Crushin on All Things 1996

It’s always a joy to talk to Scott Kurland, host of ‘Writer’s Bagel Basket‘ and co-host of ‘Hell is a Musical.’ He knows so much and while it may seem like a curse to have pop culture tidbits at your fingertips, I think it’s pretty cool. Scott was back to talk about a year he just could not deny, as it houses so many of his favorite things, including McDonald’s must-haves and ‘That Thing You Do!’ We talked about both of those as well as our shared obsession with Mariah Carey and just how many times I went to the theater for ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame.’ 

For those who’ve yet to partake in that episode, it’s right here! We covered a lot, including one of my favorite things about this year that you can read about below but there was plenty we didn’t quite get to that I’ll be talking about today because when it comes to that year, shit was poppin’ so let’s get to crushin on all things 1996. 

Sublime ‘Sublime’ 

This wasn’t an album I loved until freshman year of high school but because it came out this year, I just had to include it because if I were to make a list of bands that capture what Southern California is about, Sublime would for sure be on there. Having lived there for over 30 years, it’s hard for me to not love the vibe this album has going on. Plus, my family collectively loves “Santeria” so how could I not have my fam-jam on here? 

Pop-Up Video

I’d bet that ‘Pop-Up Video’ was huge to kids who were on the honor roll growing up because um, who doesn’t love to learn facts?!

Welcome to the Dollhouse

If there is a movie or TV show with a great middle child, I’m going to be a fan of it, and ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ had me intrigued from the second I saw it one random night on TV. Dawn Wiener is forever a queen to not only the kids stuck in the middle of their family dynamic, but also to anyone who’s ever felt well, not quite like they fit in with the rest of the world. 


On the flip side, Moesha was far from an outsider. She had a great group of friends and was insanely involved. Not someone I could identify with and as a kid I watched this here and there, mostly tuning in for the insanely amazing theme song and then flipping the channel (antique term) elsewhere. However, as I’ve gotten older and had a chance to rewatch this Brandy led show – the only real thing that upsets me about this show is that we never got a proper ending. 

House Arrest 

If you read about the stupidest thing I loved about this year, then you know I live for the ridiculous, and ‘House Arrest’ is just that. Kids with various parental issues band together to lock their parents in a basement. Their parents are then told they won’t get out unless they start working their shit out. It’s a wild concept but as a kid, you can’t help but admire the tenacity of these kids. Like, you locked adults in a basement and are trying to treat them with therapy you read from a local library book? Love it.

Matchbox Twenty ‘Yourself or Someone Like You’

If you couldn’t tell, I did have Vh1 before MTV for some reason so that’s why I lived for ‘Pop-Up Video’ and also Matchbox Twenty. Well not past tense because my love of Matchbox Twenty is still ongoing. I’ve only gotten to see them once in all these years, but it remains a top-tier concert memory as I snuck down to a closer section, occupied an empty seat, and sang every damn word that came out of Rob Thomas’ mouth. Which, if you listen to Mass-Debaters’ ‘Singer Bracket’ review show, you’ll learn he’s one of my favorite singers, along with…well, you’ll have to listen to find out. 

7th Heaven 

My mom was raised Catholic and even attended a religious school until 6th grade. This is why she knew that she’d never force any sort of beliefs on her kids, and she didn’t. We kept rosaries from our nana but other than that, on Sundays we were home. So I’m not sure as to how I fell in love with this incredibly cheesy Christian-based TV show revolving around a preacher and his family, but I did. Even when I’d dip out for a season or two, I’d jump right back in and be just as enamored as before. 


A story about a smart girl into books who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her family? Hmm, sounds familiar…but anyways, other than the story being one I felt reflected so much of my life at the time – I just loved the movie. It’s also one of those movies I feel like everyone my age has seen and loves it for various reasons. Whether it’s the same ones as me, the chocolate cake, or Danny DeVito, any reason is a good reason to fuck with ‘Matilda.’ 


Okay up until the point where I didn’t have cable…I was watching ‘Arthur’ every single afternoon. What year was that? Well, I’m so glad you asked. 2016. So the second that I can get my hands on a DVD box set, I will be doing so because despite this being aimed at what I’m assuming are preschoolers since it was on PBS, I loved it. I still love it. I appreciate the animation style, the stories told, and DW being the best/worst little sister never fails to make me burst out laughing. 

The First Wives Club

One of the movies Scott and I talked about was ‘The First Wives Club’ and we got into why he thinks kids our age at the time were all in for this movie that really, I don’t think was meant to be a fan-favorite among tweens but um, somehow it was. This was not a movie my mom picked. That would’ve made sense, but nope. This was something I rented and fell for instantly. Scott has his reasons and they made sense, but for me – I think it was the camaraderie between this group of friends. It’s the reason I loved ‘Now & Then’ and ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ the previous years, and probably why I was enamored with the Spice Girls soon after. Girl power, friendship? That seems to be the underlying millennial girl brand. At least for me. Nevertheless, if you’ve yet to see ‘The First Wives Club,’ you’re missing out on a movie that’s as fun as it is heartfelt.


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