'90s on Repeat - Flashback Week


The lead characters of Nickelodeon’s late 90s series, Aaahh! Real Mosters. Image courtesy of Jerine Lay.

Being retro has always been hip, but how far back should the “vintage” line be drawn? In the latest fashion craze, the ‘90s era is all over the place. Not just in clothes, Nickelodeon recently brought back their old programming after a concerted effort on Facebook begged for the return of shows like Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude, and All That. Today’s music is similarly harkening back to the days of bubblegum pop and Madonna-esque dance jams, and women everywhere are rocking stretch pants and leg warmers in a look some people wished they would never have to see again.

The ‘90s, it appears, is vintage now, yet the decade seems like not a far off stretch of time. It used to be if you discovered an old skirt from the Great Depression-era in a thrift shop, you scored a major find. Now, you can merely raid your parents’ closet for trendy attire. Jessica Alba was seen donning bright-hued pants in pink, green, and yellow this March, and high-waisted jeans have likewise found resurgence.

Most telling, however, is Benjamin Buckley’s rally to encourage programmers at Nickelodeon to broadcast his old favorites. Founded in 2006, the social petition, called, “I Want My ‘90s Nickelodeon Back,” began in order to “mobilize the people, who were raised on shows on Nickelodeon, from 1990-1999, and taking action to make those shows available to us today on a new television and/or Internet network.”

He encouraged followers to email the Viacom Media Relations department with their appeals, and made an extensive list of all programs desired, broken down by genre, with a few add-ons like “Snick.” It was an idea and call to action that quickly garnered over one million supporters, prompting the network to make a move. In response, Nickelodeon added “The ‘90s Are All That” to its fall lineup last year, and fans have been basking in the nostalgia ever since.

How enthusiastic are Buckley’s devotees? Well, they continue to chime in with comments and feedback.

“I KNOW some of you must remember the one and only Sponge Harris from Salute Your Shorts!” Writes Timothy Eyster on Facebook. “Be sure and ‘like’ the page – very interesting guy, and he responds a lot. Long live ‘90s Nickelodeon!”

“I was just telling my friend how I missed the ‘90s Nick, and he told me about this page,” says Shea Frazier.

Adds Jerry Ulloa, “Everything was better in the ‘90s.”

The love for this decade spans far and wide, perhaps due to the fact that new technology offers a means of evolution that’s less creatively stimulating, though functionally productive. Hip-hop today doesn’t even compare to its golden era when Tupac and Biggie reigned supreme, and DJs spun mixes off vinyl records not iPods. Colors were vivid, now they’re monochromatic. People were connected in person not through coded channels, and life felt a bit simpler. Looking back, it was a good time, and while the age of computers certainly has its high points, the ‘90s were more “fresh to def,” if you will, complete with their own Prince of Bel Air.