Showing posts with label TV Shows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV Shows. Show all posts

Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest Post: The X-Files

In honor of Halloween, I present to you a post about something that scared me endlessly in my youth. The show scared me so much, in fact, that I could never bring myself to watch about it and hence could never do it justice writing about it. Luckily fellow blogger and X Files fan Kelly stepped up to the plate to bring you this comprehensive post complete with fun facts and trivia.

About guest blogger Kelly, in her own words: Being born in ‘83, I’m on the older end of the 90’s kid spectrum, but that just means I remember it better! I spent my high school years completely obsessed with Mulder and Scully and, as the proud owner of three separate X Files related tattoos, I still am. I keep a blog of my various misadventures
here, and you can find a crappie website I made in college here.

The X Files

Who of us raised in the 90’s can recall a prime time drama scarier or grosser than The X Files? In a pre-CSI landscape, it was surely in a class of its own. The story of two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, working the strange cases relegated to the basement and known as “X Files,” each for their own reasons and struggling against their own demons.

Without the dark example of The X Files, we may never have been able to witness such wonderful shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Reaper, Bones, or even the stomach turning sequences of CSI, on network TV. Plus, nothing else in pop culture has ever done so much for the word “debunk.”

As the defining aspect of my high school experience, I could write pages upon pages dedicated to the mythology and motifs of The X Files; where they came from, what they meant for society, and what they meant to me personally. (And trust me, I have!) However, for today’s purposes, I’ll break down a small sampling of elements and themes that exemplify the huge appeal of the show and the special brand of nostalgia Children of the 90’s is known for. Here we go!

Paranoia, Conspiracies, and all things “Out There”

The 90’s were a prime time for pondering the story behind the story. In a decade that featured Oliver Stone’s conspiracy flick “JFK,” the birth of VH1’s “Behind the Music,”and numerous political scandals, the public was constantly looking for ways to find out what we weren’t being told.

The X Files epitomized this. Mulder’s obsession with the fate of his sister, missing since she was 8 and he was 12, her abduction recalled only through spotty memories recovered under hypnosis, fueled his passion to solve each case that came to him. Young Agent Scully was assigned to accompany him, with direct orders to disprove and debunk his findings. Together, they introduced us to theories about far reaching government conspiracies, investigated urban legends, human monsters, and UFO sightings, and taught us that the skin tone of a Reticulan is actually grey, not green. You could not mention anything vaguely spooky or creepy in the 90’s without someone chiming in with the familiar first notes of The X Files opening theme.

Fabulous, Cutting-Edge Technology of the 90’s

A hallmark of the series were the two agent’s ever present cell phones. A wonderful tool to keep the agents connected while in separate places, the models featured in early episodes are now comically enormous. Note the antenna on Scully’s cell piece above. Also, there’s no touch screen when she turns that bad boy over!

Another technological phenomenon central to The X Files was the internet. Not only did the plot lines of several episodes feature the internet, computers, or video games, fans of The X Files are widely recognized as some of the first to embrace the medium as an outlet for fandom. “X Philes,” as they dubbed themselves, took to chat rooms and online forums in record breaking numbers to discuss their favorite show and post original pieces of fanfic.

Additionally, The X Files was featured in a first person, CD-ROM game for MAC and PC. In the game, you were a new agent saddled not only with the task of finding the missing Mulder and Scully, but changing the CD as you progressed.

Catch Phrases

What would a 90’s show be without ubiquitous catch-phrases? The X Files certainly had it’s share of mostly serious expressions. I defy you to hear any of the below without immediately hearing the theme music!

I Want to Believe
The Truth is Out There
Trust No One
Deny Everything

Of course, the most fun catch-phrases are the unintentional. I present to you “Mulder, it’s me.”

Guest Stars and Crossovers

Casting nine seasons worth of an hour long drama with relatively few recurring characters is sure to result in quite a roster. The X Files definitely had it’s share of recognizable guest stars, (Ed Asner, Lily Tomlin, Tony Shaloub, Peter Boyle, Luke Wilson, Bryan Cranston, and even Tom Selleck, to name a few) but was probably more notable for the bit parts played by relatively unknown actors. It’s a list that could go on for pages, but here are few of the highlights. Look up their episodes to catch a glimpse of these famous faces early in their careers!

Seth Green - As a stoner with a scooter in the second episode of the series. And, no, I don’t know why Mulder is standing like that.

Ryan Reynolds - As a high school hunk murdered by a pair of girls with telekinetic powers in the episode “Syzygy”

Michael Buble - Yes, Michael Buble. As a submarine sailor with no speaking lines in “Apocrypha” and “Piper Maru.”

Lucy Liu - As the daughter of a Chinese immigrant caught in a black market lottery for human organs in “Hell Money.”

Jack Black and Giovanni Ribisi - As a teen with the ability to control electricity (Ribisi) and his friend (Black) who mysteriously winds up electrocuted in “D.P.O.”

Willie Garson - The erstwhile Stanford Blatch was actually in two episodes of The X Files as two different characters, first in season 3’s “The Walk” and then in season 7’s “The Goldberg Variation.”

Shia LaBeouf - Along with Willie Garson in “The Goldberg Variation.”

The X Files also participated in the grand TV tradition of crossover appearances. Detective Munch from Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order:SVU stopped by to arrest Mulder and his pals, the Lone Gunmen, in a flashback episode. Frank Black of Millennium came over to assist Mulder and Scully with a time sensitive New Year’s Eve case. And Mulder and Scully even made a detour through Springfield to help solve the mystery of an “alien” appearing in the woods on the edge of town. (Spoiler, it was Mr. Burns suffering the side effects of a radical anti-aging treatment performed by Dr. Nick!)

Like I said, these are just a few of the things that made The X Files memorable and totally 90’s. Until next time, remember, the truth is out there!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Post: 90s TV BFFs

Welcome to yet another installment in this series of Children of the 90s guest blogs! We have several pieces in the works and we are still reviewing applications, so if you are interested in contributing to Children of the 90s, shoot us an email to!

Guest blogger Lauren of The Unprofessional Critic has put together a great list of 90s TV BFFs for your reading enjoyment. You can check out her blog at, on Facebook at The Unprofessional Critic, and on Twitter at @unprocritic.

90s TV BFFs

Ah, BFF's. They may not get along 100% of the time, but they're bonded for life (or at least until cancellation). And in the 1990's, best friends were dominating the airwaves. Behold, five of my favorite dynamic duos:

1. Wayne and Garth ("Wayne's World," Saturday Night Live)

As a kid I totally wanted Wayne and Garth's lifestyle: how cool would it be to co-host a TV show with your best friend? Needless to say, I didn't understand until much later that they lived in a suburb. With their parents. Still, whether they were shouting out their theme song, freaking out over Aerosmith, or spouting impromptu haikus, these two always had fun together. Excellent!

2. Felicity and Sally (Felicity)

Felicity premiered my freshman year of college and my roommates and I were obsessed. We were also college freshmen in a big city! And we also wore dorky sweaters! True, Felicity and her chief confidante Sally weren't traditional BFF's - their audio letters to each other meant Sally (voiced by 90's icon Janeane Garofolo) was only heard, never seen. Plus, as Felicity's former French tutor, Sally was considerably older. But Felicity was guarded that first year of university, just coming into her own and learning to trust classmates and friends in a completely new environment. It was Sally who heard her innermost thoughts, her struggles with relationships, classes and career paths. And once in a while, Sally would offer some sage advice that brought tears to my naive 18-year-old eyes (shut up).

3. DJ and Kimmy (Full House)

My sister and I, die-hard Full House fans even when it descended into the madness of poop jokes and way too many twins, each had our own Tanner family counterpart. As the "neglected middle child" (her words), she identified with Stephanie. As the bossy (also her words) eldest of three, I was Team DJ all the way. And wherever Deej was, her buddy/neighbor Kimmy Gibbler was never far behind. Kimmy started out as a normal (if slightly annoying) little girl and ended the series as a brightly-clothed borderline superfreak with a boyfriend who could only say one word. (My sister claims my high school boyfriend looked exactly like Dwayne. Whatever.) But how can you not love a best friend who buys you a rad lavender sequined baseball cap? If I were Kimmy, however, I would have been thrilled with that impromptu hash-brown birthday cake. Pass the ketchup!

4. Beavis and Butt-head (Beavis and Butt-head)

As a 14-year-old misanthrope without a driver's license, in a decade where ironic snark was the name of the game, my late nights were spent in front of our ancient basement TV, hand poised over the Off button in case my mom caught me watching my two favorite shows: The State and Beavis and Butt-head. (Will Smith said it best: parents just don't understand.) The latter spent their evenings in front of a TV, making fun of stupid music videos. Sure, they smacked each other around and claimed the Beatles ruined music, but I understood them. We were in the same awkward, bored boat. (And because Mike Judge is awesome, these guys are about to get a revival. Long live the 90's!)

5. Clarissa and Sam (Clarissa Explains It All)

Come on: who DIDN'T want a Sam? Unlike the mouth-breathing philistines who populated my sixth-grade classroom, Sam was one righteous dude. He wore baggy clothes. He gamely went along with whatever offbeat scheme or fantasy Clarissa was digging into that week. For God's sake, he had a ladder and his very own guitar twang! Plus, he and Clarissa survived one very awkward date and snapped right back into the best friendship that was their destiny. I fully blame Sam for my string of cool guy pals with single-syllable names and awesome T-shirts, which began when I was twelve and continues to this day. (When are you gonna climb into my second-story apartment window, ROB?)

Like what you read? Check out Lauren on Facebook and Twitter!

Monday, July 25, 2011

To discuss an exciting 90s TV development with a very funny guest blogger

In honor of tonight’s very exciting TeenNick premiere of “The 90s Are All That” programming block, a fellow blogger and I thought it would be fun to combine forces to reminisce about some of the shows that will be rebroadcast after years in the Nickelodeon vault. For those of you who are unaware of the impending television greatness in our midst, behold, the glory of The 90s Are All that promo:

You should probably set your Tivo or DVR immediately so you can enjoy this amazing 90s Nick lineup at your leisure. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Done? Okay, great.

For readers who have not yet met the hilarious Andy, here’s your formal introduction:

Andy Shaw, known on Twitter as @WildARSChase, now runs, where he's combined forces Captain Planet-style to show his improv and stand up performances as well as his WildARSChase blog. He also wonders why Tori was ever on Saved By the Bell.

Now that we all know each other, I think we’re ready to begin. We could go on and on about our memories and the collective greatness of these shows, so we just picked a few of our favorites to start with. Be sure to stop back by Andy’s blog later this week for the next installment!

Legends of the Hidden Temple:

Children of the 90s take: Looking back, Legends of the Hidden Temple is a gold mine of highly transferable life lessons. For one, always wear a helmet and a mouthguard for all activities. I don’t care if you’re walking your dog or baking up a hearty batch of oatmeal cookies: you never know what kind of dangerous obstacles you could encounter that could potential damage your cranium or cause you to unsuspectingly swallow a molar. That’s just basic safety.

I also learned never to count my pendants before I’ve exited the temple gates. In life, it seems just when you think you’re about to run out of the temple scott free with the Walking Stick of Harriet Tubman, a terrifying and vaguely Mayan temple guard pops up and you’re back at square one. A figurative temple guard, of course. I think I’ve let this life lesson metaphor get away from me, but hopefully you’re still along for the ride. Bonus points if you’re wearing your helmet and mouthguard.

Legends of the Hidden Temple is also a classic example of how loosely we defined shows as “educational” in the 90s. By defining the stories as “legends,” the level of research integrity required by LotHT producers dropped significantly. I’m also a tad suspicious that Olmec was just a primer to prep us for subsequent years of gleaning our news from talking heads on TV. To be fair, though, many of those cable news pundits come off more stone-faced than Olmec.

WildARSChase take: Children, it all comes down to which team were you rooting for? A Silver Snake? A Blue Barracuda? Or were you cheering for a super slutty Red Jaguar?*
* Based on vague memories. Not scientific.

And might I add, Olmec was a douche. He was completely full of himself and very judgmental. I am quite sure host Kirk Fogg wanted to punch Olmec in his fat face.

Let me get to my biggest gripe, though: Why couldn’t those stupid kids assemble the Shrine of the Silver Monkey faster? My God, it was three pieces! And then they would waste so much time giving the temple guards the pendants. Drove me crazy. Kirk Fogg would scream at them. I’d scream at them. It was rough.

Children of the 90s: I was a Blue Barracuda girl all the way. I never quite understood how they came up with the color/creature combos for team names. Orange Iguanas? Red Jaguars? It just doesn’t add up.

I’m with you about Olmec. Can you imagine Kirk and Olmec’s off-screen relationship? I feel like there was some serious tension there when the cameras were off.

Speaking of the temple guards, it kind of makes me wonder who exactly was showing up for work everyday to dress up in the full Mayan garb. Were these guys Nickelodeon interns? Or real actors? I’m trying to picture some poor aspiring actor padding out his resume with “Temple Guard #3,” or if he was feeling especially creative, maybe he even gave it an authentic Mayan name like “Ixchel.”

WildARSChase: My guess is Olmec used to date Kirk’s girlfriend and was still calling her because he felt lonely stuck on the side of a temple. And Kirk couldn’t handle it and would sometimes rub it in Olmec’s face how hot his girlfriend is. I imagine the girl was Lori Loughlin from “Full House.”

The Mayan thing cracks me up because I’m sure it was so completely historically inaccurate (as you astutely point out, it was “legends.”) I am sure there’s an IMDB page out there with Temple Guard #3 out there. And I’m also quite sure Keanu Reeves would be the one to do it.

Children of the 90s: So I actually went to look that up on IMDB, to no avail. Too bad. I did find out the host Kirk Fogg had a bit part as a district attorney in the Veronica Mars pilot, though.

All That:

Children of the 90s take: All That understood the difference between adult comedy and children’s comedy. How do I know? Because at the time, I thought each sketch was more brilliant than the last, but as an adult I question my very sanity for laughing out loud at some of this stuff. “He’s Earboy! Earboy! His Ears are really big!” Really? That’s your tagline? At least no one could argue it would go over kids’ heads.

I was also a big fan of the Goodburger fast food sketches, foreign exchange student Ishboo, crazy write-in advice dispenser Dear Ashley, and of course Vital Information for your Everyday Life. I credit Vital Information with teaching me the value of non-sequitor humor and building me a strong base of sarcasm. I never could nail a deadpan delivery quite like Lori Beth Denberg, though. Not every line was a winner, but the concept was pretty clever for a kid’s show.

Best of all, If I didn’t think something was funny, it was also incredibly brief-there was usually a ten minute wait at most to enjoy Coolio or Boyz II Men or whichever other top-billed musical artist the show managed to pull for a performance.

WildARSChase take: I can still remember that theme song. Did you know TLC performed it? RIP, Lisa Left Eye Lopez.

That show created a ton of spinoffs: Kenan & Kel (everytime I see SNL and see Kenan Thompson, I think of the “Goodburger” movie), The Amanda Show and more. Amanda Bynes was clearly gunning to be the star of All That. I never liked her as much.

I also forgot that Nick Cannon was on that show, preparing for a life ahead with Mariah Carey.
The best thing about All That may have been the music guests. I loved how culturally diverse it was - I am sure it is one reason I’m into R&B and hip hop today. Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, Da Brat, Busta Rhymes … and they weren’t singing kid-friendly songs, either. Actually, I can’t believe half of them were on a kids’ show.

Children of the 90s: ARS, you’re bringing back way too many memories here, I’d completely forgotten about Nick Cannon being on All That. Remember the spinoff Nick Cannon show? Now I just think of him as the well-dressed hipster host of America’s Got Talent who’s whipped enough by Mariah Carey to allow his children to have names like Moroccan and Monroe.

Looking at that list of musical guests, it’s definitely a far cry from the Disney-ified music in kids’ entertainment today. I actually went to see Busta Rhymes a few weeks ago and I can vouch that it is definitely not kid-friendly. Maybe the show’s content advisers just assumed he rapped so fast parents wouldn’t catch all the drug references.

And of course, I loved the TLC theme song. CrazySexyCool was one of the first CDs I owned. I’m pretty sure I spent a whole year deeming things I liked not just as cool, but as crazysexycool.

WildARSChase: You went to see Busta Rhymes? You just got bonus points in my book. That’s gangsta. Aaliyah sang “One In a Million” on All That, a song clearly about sex. By the way, how come I keep referring to dead 90s singers?

I had CrazySexyCool on cassette. I remember listening to “Red Light Special” and knowing it was dirty but not quite sure why.

I wonder if a show like “All That” would make it today. Since I’m not a kid anymore, I’m not sure what all is out there, but I’d be worried that someone like Miley Cyrus would be on a new “All That.” And that would be a tragedy.

Children of the 90s: You just reminded me I should go listen to Red Light Special so I can figure out what the heck I was misunderstanding as a child. Be back soon.


Children of the 90s take: As a child, I was certain the the culmination of life success was determined by one’s ability to navigate the treacherous terrain of a color-coded craggy mountain plagued by frequent glitter storms. For many years, my life’s major ambition was to someday own a piece of the famed aggro-crag. I certainly wasn’t athletic enough to ever make it as a contestant in the Extreme Arena, but that hasn’t stopped me from searching periodically for souvenir aggro crag trophies on eBay.

One of the best parts of the show was the little “Spill Your Guts” human interest segment. I spent hours brainstorming what my GUTS nickname might be. Did I exhibit the shiftiness and stealth of “The Jackal” or did I boast more of the grace and quick-footedness of “The Jaguar”? Plus, these kids knew how to celebrate their athletic achievements: I still think the best way to celebrate a milestone is to drape yourself proudly in your country’s flag and take a victory lap.

WildARSChase take: Mike O’Malley was introduced to me through GUTS, a show so awesome it demands a caps lock. DEMANDS IT. Who’s Mike O’Malley, you say? I’m guessing you don’t know him through his seminal work on “Yes, Dear,” which lives on in TBS infamy. I bet you know him as Kurt’s dad on “Glee.” Yep, that guy.

He was the host, always pushing kids to the limit and keeping sexual tension with Mo Quirk, the (female) referee. Mo went on to do great things, such as “My Life As a Teenage Robot” and an “additional voice” credit on Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

GUTS was all about the Agrocrag, wasn’t it? The Agrocrag makes Mount Doom in “Lord of the Rings” look like a sandcastle. It separated the men from the boys, the women from the girls and the destined to be a pro athlete from the destined to be an accountant.

Looking back, that show was great because it promoted physical activity and being adventurous. It’s the exact opposite of another old Nick show that evidently won’t be re-broadcast, Nick Arcade … clearly, that show doesn’t stand the test of time because the graphics would look horrendous.

Children of the 90s: I’ll admit I actually had a huge crush on Mike O’Malley in his GUTS days. What can I say, I like a guy in a hockey jersey. I was definitely not a Yes, Dear fan, but I do like him on Glee when I remember to watch it. I suppose if he has to be getting old and bald, at least he can be accepting of his gay son.

That kind of makes me sad about Mo, because I always admired her intensity and how serious she took this announcer gig that must have been, at best, her third choice show biz job. My fiance and I actually went one year for Halloween as Mo and a Guts Contestant...I’d highly recommend it if you’re ever in a market for a 90s costume idea.

I’m also all for the physical activity aspect, but I actually loved Nick Arcade. Didn’t you think it seemed cool at the time? Obviously the technology seems pretty crappy now, but back then I was amazed those kids were in the video games. All hail bluescreen technology.

WildARSChase: Mo and a GUTS contestant? You’re racking up bonus points left and right. I think you also were Mike O’Malley’s only groupie, so that’s minus points.

GUTS really did have an international flair. I almost had forgotten how they flew the country flag. Of course, then you also found yourself rooting for America, which seems a bit xenophobic in hindsight. Screw you, other countries! This here is America, and our kids are the best!

Nick Arcade did seem awesome at the time. I couldn’t believe how it was done. Actually, if they did a new version of that it would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

Children of the 90s: I’m not ashamed, I was totally a Mike O’Malley groupie. Try watching the video above and telling me he didn’t used to be pretty good-looking in his relative youth.

I would totally go for a new Nick Arcade. Are you out there, Nickelodeon executives? I’d watch that. Whip that up, please, with some new technology. And maybe they can make into Global Nick Arcade, just so I can continue to feel good about rooting for my American compatriots.

WildARSChase: Come over to on Friday for the next installment of our recap of Nickelodeon shows of yesteryear. What shows will we do next? You'll have to visit to find out! Follow us on Twitter to find out when our series is updated! @wildarschase and @childrenof90s

Children of the 90s: (Insert additional self-promotion links here)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Telltale Signs Children of the 90s are Getting Older

You knew it would happen, you just never imagined it would happen to you. One day you’re raging against the machine and bringing the man down while wearing flannel (or if you were more like me, grooving to Ace of Base on your Walkman while donning a Blossom hat) and the next you’re shaking your fist in a crotchety manner and muttering incoherently about the trouble with “kids today.” Where do the years go?

Getting older is inevitable, but the gradual onset of adulthood makes it difficult to pinpoint that exact moment you start to worry about the health of your 401K and can sustain lengthy dinner party conversations about mortgage rates and homeowner association costs. Just in case you’ve been building up a thick shield of denial, Children of the 90s is here to break it down and point out all the glaring signs that you’re just not as young as you used to be. Sounds like fun, right? Here goes:

The Shows you Grew Up With are on Nick at Nite

When we were kids, Nick at Nite was a block of television that featured significantly older and largely black and white sitcoms like I Love Lucy and The Munsters. At some point I must have stopped watching because I was recently shocked to learn that Nick at Nite now plays Home Improvement and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When did all of the things I grew up with get so retro? Do kids today think of Full House the same way I thought of Mr. Ed? A terrifying prospect indeed.

The Kids on The Real World keep getting Younger

When The Real World premiered in 1992, its stars seemed so grown-up to us children of the 90s. Fast forward 25 seasons and a suspicious trend is emerging: the cast members not only seem to be growing less relevant and more obscure with each year, but also significantly younger. Some may argue that we’re just getting older, but I think it’s all a matter of perspective.

You Still Think of Actors as the Iconic Characters they Portrayed in their Youth

Perhaps you find yourself wondering why Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell and Travis from Clueless are pretending to be lawyers together weeknights on TNT. Or, alternatively, you’re still marveling that Clarissa Darling and Blossom’s brother are involved in weekly madcap manny adventures. Regardless of all of the mold-breaking and serious roles these former teen actors undertake, it can be hard to remove them from the context of the Bop! magazine pullout posters that once plastered our walls.

Your Favorite Teen Pop Stars are Constantly Staging Comebacks

It may seem like only yesterday that young stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were shocking audiences with their bare midriffs and provocative dancing, but they’ve long since been replaced by a new generation of teen stars. The teen pop stars we grew up with are desperately clinging to their former sex-symbol statuses, and while many have managed to remain in the limelight it’s often been through tightly managed “comeback” moves and constant reinvention.

Rap Songs all Sound the Same, and the ones you like are by Artists who have been around Twenty Years

Case in point: I still love Jay-Z. His current age? 41. Hardly a representative of young folks today. Other pertinent examples: Snoop Dogg (age 39), P. Diddy (age 41) , Dr. Dre (age 46), Eminem (age 38), 50 Cent (age 35), Nelly (age 36)....need I go on?

It’s finally happened: I’ve turned into the old person who changes the radio station when an irritatingly repetitive rap song comes on. I find myself complaining about the lack of creativity, vulgar lyrics, and overly catchy hooks I can’t get out of my head. When a new rap song I like comes on, nine times out of ten the rapper is older than 35 and has been churning out hits since the early 90s.

Hollywood is already Remaking the Movies you Watched as a Kid

The movie industry is clearly low on new ideas. How else can you explain remaking films as recent as The Karate Kid, Footloose, The Bodyguard, and Total Recall? There are kids out there who don’t even know there was an original Karate Kid, or even if they do, they’re disappointed he couldn’t rap and wasn’t featured in a Justin Bieber song. Truly tragic.

You’ve Lived Through a Full Cycle of Fashion

All you have to do is walk into an American Apparel or Urban Outfitters to realize that their “new arrival” items are a reboot of the what you used to wear in junior high. A quick glance at the American Apparel website shows items like light wash high waisted jeans, neon scrunchies, leggings, and bodysuits. If only you had saved your middle school wardrobe, you’d save yourself a lot of money on new clothes.

Digg This!