Steve G. from Happened in the ’90s came back through to crush on 1997 with us and he did just that on this week’s episode. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so because we talk about everything from the Princess Diana Beanie Baby to the beauty of ‘Wu-Tang Forever.’ However, like with every year of the ‘90s, it’s hard to capture every precious pop culture gem it had to offer. This is why we’re here today. I just had to spread the love even further for the year that gave us one of the wildest premises for a TGIF show, ever, ‘Teen Angel,’ Quentin Tarantino’s best with ‘Jackie Brown,’ and musically left everyone trying to master singing along to Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.”
Those were some amazing attributes to the world, but let’s take a closer look at some other things that had me crushin on 1997…
You know a show means something to you if you can recall the exact moment you first saw it. I relayed that story to Steve G. on this week’s episode, and while I’m not as avid a watcher as I once was, for many years ‘South Park’ was my jam. Wednesday nights at 10pm were my everything, and like so many kids my age at the time – I attached myself to these characters, and from that came the idea that one could be a little out there with their sense of humor, that things didn’t always have to be so ‘Full House.’ It was definitely a show that hit a switch for a generation.
Not too long before I was drafted into the Boy Band War of ‘99, I was all hands on deck when it came to spreading the gospel of Girl Power to the world. I mean, who wasn’t at that time? The Spice Girls were just one of those right place, right time kind of moments that became an instant obsession for teens and tweens alike. Their music was very much the opposite of the grunge era, the alternative scene led by the likes of Liz Phair, and even the Lilith Fair scene – and we ate it up. Left no crumbs. Not to mention that in ‘97 we got not only the ‘Spice World’ album but a whole ass movie. They struck when the iron was hot and to this day are still one of the most beloved and revered girl groups of all time.
Jungle 2 Jungle
There are three major roles Tim Allen is known for and for most people, it’s not ‘Jungle 2 Jungle.’ It should be, but sadly I think ‘Home Improvement,’ ‘The Santa Clause,’ and ‘Toy Story’ take the cake but for me, it’s always going to be about this stuffy businessman who travels to the depths of the rainforest to get a divorce finalized, only to discover he has a teenage son. He then takes him back to New York City for some father-son time and well, we get a hilarious fish out of water meets sweet family movie with a little mafia drama tossed in the mix. Not to mention that Sam Huntington as Mimi-Siku cemented himself in the ‘90s Crush Hall of Fame in that one.
Back in the day, it wasn’t just Disney and Dreamworks. We got animated movies from all over the place, and one of the best was ‘Anastasia.’ Honestly, it outshines every Disney Princess movie before ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and holds its own against everything from the Renaissance Era. And just like with ‘Jungle 2 Jungle,’ ‘Anastasia’ gave way to another ‘90s Crush Hall of Famer, Demetri. If Prince Eric or Aladdin were not your first animated crush, chances are this guy was.
En Vogue “Don’t Let Go”
There are a handful of artists keeping the art of music videos alive and well today, but back in the ‘90s. You couldn’t release a single without an accompanying video that had to be just as good, and En Vogue smashed it out of the park with “Don’t Let Go.” This was one of the first music videos I remember seeing a lot on Vh1 and I was so enamored with the storytelling aspect of it, the performance, just everything but…as I’m watching it now…why were they performing in what appears to be an apartment?
People should not be shocked that the kids who watched this animated teen series about a high schooler who rarely cracked a smile but never failed to have a wisecrack then went on to be the same generation who embraced emo music. The writing was on the wall because if ‘South Park’ is what crafted a generation’s humor, then ‘Daria’ is its counterpart in sarcasm. We talked about this show as well this week, and how it perfectly summarized what it meant to be a teen at that time. Just take the first episode for example, Daria and Jane are seen as depressed, and instead of legit counseling, they are forced to take a BS class about their feelings that’s taught by a man who himself needs therapy. It’s a beautifully crafted show that hit the nail on the head and in many ways still captures the hearts of every kid who’s sat in class their freshman year and wondered, how the hell am I going to survive four more years of this?
Fools Rush In
This is one of those movies that if on TV, I’m going to abandon all responsibilities and watch. So it had to be here. I also included it because it’s a movie my mom and I fell in love with together, and still reference quite often to one another.
Backstreet Boys ‘Backstreet Boys’
Before MTV gave way to ‘Total Request Live,’ they had MTV Live. It was way less chaotic and not based around music videos. They’d show one every now and then but it wasn’t anything like a countdown. Well, one episode happened to have Backstreet Boys’ “As Long As You Love Me” and in an instant, I went from your typical 5th grader to an obsessed fangirl who would spend the next 20+ years and counting being a ride-or-die for these random men from Orlando, Florida. Of course, that’s all to say that I soon had their album and it was quickly my everything.
When you are even the slightest bit of brown, you will watch three movies; ‘La Bamba,’ ‘Blood In Blood Out,’ and ‘Selena.’ At least that’s how it went in my home growing up. The first two were constants, but in ‘97 we added a new one to the mix. When it comes to biopics, ‘Selena’ set a new standard.
Cats Don’t Dance
Like ‘Anastasia,’ ‘Cats Don’t Dance’ was a fantastic film that had nothing to do with the House of Mouse. What it did have to do with though was the trials and tribulations of animal actors in a world where they coexisted with humans. It’s very much the grandparent ‘Zootopia’ in terms of weaving race relations into an animated musical. All of that said, if you have never seen this movie, I can’t stress how much you’ll enjoy this. Plus, the villain is an evil Shirley Temple-like character named Darla Dimple whose big musical number could be placed alongside Scar’s “Be Prepared” and Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”