's graduation song, so you should be thankful I spared you that one.

Alright, I think that's enough humiliation for this week. Have a great weekend, children of the 90s! I swear if you put this on your iTunes and take it to the gym or in your car, you won't regret it. Just don't turn it up too high or roll your windows down. That would just be embarrassing.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

90s Hair Trends

It's always tough to judge a trend outside the context of its time. When it's current, it seems the hippest, most innovative idea any of us have ever seen. In retrospect, though, we've just got to wonder what exactly was going through (or in this case, on top of) our heads when we bought into these fads.

In the case of these hairstyles, hindsight really is 20/20. What seemed so stylish at the time inevitably ends up looking dated and at times, ridiculous. When your grandkids are mocking you in your yearbook photos forty years down the road, gently remind them that these looks were the height of style in our day. Just don't be surprised if they still make fun of you for your rat tail. You kind of deserve it.

For the Ladies:

The Rachel

Was there a female alive in the 90s who didn't want this haircut? Jennifer Aniston's hair quickly became an iconic 90s hairstyle, prompting women everywhere to ask their stylists to recreate her famous shaggy layers. It looked great on 20-and-30-somethings, but it was certainly an odd look for anyone outside that age range, especially children. It's just sort of unsettling to see this adult on a kid, though it didn't stop me from coveting my classmates' mature-looking Rachel cuts.

Mall Bangs or Leveled Bangs

A carryover from the 80s, mall bangs were a staple for anyone possessing a hair dryer, a round brush, and a gallon-sized jug of hairspray. These babies were poufed to the max and often featured strangely separated strands. Some bang-wearers took the look to the next level (literally) by establishing a bi-level bang that required not one but two rounds of styling to give each level a different layer of volume.

These ponytail accessories were everywhere in the 90s. Retailers even sold matching scrunchies with their outfits so we could put together a coordinated look. Isn't that thoughtful of them? I distinctly remember owning a Limited Too outfit that included a matching scrunchie, and it was unacceptable to wear one without the other. Scrunchies were composed of oversized tubular pieces of fabric "scrunched" around an elastic band. The boldest among us even attempted multiple scrunchies in a single hairstyle by segmenting their ponytail into a number of elastic-separated bunches. Extra credit for wearing it with a velvet headband.


This one's been around for awhile, but young girls in the 90s were especially prone to its wrath. It seemed like a good idea at the time: your mom wouldn't let you dye your hair, so why not just spray a few hazardous chemicals in and do it the natural way? Sounds harmless enough. Girls seeking sun-bleached locks turned to Sun-In only to have their blond ambition crushed by the appearance of a splotchy orange tone. You could always pick out the girls who'd experienced unfortunate Sun-In "incidents"--they were the ones with the glowing hair.


You'd think hair dye had was a recent innovation given the way it caught on in the 90s. There were two parent-shocking routes you could pick: a flat goth black (with matching inch-thick eyeliner) or a rainbow of colors usually only found in a Lucky Charms box. In middle school, I longed to dye my hair pink. I was certain that was my ticket to hair nivana. My parents only let me get the comb-in kind supplemented by generous wandings of hair mascara, but it just wasn't the same.

Butterfly Clips
For some reason in the 90s, we just couldn't leave well enough alone. We simply weren't ready to go out unless our hair was jam packed with, well, stuff. All sorts of strange hair gems and metal fittings popped up at Claire's and The Icing, but none were quite so ubiquitous as the colorful butterfly clip. The tactic with these usually involved a semi-circular face-framing configuration that ultimately required a virtuous level of patience. The key was to get just the right amount of hair twisted under each butterfly. The whole ordeal made you look like you coated your hair in honey and were attacked in a butterfly garden enclosure, but dammit, it was popular.

Bra-Strap Headbands

Why, oh why would anyone think it acceptable to wear a discarded part of lingerie on your head? We wouldn't show up to junior high with panties in our hair, so why were bra straps an acceptable hair ornament? These caught on in a big way for reasons we may never understand. We have the salon at Bumble and Bumble to blame for this trend catching on in a big way.

For the Guys:

Hi-Top Fade

There must have been a memo sent out one day informing black men everywhere that Jheri curl was out, geometric hair was in. How else to explain the sudden switcharoo? The look entailed shaving the sides of the head and leaving all of the volume up top. It was a style some people carried better than others. If you were a rapper, you could certainly pull it off, you could even throw in some shaved zig zags for good measure. My personal favorite variation was "the gumby" which gave your head the illusion of being shaped like our favorite claymation friend.


When we run out of new hairstyles to premiere, apparently we go pretty far into the back-catalogues. In this case, all the way to ancient Rome, mimicking the style of Caesar himself. George Clooney on ER helped to pioneer the trend by looking dreamy even with the straight short horizontal fringe. It was also a good look for those who had thinning hair, because the pushed-down front helped mask that effect.

Rat Tail

This one always came off looking like a horrible mistake on the part of the hairdresser, which wasn't always a fair assessment. It was actually a horrible mistake on the part of the person sporting the look. Whoever thought it was a good idea to leave a single lock of long hair in the back of a closely cropped 'do has some serious explaining to do. In every school, there was that kid with the rat tail. It was something of a mystery. Had the boy requested it? Had the parents suggested this? Did they just watch too much professional wrestling? We may never know.

Okay, this may be a pretty exaggerated example, but it is pretty awesome

In the 80s and 90s, a group of misguided beauty school dropouts joined forces to unleash the ultimate trashy haircut: the mullet. It had popped up a few decades before, but it didn't have bonafide widespread appeal until the 80s and early 90s. The idea was short ("business") in the front, long ("party!") in the back. This, of course, flattered no one. The mullet wasn't just for men, either: some ladies jumped in on the action as well. There are still some diehard mullet throwbacks out there. You can usually see them on the Maury show.


Grunge, unfortunately, was just what it sounded like. Yes, we got some good music out of it, but as the name implied, it was dirty. Grungy hair was greasy, stringy long locks meant to convey your angst and apathy. Why do you think they wore so much flannel? It wasn't just an unwavering love of plaid, it was for its superior absorbency.

Bowl Cut

Also known as a Mushroom Cut, the bowl cut was very popular among young males in the 80s and 90s. It looked like the stylist had overturned a bowl on your head and shaved everything that stuck out underneath. Younger boys tended to wear them Beatles'/Moe from Three Stooges' style with a straight across cut, while teens often parted theirs into two distinct hair curtains.


It seemed half the guys I knew transitioned straight from the bowl cut into the spikes. The style required a staggering amount of hair gel to pull off the gravity-defying height favored by boys and young men. The popularity of this look ebbs and flows, but it's certainly not dead: just catch an episode of MTV's Jersey Shore. It's not just a situation, it's the Situation.

Bleach/ "Tips"

Sometime around Eminem's rise to fame, guys everywhere thought it would be a good idea to knock off his signature style. Not everyone's cut out to be a blond, and it showed. The bright blond hair definitely stood out in a crowd, but probably not the way the bleacher had intended. If you weren't quite ready to commit to the full-on bleach job, you could also isolate the tips of your hair and give them a little boost. It was hideous, yes, but at least you could just chop off your unfortunately-hued spikes.

These may not have evolved into classic looks, but it was the hairstyle hand we were dealt. Not every era can be full of timeless style. It's tough to imagine future historians waxing poetic about our choice to wear bra straps on our heads, but dammit, we're standing behind it.

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