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7 Nineties Cultural Moments We Look Back On and Laugh

The past is mostly silly hair and regrettable clothing choices. But why sit around feeling sorry about the funny, ridiculous, or downright odd cultural moments of yesteryear? We’re pretty happy to laugh at ourselves when it comes to our Beanie Baby collection, frosted tips, and that one dance everyone had to learn in gym class . . .

Every Kid’s Steve Urkel Impression

We love Family Matters as much as the next nineties kid, but Steve Urkel inspired a truly unfortunate number of kids to hike up their pants and imitate TV’s most obnoxious nerd. Unfortunately, this trend coincided with the rise of cheap camcorders and parents who filmed said impressions. How much of this footage ended up being played at weddings years later? Based on what we’ve seen, so, so much.

Every Kid’s Ace Ventura Impression

And if you were an annoying nineties kid too young for Family Matters, you were probably just the right age to start yelling “Alllllllrighty then!” Oh, and Ace Ventura did that thing where he pretended to talk with his butt. Which so many third graders thought was just so funny that it had to be imitated constantly. If this was you, maybe call your parents and thank them for all they had to endure.

The Great Beanie Baby Bust

So many people thought they’d hold onto their collections and make a pile of money. In fairness, some people did by flipping popular Beanie Babies on eBay—which, at one point, made up 10% of their sales. Sadly, people who thought that Beanie Babies would make major money down the road were mostly left disappointed.

The Rachel

It seems like only a few weeks after Friends aired everyone wanted a hairstyle that would come to be called the Rachel. Even if you didn’t have her exact hair, layered haircuts with highlights were all the rage for years. Indeed, the Rachel was easily the haircut of the nineties, with Demi Moore’s short locks from Ghost being an honourable mention.

Frosted Tips

Once upon a time, basically every cool dude looked like Guy Fieri. But while we respect the Mayor of Flavortown’s sartorial game, so many guys in the nineties tried and failed to pull off the look, including Justin Timberlake, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jack Black, and even Shaq. And probably you, if you were a middle-school boy with hair gel, Axe body spray, and probably a puka shell necklace.

Everyone Went Nuts for Furbies

What’s a Furby? It was the must-have toy of the 1999 holiday season. Looking sort of like an owl meets a hamster meets Gizmo from Gremlins, Furbies were supposed to speak their own language called Furbish, interact with users, and learn to speak English over time. In reality, the experience was less interactive and more like listening to pre-recorded nonsense from a weird pseudo-monster. Also, they were banned from US military bases based on the fear that they could record classified information. But once again, these things were just glorified soundboards. 

Learning the Macarena

If you went to gym class, on a cruise, to a birthday party, to a New Year’s Eve event, to Club Med, to camp, or to any place where the previous dance of choice was the YMCA, you had to learn the Macarena. The song stayed on the Hot 100 list for 60 mind-boggling weeks, during which time everyone from grandmas to kindergarteners to the Democratic National Convention was doing the Macarena. Then, as soon as it was everywhere, it was suddenly nowhere—and we were all collectively embarrassed and decided that never again would all levels of society dance to such a risqué song. Until “Who Let the Dogs Out,” that is.

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Posted on:
June, 17 2022



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