The majority of people, when asked in a totally serious and non-creepy way, admit that gym class was the bane of their existence during their long, boring stay within the walls of the public education system. To me, this kind of snap judgement is an ignorant lamentation. Sure, middle and high school gym class were akin to slave plantations during the turn of the century complete with sweaty armpits, long bouts of exercise without rest, and angry masters hurling insults at you, brandishing a moldy coach’s whistle instead of a whip.
However, you’re letting all the bad parts of gym class cloud your recollection of all the good, and I’m talking REALLY good, times. In the 90s, gym classes in the thousands of elementary schools across the country were a time of reflection, fun, and primal, fist-clenching, elbow-scraping competition.
Now, you’ve got to remember, getting a roomful of rugrats together to do anything even slightly organized is more futile an endeavor than convincing them not to eat brightly-colored, food-shaped hunks of Play Doh. The gym teachers, clad in their windbreaker suits and sporting white New Balance cross trainers that conflicted horribly with the rest of their outfit, stood at attention wielding whistles and issuing commands to their minions in the same way a farmer gathers stray cows when they’ve had their fill of grass. My elementary school’s particular cattle herding room was affectionately referred to as the cafegymnatorium.
While there are many 90s sports movies that left a huge impact on my childhood, there are no other series I remember quite as fondly as The Mighty Ducks.
Although hockey has always conceded and played fourth fiddle in America to the other big sports, it’s always been my personal favorite. I love the speed, the intensity, the finesse, the precision, and the bloodshed associated with Canada’s national pastime. Despite the fact that the Flyers haven’t won a Stanley Cup since the 70s, I’ll always be a die hard puckhead. It is for this reason that the Mighty Ducks film franchise holds a special place in my heart.
The film chronicles the exploits of one Gordon Bombay, a shamed Pee Wee Hockey failure who missed a penalty shot that could have won his team the championship. Fast forward to his adult life and he’s a sleazy, cutthroat Minneapolis lawyer with a chip on his shoulder. After winning a case in a particularly slimy fashion, Bombay is chastised by his boss for his antics. In a moment of weakness and depression, he chugs beer and drives around carelessly in a snow storm, attracting the attention of local police.
It’s been nearly 2 months since I last updated the site, and I sincerely apologize for depriving all of you of 90s cultural goodness for such an unacceptable duration. Real life has a habit of getting in the way of my more meaningful pursuits like watching shitty movies and spending way too much money on toys and cereal bowls on eBay.
Anyway, today is Memorial Day and all and, besides being a time for remembering and honoring fallen soldiers, it’s a weekend that feels like the unofficial start of summer for most people. There are BBQs, beach trips, and lots of outdoor fun, booze, and grilled meats to be indulged in.
Besides all of the classic summer weekend nostalgia, however, it also reminds me of one of the fundamental pieces of childhood comedic entertainment: 90s SUMMER CAMP MOVIES. Kids in these movies get to live fantastical lives full of romance and debauchery simply because they’re sleeping in bunks in the woods away from competent adult supervision. The owner of the camp is too busy worrying about the business end of things and the counselors are too busy fucking each other for any of them to give a damn about what the kids are doing. Oh, the beauty of summer camps.
The 90s was such a cultural melting pot of hip-hop, grunge, teen angst, heroin, and apathy, so it’s no surprise that it lead to many inside phrases that could only be properly understood by those who grew up in that wonderful generation. From movies to TV to popular music, kids all over the world were picking up descriptive phrases and new bits of language that they could take to the schoolyard and spread to their friends.
While some of this vocabulary is still heavily in use today, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at some of the best words from the 90s, complete with definitions and sentences presenting their proper usage in everyday speech.
“I admire people who dare to take the language, English, and understand it and understand the melody.” – Maya Angelou
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m 28 years old and way past the socially acceptable age to be wrapped up in the petty drama and day-to-day lives of party-going, teenage rebels. That doesn’t make me any less obsessed with teen media, though. From my earliest cognitive memories to my most recent levels of semi-consciousness, I have always been a fan of any stories based around teenagers and their struggles.
While the 80s had John Hughes movies and the Brat Pack alongside landmark series like Degrassi, the beginnings of Saved By The Bell, and The Wonder Years, the 90s are where I did my bulk of adolescent entertainment consumption. That doesn’t mean that the 80s stuff was overlooked, however, I just got the spillover and the syndication instead of the first runs.
The 90s film and TV landscape provided a really colorful, slacker-centric, radical look at the elusive teenage creature. The most memorable series like Beverly Hills, 90210 and My So-Called Life gave us a voyeuristic look into the 90s high school microcosm and provided endless hours of engaging plot developments. There were also shows like Boy Meets World, Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude, Party of Five and the oft-forgotten Sweet Valley High and the Secret World of Alex Mack, among others. Movies like Angus, Encino Man, Airborne, Dazed and Confused, 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, Can’t Hardly Wait, Varsity Blues, Kids, Hackers, and countless others gave us tears and laughter as they punctuated both our awkward weekend movie dates and our lives.