Look, I get it. The ‘90s were an amazing period. From popular ‘90s movies (Some of which might actually be pretty terrible), to popular ‘90s TV shows, to the music, the ‘90s were such a distinctive decade, that I think a lot of people are nostalgic for the period.
In fact, I think because of all of the ‘90s movies and TV shows that may be streaming or have repeats in syndication, that a lot of people automatically think they are ‘90s kids, when in actuality, they might actually be ‘90s babies, and ‘00s kids. Now, I don’t want to go too deeply into all of that, since I know it’s sort of a touchy subject with some ‘00s kids/’90s babies, as they want to be ‘90s kids.
But, trust me, if you were a true ‘90s kid, then you’re either pushing 40, or you’re well into your forties. So, cherish being a ‘90s baby in the Clinton era. It’s good for your health! But, without further ado, here are six specific movie and TV memories that I’m sure I share with other ‘90s kids. Cowabunga!
You Saw Jurassic Park...IN THE THEATER
Now, you may or may not have actually seen Jurassic Park IN THE THEATER (all caps) like I did, but if you’re a true ‘90s kid, then you were definitely of an age where you knew about Jurassic Park when it came out in 1993, and it scared the hell out of you. Maybe you saw it on VHS, but you definitely saw it, since Jurassic Park was EVERYWHERE back in the early ‘90s. It was seemingly inescapable, just like the raptors in that famous kitchen scene.
Based on one of the best books by Michael Crichton, I would say that this Steven Spielberg movie is one of the rare instances where the movie is arguably better than the book. And let me tell you, if you did see it in the theater, possibly with your parents (I was 10 in ‘93), you were terrified by the sound alone when the T-Rex was stomping in the distance, and the water was shaking in the glass. My God, I’ll never forget that. Never ever.
Beauty And The Beast, And Aladdin, And The Lion King, Oh My!
A lot of ‘90s babies might have nostalgia for the Disney renaissance era from 1989-1999, because they watched the videos at home, or saw them on television when they were younger. But, true ‘90s kids experienced the renaissance first hand, as these movies were coming out back-to-back, and we struggled to keep up with the momentum that Disney Animation Studios was building, since it seemed like they just couldn’t stop.
The Little Mermaid (1989). Beauty and the Beast (1991). Aladdin (1992). The Lion King (1994). I mean, come on now. As ‘90s kids, we were eating well when it came to Disney movies. Sure, ‘00s kids had a nice little serving themselves with the Disney Animation Studio films from 2000-2010, but I think all ‘90s kids vividly remember when Disney’s animation department looked like they could do no wrong, and the films in the theaters were evidence of that.
Turtlemania Was Your Beatlemania
T-U-R-T-L-E Power! Now, here’s the thing. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which debuted back in 1984 in the comics, really exploded with the cartoon, which debuted in 1987. And, while I was only five at that time, I, and every ‘90s kid, was DEEPLY into the Ninja Turtles, as the early ‘90s were their zenith. Everybody had a favorite turtle. It was seriously like our version of The Beatles. The question, "who’s your favorite Turtle?" might as well have been who’s your favorite Beatle back in the ‘60s, because everyone had to pick (mine was Raphael). It was a must.
But, Turtlemania was probably at its peak with the 1990 release of the first movie, which is still, to this day, the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie ever. Yes, kids today can love the Ninja Turtles, as I think some of the TMNT TV shows of today are even superior to the one that I grew up with, but only a true ‘90s kid remembers when the Ninja Turtles had taken over the world, because they were really that big.
You Thanked God For Every Friday Because Of TGIF
Do you want to know how I can separate a ‘90s kid from a ‘90s baby? Because, depending on just how late a person was born in the ‘90s, they may have no recollection of TGIF whatsoever. But, if you were born in the ‘80s and grew up in the ‘90s, then you vividly remember the TGIF block that ran from 1989-2000. And, you likely remember it because you watched it religiously like I did.
I mean, let me just name some of these gems to jog your memory in case you may have forgotten: Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, Dinosaurs, Sister, Sister, Boy Meets freakin’ World (I added in the freakin’. But you already knew that). You want to know how I can also tell a ‘90s kid from a ‘90s baby? When they start mentioning shows like Brother’s Keeper, Two of a Kind, and Odd Man Out, since those shows came out WAY later, practically toward the end of TGIF.
No self-respecting ‘90s kid is going to look back fondly upon Odd Man Out, when we had bangers like Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and Dinosaurs. It’s just not happening.
You Bought Music Solely Because Of An Amazing Music Video You Just Saw On MTV
Now, look. MTV is something that both ‘90s kids, and ‘90s babies can appreciate, because it was a big part in both of our childhoods. For instance, ‘90s babies had TRL with Carson Daly to get their fix of what was hot at the moment. But, for ‘90s kids, MTV was almost like the wild west back then, since it was also really big on shows like Singled Out, Beavis and Butt-head, The Grind, and The Real World.
MTV was always at its best when it was showcasing the latest videos from the hottest new artists; some you may have heard of, and some you may not have (I STILL listen to my Buzz Bin CDs every now and then). Maybe you were a fan of The Headbangers Ball, or maybe, you were into Yo! MTV Raps. Or, if you were one of the cool kids (like me), you watched both. Whatever you were into, though, a true ‘90s kid didn’t just listen to the local radio stations. We also tuned into MTV to see what was currently hot, and what was, unfortunately, not anymore (poor Chumbawamba).
The First Time You Watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, You Were A Grown-Ass Adult
Lastly, I think the clearest difference between ‘90s kids and ‘90s babies is when they first watched Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now, a ‘90s baby may have just recently watched Avatar as an adult for the first time because they missed it as a child, and it’s easy to find on streaming. But, if you did watch it as a kid when it first aired, then you are not a ‘90s kid. You are a ‘90s baby. Because Avatar: The Last Airbender first debuted in 2005, and do you know how old I was in 2005? Twenty-two, and definitely not a kid. That’s not to say that you had to be in your twenties in 2005 to be considered a ‘90s kid, but if you were like 10 or 11 when the show debuted, then I’m sorry, but you are not a ‘90s kid. You are a ‘90s baby.
And, that’s just fine! I was a grown-ass adult when Avatar first debuted, and I still loved it all the same. In fact, its story of finding yourself really resonated with me as I was coming out of college and still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I thought The Legend of Korra was better than Avatar: The Last Airbender (and still do), but the latter was still amazing, even to a grown-ass adult. If I'd experienced it as a kid, though, I think it would have been absolutely magical.
So, where do you fall? Are you a ‘90s kid, or a ‘90s baby? Make no mistake, both are pretty rad.
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.