The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop CultureAs someone who was born in 1990 and lived through most of that decade, I will always have a soft spot for the 90s and the music, movies and TV shows that came with it. Of course, the subject always tends to be a little overdone, but I couldn’t help but share my own feelings about that scrunchie-filled time in our history!

There are a lot of surprising lessons we can all learn from 1990s pop culture, which we’ll discuss in this weekend’s edition of The Weekend Five. Feel free to add your own to the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned From 1990s Pop Culture

1. Inanimate objects come to life as soon as you leave the room.
Thanks to movies like Toy Story and the Brave Little Toaster sequels, a part of me grew up believing that whenever I left the house, my toys and household appliances gained consciousness and had conversations with each other. (I’m still not entirely unconvinced.) Now in 2015, this is probably why I can’t find a few things in my kitchen… They simply walked off to enjoy a new life.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture2. If you want to be someone’s lover, you have to get with their friends.
I’m assuming the Spice Girls meant that you should befriend their friends, and not literally “get with” them. In the song Wannabethe Spice Girls make a very good point — if you’re interested in someone, you need to show interest in their friends and the other important people in your boo’s life as well. They also say something about a “zig-a-zig-ah,” whose definition happens to be one of the biggest mysteries of the 1990s.

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3. “We were on a break” is never a good excuse for anything you did to upset your significant other.
Actually, never turn to Ross Geller from Friends for any kind of relationship advice. That should be the real lesson here.

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4. With the proper makeover, the nerdiest girl in school can transform into the prom queen and land the hottest guy in school.
This “lesson” eventually led to horribly unrealistic expectations for dorky girls everywhere (myself included). Sadly, my makeover didn’t come until college, at a time when nerdiness and “quirkiness” had started to become vaguely attractive traits anyway. I had to watch She’s All That many times before I realized that Freddie Prinze Jr. was never going to enroll at my school.

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Five Lessons Learned from 1990s Pop Culture5. Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.
In his song Just A Friend, when Biz Markie asks the girl he likes if she has a boyfriend, she responds, “No I don’t. I only have a friend.” They build a relationship, but when he goes to visit her at college, he quickly runs into her male “friend” kissing her in the dorms. The moral to the story? Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend. Ladies: If a guy asks you if you’re seeing someone and you tell him “I only have a friend,” you sound extremely sketchy. We really do have platonic male friends, but if we feel the need to mention them when a new guy asks if you’re single, the relationship probably isn’t all that platonic.

(Side Note: I know that this song came out in 1989, but it feels so 90s to me and it officially went platinum in 1990, so I am including it in 1990s pop culture!)

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What are your favorite lessons from 1990s pop culture? Share yours in the comments section below!

According To The Movies, True Love Is…

In keeping with our romantic comedy theme from yesterday’s post, I thought it would be entertaining to poke fun at some more of the film and television relationships we love. Before I continue, I have to admit that a few of these come from some of my favorite movies, but I love being able laugh about them all. Without further adieu:

According to the movies, true love is…

  • Vowing to turn the nerdy girl into a beautiful prom queen until you give her contact lenses and a haircut and then realize she was beautiful all along. (She’s All That)
  • Finding the one who will rescue your cat in the rain after you let it out of the car during a tantrum. (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
  • Lying about your age to your English teacher and making him think the girl he’s falling for is a high school senior when you’re actually 25 years old. (Never Been Kissed)
  • Trading your girlfriend for a hotel, sleeping with her arch-nemesis, and then asking her to prove her love for you atop the Empire State Building. (Gossip Girl)
  • Losing your ability to speak and then realizing that you can still win the prince’s heart with your looks. (The Little Mermaid)
  • Getting engaged to your employee to avoid getting deported to Canada and then marrying him anyway because you bonded with his crazy grandmother.  (The Proposal)
  • Knowing that your sometimes-enemy and business rival is also your anonymous email pen pal, but still asking her to meet you for a date in the park. (You’ve Got Mail)
  • Getting on a boat to Paris with the guy who tried to ship you off there in the first place. (Sabrina)
  • Inviting at least 20 young women (mainly account coordinators, dental assistants and aspiring models) to compete for your affections on TV over the course of several weeks and enjoying romantic moments with each before deciding that your “real feelings” are for the girl that audiences hate the most. (The Bachelor)

What has the media taught you about “true love?”

The Friday Five: High School Experiences I Wish I Had

Every week, as I turn on the latest episode of The Hard Times of RJ Berger, I am reminded of how formulaic and unrealistic society’s portrayal of high school life really is. My school never had quite the same divisions when it came to cliques (they did exist, but there were a lot of gray areas and it was possible to be a part of more than one), and I can’t think of a particular It Girl who “ruled the school” a la Regina George of Mean Girls. In other words, while many of pop culture’s portrayals of high school have some grain of truth, few really capture the essence of my high school experience (or that of anyone else I know).

Having said that, although I enjoyed high school to an extent, I wouldn’t mind borrowing some elements from the movies and television shows that seem to capture it all. And so this Friday, I bring you five fictional high school events I wish I could relive, had my life been a movie, TV show, or book.

The Friday Five: High School Experiences I Wish I Had

1. Attending a school where it’s okay to break into song no matter what.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a jock or a nerd, because on Glee, everyone gets their chance to shine. In a school with boundless musical talent, you can sing about anything (really!) — whether it’s the student who has a crush on her teacher, the baby you’re giving up for adoption, or the boy you liked that you thought had feelings for your friend but was actually gay. While my abilities in song and dance are extremely limited, I would have loved being a part of the Cheerios cheerleading squad with Sue Sylvester as my coach. Yes, she can be sadistic, but as a former cheerleader myself, I know it would have been amazing to perform with a team of such talent (and with pyrotechnics included… gasp!). I could do without the whole “slushie in the face” routine though. : )

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2. An 80’s/90’s movie prom night.

Much to my friends’ dismay, I hate to dance. For all of my high school dances, I always felt like I wasted a perfectly good dress on a night of watching sweaty people practically have sex on the dance floor — for me, the night might as well have taken a break after my pictures were taken and then continued a few hours later at the after party. However, had my homecomings and prom resembled more of an 80’s or 90’s event (such as Pretty in Pink or She’s All That), I probably would have enjoyed them a lot more. A fun, choreographed dance to Fatboy Slim’s The Rockafeller Skank or a slow dance to The Spandau Ballet’s song True would have made the night that much better… instead of listening some hip-hop artist I couldn’t even understand.

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3. Having full access to my friend’s basement hangout.

Let me just preface this by saying that basements are a rare commodity in Florida… and basically impossible to have if you live as far south as I did. Therefore, finding yourself in a basement is a very cool thing. Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t be doing quite the same things that the characters from That 70’s Show did, but if I had an Eric Forman in my life whose basement was always up for grabs, there’s no telling what I would do. It doesn’t matter if Eric is out of the house or even on the same continent; his friends still have a place to call home — no knocking or calling ahead of time required! The basement is their safe haven for dealing with the pressures of life and growing up. While my friends and I did have a few places we frequented, there was never one that meant all that much to me. Many of the locations we went to were easily replaceable, and none of them ever felt to me like a home away from home.

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4. Taking bets and then falling in love because of them.

Growing up in the 90’s, I was surrounded by images of boys who accepted money to date dorky and socially awkward but still obviously pretty girls, but ultimately ended up dropping the bet/deal and falling in love with them. Take 10 Things I Hate About You as a prime example. Patrick Verona (played by a young Heath Ledger, who really stole the show – rest in peace) is paid by Joey Donner (the narcissistic popular guy… yay stereotypes!) to date Kat Stratford so that Joey can have a chance with Kat’s sister and eventually sleep with her. Patrick gets Kat all the way to the prom but falls in love with her along the way, to the point where he even serenades her with Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and pays the band to perform at her soccer practice. Of course these things never happen in real life, but 90’s movies make the argument that if you start to date someone for the wrong reasons (such as a bet or the fact that you’re being paid) then you’re destined to fall for them. Case closed.

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5. Learning magic and defeating the most evil wizard of all time.

I still maintain that my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail almost nine years ago… and while the seven years spent in wizarding school overlap middle and high school, I would be willing to erase my middle school years in favor of becoming the next Hermione Granger, minus all the hormones (besides, middle school really sucked). Although I doubt I’m brave enough for Gryffindor, I think I’d find a happy place for myself in Ravenclaw, hopefully not among know-it-alls but just among people who like to question and learn new things. I’m convinced that I would love my Charms and Transfiguration classes, hate Potions due to my aversion to chemistry, and struggle a little with Defense Against the Dark Arts because I’m a bit of a passive person but nevertheless would learn a lot from the class and love being there. I might not have been on the frontlines fighting against Voldemort, but I would still find my place in the cause and work toward the equality of all magical creatures!

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So, what high school experiences do you wish you had?!