Before Mary Kate & Ashley were fashion icons, believe it or not, they were actresses. And they had a string of great films in which they had a bunch of names that were way ahead of their time.
When you still feel young…ish, it’s easy to feel like high school graduation was just moments ago. But let’s face facts: a decade has passed, and we aren’t even living in the same world we were in in 2004. Queue up Wind Beneath My Wings and get ready to clap disrespectfully when you get excited about one of these – it’s time for our In Memorium.
Few people will experience admiration, envy, and inferiority like those of us who were born the same year as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. When our parents were applauding us for holding our heads up unsupported, the Olsen twins were starring as Michelle Tanner on Full House. When we were writing our first names in shaky printing, they released an album of children’s songs complete with a tv special. They produced video series before we were allowed to babysit, and had a clothing line before we could drive.
All that and their characters always had dope-as-hell names, too.
The Olsen twins had the best of everything in the 90s and early 2000s – the FLYEST of sunflower hats, the cutest bowl-cutted nonthreatening boyfriends, the most spacious well-decorated tween bedrooms – but their character names took the cake. Often several years ahead of the popular names ACTUALLY given to girls born in 1986, they were cutting edge (at the time), super cute (again, at the time), and exactly what you wished you were named as a 5th grader.
To Grandmother’s House We Go
The year: 1992
Before the Olsen twins were the girls everyone wanted to be – or before the twins got to influence character names themselves – their characters actually had some of the most common names for girls our age. Trust me, there were about 6 Sarahs in our graduating class. A lot of kids’ movies give the characters names that either are popular with way younger kids (a high schooler of today named Harper, e.g.) or that were popular when the writers were kids (a high schooler of today named Stacey). This early O.T. movie hit the nail on the 1986 head.
New York Minute
The Year: 2004
Do you remember how big this movie was supposed to be? The Olsens missed prom to host SNL during promotion! The posters were up forever – I should know, because I was a high school senior doing time at a movie theater concession stand. It didn’t take off like it was supposed to, but Mary-Kate and Ashley really came into their own, name-wise, with this one. The sister who wears concert tees and likes black: Roxy. Of course. It felt especially hip at the time because Roxy, the surfwear brand, was huge in middle America. Jane was just the kind of vintage name that was cool because nobody was using it – sort of like Hazel, if Hazel hadn’t gotten so popular. I hope it stays that way, because Jane is totally on my short list if I ever have a kid. What can I say, those Olsen twins really know how to name them.
Anyone else miss the golden age of MK&A? Same. Get ready to feel old.
If you’re an ’04 grad, Ecto Cooler was probably a staple of your childhood. I can still taste it now – a thick, corn-syrupy, vaguely citrusy drink that was almost always room temperature, because I was usually drinking it from a Hi-C juice box that had been sitting in my coatroom for 4 hours. Now Ecto-Cooler really is but a slimy green ghost: it was renamed in 2001 and discontinued entirely in 2007.
I have a hunch that if I used organic ingredients, set myself up in a hipster enclave, and started making artisinal Ecto-Cooler, I could make a killing.
For us class of ’04 kids, The WB was our entertainment hub as soon as we became old enough for teen entertainment. From our middle school days watching Dawson’s Creek, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Felicity, to our high school appreciation for Gilmore Girls and Smallville, this was essentially the TV network version of Teen People.
… which also no longer exists. Although, when I read regular People, everyone is so damn young that I feel like it may as well be called Teen People, anyway. Get off my lawn, Ariana Grande.
The Mary-Kate and Ashley line at Wal-Mart
It was a big freaking deal when MK&A launched their “lifestyle line” at Wal-Mart, and it’s kind of hilarious now to realize that they were schilling maribu-lined bedside lamps for tweens while doing coke on the weekends. Now they are real-life designers, and although some MK&A items are still lingering on Wal-Mart shelves (according to the internet – sorry, I do not love you all enough to go to a bona fide Wal-Mart to find out), the full-fledged cosmetics/bedding/bath/clothing panoply is no longer.
Which sucks, because I can’t be the only ’04 girl who bought the best lip gloss of her LIFE from that brand.
Guys Who Were Born In The 1800s
RIP. Like, literally RIP. Ten years ago there were a pretty good number of folks alive who were born in the 1800s, but now the Lost Generation is… well, you know. The world’s oldest man just died (am I supposed to still call him that? Such a confusing honorific). Anyway, he was born in 1903. There are no more living World War I vets, either. Shout-out to the five still-living women holding it down for the 19th Century ladies. I can’t help but hope that one of them is actually Samantha Parkington.
Samantha Parkington (And Molly, Felicity, And Kirsten)
Speaking of Samantha Parkington, everybody take your $30 doll-sized tea service and pour a little out for our homie. American Girl has discontinued those 90s girl status symbols Samantha, Molly, Felicity, and Kirsten. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting to dress like them. (1, 2, 3)
The Bush Administration
It seems like we’ve spent a lifetime listening to Conservative pundits complain about the president. Those eight years when it was Liberals complaining seem like but a whisper of a memory.
Today’s high school grads will never know that thing where you download a song to find that it has been replaced with a loud, static-y buzz due to copyright issues. They will also never know what it’s like to have their parents’ desktop computer crash every six months because you just can’t stop downloading illegal John Mayer tunes. Sorry, mom and dad.
My workplace recently sent out an email warning us against using Napster on company computers, and I was like “that’s cool, I didn’t know we had time-travelers from the early 2000s working here.”
Your Childhood Pet, Probably
If you had a beloved dog or cat in your childhood, it may have lived to see your 2004 graduation, but Bootsie or Spot has probably crossed the rainbow bridge by now.
Am I the only Mets fan in the house?
How many middle school and high school sleepovers started with arguing about whether to get Titanic or Clueless on a trip to that blue-and-yellow rental house? Now all kids have to do is scroll through Netflix.
The Ball Pit At Chuck E. Cheese’s
Chuck E. Cheese: where kids were set free in a complex network of large PVC pipes and a pool, deeper than we were tall, filled with plastic balls, and expected to survive. It’s no wonder today’s helicopter parents don’t allow this. But really, as with Discovery Zone (also RIP) what we were discovering was ourselves. And, inevitably, a used band-aid.
Psych! I assumed this no longer existed, but I Googled it, and it does. Good. Today’s teens should be part of the time-honored tradition of saturating your hair, basking in the sun, and finding that either nothing happened or your hair turned orange and you got a sunburn.