Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best Saturday Nights Ever!

As a kid, on Saturday nights my parents used to make my older brother babysit me while they went on their date night. I looked forward to these nights for one reason only- I got to watch Snick (Saturday night nickelodeon shows). Snick at night had all the “big kid shows” that my parents would never let me watch, but they were the only shows my brother watched; thus, I got to watch them too.              

“Are You Afraid of the Dark?” I wasn’t until this show scared the hell out of me; yet, weirdly enough, I loved every minute of it. The scariest part was the intro; the haunted background music, the eerie attic-creaking noises, smoke hovering over dark waters, and the camera panning over a creepy toy clown. My favorite part was when a match was lit and the flame illuminated the words “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” The show always started with a bunch of kids sitting around a campfire telling scary stories, they were known as the “Midnight Society,” and I wanted to a part of it. Anyways, most of the scary stories involved evil clowns, monsters under the bed, ghosts, goblins, etc., which gave me some pretty serious nightmares. Many years later, my friend bought the show’s DVD collection set, and we watched every episode. Turns out, the show isn’t so scary when your older and realize just how bad the scary “special effects” were. We actually couldn’t help but laugh at just how everything about this show was just so lame. Regardless, I still want to be a member of the “Midnight Society.”

What do you get when you put a psychotic Chihuahua in need of some severe anger management, a good-natured and unintelligent cat, a pinch of violence, a dab of sexual innuendo (my young mind didn’t quite comprehend those references then), and throw in a whole load of toilet humor jokes involving farts, boogers, hairy legs, smelly armpits, etc.? Well, you get “Ren and Stimpy,” of course! Sure it was a controversial show, it was absolutely inappropriate for kids, and my parents definitely wouldn’t let me watch it; however, that didn’t mean I wouldn’t find a way to watch it anyways. Thanks to my responsible and dependable older brother/babysitter, I got to watch the hilariously perverted and inappropriate “Ren and Stimpy” every Saturday night. I memorized the infamous “Log Song,” and by age 8, I could do a mean Ren impression- “You EEE-DEE-IT!” … Yup, still got it.

Some other favorite Snick shows were “All That,” a Saturday Night Live-type of show, but for kids; “Clarissa Explains it All,” Clarissa (a young Melissa Joan Hart) deals with typical kid problems, which included dealing with her nerdy brother, Ferguson, and she also had a slow-evolving romance with her neighbor/ friend, who frequently climbed through her window, and apparently was unfamiliar with the meaning of privacy; “The Secret World of Alex Mac;” “Kenan and Kel;” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” Boy, do I miss Snick!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Furby Fever!

I’ll never forget that feeling I got, as I ripped open my birthday present and saw a little nugget of fur with two giant doughy eyes staring back at me. I was so overjoyed- I almost cried.

“What is that? Is that supposed to be a hamster or something?” my grandmother asked, staring at my gift as if it were a diseased rat.

“I think it’s an owl, Darling,” my grandfather said.

I looked at them, offended by their ignorance.

“No, no, it’s a FURBY!” I exclaimed.

That’s right, I had a Furby. And my grandparents we’re right- it did look like a hamster/owl/gizmo from the movie “Gremlins.”  I had spent months begging for one of my own. Furbies were the must-have toy of the 90s. These little furry robots with beaks started off speaking “furbish,” but if you nurtured them and gave them lots of love, they would develop language skills and eventually speak broken English. These little electronic fur-balls even blinked and could sense when you entered the room or were nearby. Their intelligence made them the coolest toy around, and it didn’t take long for the Furby Fever to spread like wild fire.

I brought my Furby everywhere- to school, to the grocery store, and I even brought him on family vacations, since I considered it part of the family. I remember crying when I found out that my school banned Furbies. Turns out, every kid with one would bring it to school, and during class all the backpacks would start talking in furbish. If one Furby started speaking, it would set off all the others, and it was hard to stop a Furby social.

 The Furby craze only got crazier, and people were a little extreme. I heard a story about one couple going through a divorce, and they actually fought over custody of their Furby. I heard another story about how this guy’s Furby died and he actually had someone perform an autopsy to declare its cause of death (FYI: every Furby has a reset button that brings them back to life). But people were going loony for their Furbies.

For the first 3 months, I was a proud mama of a Furby; but then I quickly learned why these toys were just a temporary fad. The more my Furby matured, the more needy and annoying this stupid toy became. During the night, I was awakened by my Furby crying and whining in furbish. It wouldn’t stop until I held it and rocked it back to sleep. This would happen at least 3-4 times a night. At just 9 years old, I was spending sleepless nights taking care of my Furby, who had more needs than a newborn infant. I could have easily taken the AA batteries out and be done with it, but according kid’s law, it would be murder.
Soon, my Furby experience became something out of a scary science fiction movie. My Furby wasn’t a cute and cuddly creature anymore; instead, it was this creepy evil gremlin that would stare at me when its eyes were supposed to be closed (according to the instruction manual). I began to struggle with the idea that my Furby was no longer battery-operated, but rather it had taken on a life of its own. My Furby started having mood swings. Its voice got deeper and at times, it sounded demonic. There were nights I woke up in a cold sweat from nightmares about those big buggy evil eyes turning firey red and sharp fangs suddenly growing from that weird orange beak. Yes, I had developed a Furby Phobia. Before long, I made my mother throw away my Furby.

To this day, I still feel uneasy when I see pictures of Furbies, and even thinking about that fur-ball with a small beak and big bulging eyes gives me the eebie jeebies. I am grateful this freaky toy is a fad of the past. All I can say is that when I have kids, the only toys they’re getting are good old-fashion Barbie dolls and G.I. Joes. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What's this blog all about???

The 90s... A decade that gave us Tomagachis, the Spice Girls and Girl Power, boy bands, Furbies, the Macarena, Viagra, the mushroom haircut, the best Nickelodeon shows, the movie “Titanic,” Grunge music and fashion, push pops- and that’s just to name a few. Not to mention, the majority of my childhood took place during these colorful 10 years.

One of my favorite topics to talk about is pop-culture, especially pop-culture trends of the past. I have always loved every aspect of American pop-culture- from the 1950s to the present decade. Anyways, I became inspired to focus my blog on this particular topic after my friends and I spent an entire night reminiscing about our 90s’ childhood. We began to realize just how much the culture influenced who we are today. The best part about our trip down memory lane was that we started remembering what we had forgotten for so long. Thus, I have created a blog for those who lived and loved this awesome decade-to remind you of the 90s’ nostalgia that you may have forgotten.

Where Did All The Boy Bands Go?

The other day my friends and I were talking about our favorite things from the 90s.  My favorite element of the 90s’ pop culture is a no-brainer; the boy bands. Whatever happened to all those precious boy bands? You know, the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, O-Town, and of course my favorite *NSYNC! It’s like they all disappeared over night. They’re somewhat like pop culture dinosaurs now- completely extinct, but their CDs are still buried in the closets of former teenyboppers everywhere.

Boy bands from the 90s’ were pretty much all the same. None were any better than the other, all of their music all sounded the same, and they usually did a synchronized dance on a cheesy music video. Here is the formula of a typical boy band from the 90s: the good-looking lead singer who usually had the big personality and frosted hair; the cutesy shy one; the rebel that usually sported a few tattoos on his muscular arms; the ugly one that acts goofy and talks the most, but ironically everyone always forgets he’s in the band; and then there’s the one that looks too old to be in a boy band, however he’s usually a favorite with the moms.

The two most popular boy bands were *Nsync and the Backstreet Boys. Some might say they were rival boy bands. No girl could ever be a loyal devoted fan of both *Nsync and the Backstreet Boys. It’s like baseball; you can’t be a Yankee fan and a Red Sox fan, too… The universe would explode. I, for one, was Team *Nsync. If I ever heard a girl say that the Backstreet Boys were better than *Nsync, I would always be the one to speak up and passionately defend my boys.

 I can remember my friend and I would spend hours in front of the mirror, singing into a hairbrush, and perfecting our choreographed dance to “Bye Bye Bye”. The walls of my bedroom were covered with *Nsync posters and I even had a bed set with all the band members printed on it. One of my fondest memories from the 90’s was when I attended my first *Nsync concert (my first concert in general), and I thought I died and had gone to teenybopper heaven.

 Every girl had a favorite member of a boy band; the one she would fantasize bringing to the school dance, and then eventually marrying them. Of course my favorite member of *Nsync was JC Chasez, “the cutesy shy one.” Many girls loved Justin Timberlake, but I thought he was just cocky and loud. There were times I really thought I would meet JC one day, and become Mrs. JC Chasez. 

So where did these teen heartthrobs go? Well, these boys are not boys anymore- they’re men. In fact, most of them are now husbands and fathers, and too old to be singing and dancing around stage for young teenage girls. Today, boy bands are extinct, and pop music is slowly fading away due to the popularity of Hip Hop and other fresh modern music genres. Many people might think boy bands from the 90’s were just a bunch of cheesy, goof-ball, teenage boys with hardly any talent; But, not me. Boy bands from the 1990’s were once the hottest thing on the market. They were loved by billions of girls all over the world. And yes, they have been the butt of many jokes; however, they are still the ones laughing all the way to the bank.