It’s The 90s: Let’s All Decorate For Christmas!

Here’s a bit of 90s nostalgia you never hear about: Christmas decorations. That’s because holiday decor of the 1990s, like holiday fashion and holiday television, was delightfully cheesy. In this, the Let’s All Decorate Christmas Special, let’s look back at the Yuletide decor of the 1990s. Then next week, you can revisit 90s Christmas decorations all over again when you visit your parents who are still displaying the ornaments of your youth.

Ceramic Tree With Half Of The Bulbs Missing

For a 20-year period, everyone had one aunt who took a ceramics class where she painted and glazed a Christmas tree. You probably lost most of the bulbs within a decade (especially if you had cats). The “classy” ones were frosted white.

Lights Hung Inside The Windows Because You Didn’t Have An Outdoor Outlet

Outdoor electric outlets certainly existed in the 90s – but more homes hadn’t added them yet, so you saw a lot more lights strung up inside the windows. We’ve come full circle: I don’t have an outlet at the front of my house, so I hang twinkling fairy lights inside my windows.

Giant Bulbs

We are all Chandler Bing. At some point in the 1990s the tiny lights took over, but the big ones are sort of back in a retro way now.

Slow-Moving Animatronic Santa

Even at the turn of the millennium, our technology wasn’t really *all there* yet. It took us 5 minutes to sign on to the Internet and our cell phones were as big as kittens. These slow, jerky electronic Santas were pretty high-tech for the time. Also they looked like they were about to launch into a really awesome break dancing performance at any time.

Aerosol Spray Snow

I was never allowed to have spray paint snow, in part because my mom didn’t want to clean it up and in part because I lived in a city that gets 100 inches of annual snowfall. Still, these aerosol cans of “snow” were all the rage. Some people stenciled elaborate snow scenes, but most just frosted the bottom quarter of their windows and called it a day.

Precious Moments Nativity

Reignite THIS 90s trend, teenaged Tumblr hipsters! Precious Moments, deformed cartoon children who loved Jesus, were popular in middle class homes in the 90s. Somehow I ended up with a hand-me-down set, so just like suburbanites in 1991 I can reflect on these two weird-looking kids who have a baby.

Country Angels

My requisite Grandma Who Was Into Crafting loved making angels …  which are now part of my Christmas decoration stash because somebody decided I should have them. There’s a crepe-y one in “country blue,” a doll-like one with a raffia head, a puffy squat plush one, and a gingham-dressed doll with straw hair. Country Angels were the Yuletide companion to those damned country geese. If your mom decorated in powder blue and “dusty rose” and hung quilts on the wall, she probably had a country angel or two to herald the birth of the Baby Jesus.

Those Big Plastic Santas and Snowmen

Before those blow-up decorations burst onto the scene, these big plastic Santas and Snowmen were the in thing. Of course, if you were really into the *reason for the season* you probably had this bad boy:

Ceramic Ornaments You Painted Yourself

Every year as a child, I looked forward to a craft day spent meticulously painting these ceramic ornaments. And every year as an adult, I regret keeping so many terribly painted ornaments from my childhood (turns out kids aren’t actually meticulous).

A Village From Yesteryear

There are still plenty of collectors of Christmas villages, they were just bigger in the 90s. These elaborate villages were complete with cottony snow and tiny carolers. I thought they were awesome, but also sort of a tease because it was a whole set of cool toys that you weren’t allowed to play with.

Christmas villages were usually set somewhere in the 19th century, but has it been long enough that we can have a 1990s Christmas village? Because THAT is something I’d collect.

A Big Victorian Angel

Another thing that technically still exists, but has been phased out by most decorators of our generation. Nowadays people choose stars, less-fluffy angels, conceptual tree-toppers, or nothing at all.

Hess Trucks

I never got the connection between Christmas and Hess Trucks, but some people not only bought them every year (normal) but also displayed them every Christmas (okay).

Collectibles From A Fast Food Place

Fast food glassware is a thing of the past, but in the 90s you could go to Burger King or McDonald’s and obtain a set of Christmas cups or plates. Happy Meal toys could even be called into decorating service:

Yuletide Troll Dolls

I don’t know why we liked trolls so much, but we did – and even adults incorporated them into their holiday decor. There were plush trolls that a child could cuddle on Christmas Eve, too.

Holiday Beanie Babies

Now, everybody knew that the special holiday beanies were more “valuable” so you had to treat these gingerly if you wanted to sell them for big money in 20 years (oops).

A Christmas Barbie

I had friends whose moms collected the annual holiday Barbie. It was usually wearing some kind of swanky gown and displayed with pride in a mirrored curio cabinet.

A Porcelain Doll Dressed Like She’s From The 1800s

They always looked like a cross between a ghost and a rich girl from a Charles Dickens novel.

A Stuffed Bear In Outerwear

I just learned that K-Mart released Christmas bears every year, so I guess that’s where everyone was getting these from in the 90s.

 

It’s 1996: Let’s All Decorate Our Childhood Bedrooms!

In this Let’s All Decorate, we’re taking it back to 1996 – one of the summers that stands out sharpest in my memory, although I’m not sure why. The Olympics were on TV and I was obsessed with the entire U.S. Gymnastics team and their flat snappy hair clips. My brothers and I knocked a pint of wall primer onto the hall carpet imitating old people at a wedding dancing the Macarena. I spent my days at acting camp, falling hard for improv. Mitzi, my beloved, gentle mutt, slipped out of the front gate and was never seen again. My mission in life was to be the kind of person who owned a bra, and by fall I had one (I concede that it was, and is, completely unnecessary).  Inspired by the summer’s hit film Harriet The Spy, I took to observing my inner-city neighbors and writing down their activities in a notebook … for about two weeks, when I forgot. There were kind of a lot of drug deals, to be honest. And with my older sister about to head off to her first year of college, we were all shuffling bedrooms.

Nothing says “child of privilege” more than getting your very own bedroom, and being given permission to pick out a new bedspread, wallpaper, and accessories. I took the mission very seriously for an almost-10-year-old: I went antiquing. However, most of my planning consisted of flipping through the giant fall Sears and J.C. Penney catalogs and dreaming about the perfectly coordinated tween bedroom.

A Stupid Comforter

THIS EXACT SET. Yes. The back had pink dots and teal bows.

Now, as an almost-fifth-grader, I wasn’t going in for licensed character merchandise anymore. But there was a comforter set for any tv show, movie, or hobby you were into. In my previous bedroom I had Minnie Mouse because my mom predicted that I’d only be into Beauty and the Beast for a year of so (so instead I got a character I was never into ever).

Here, you like unicorns? Of course you do. Enough to sleep under them? Hell yes:

Sports? I don’t get it, but sure, why not:

Maybe you’re just generically the kind of kid who likes to listen to music and eat ice cream, probably? (AKA the “your dad’s new girlfriend helped decorate a room in his new townhouse and things are okay, but sort of weird” set)

Curtains That Match The Comforter A Little TOO Well

I have to go put my head between my knees for a sec. Yikes. That’s a sick Mrs. Potts on the bedside table, though. Also: canopy beds. YES. Yes. Like sleeping in your own secret tent/fort every night.

But did anyone have parents who bought the whole curtain/rug/bedding set? Because my mom was always  like “come on, Moll, you can have the comforter but I’m just getting white curtains from K-Mart.” Unlike this nerd (who is probs really great at Carmen Sandiego):

A Bed That’s Trying To Be Something Else

Today my bed is just trying to be a bed. Well, I made the headboard out of an 1800s barn door, so I guess it’s trying to be that, but it’s mostly just a bed. But in 1996, your bed could be anything! It could be a race car, a doll house, or – as I had c. 1999 – a bookcase. I don’t know why beds couldn’t just be themselves but it was sort of a weird time socio-culturally.

Like, look at this lucky freaking kid. You just know that in 2015 she’s one of those girls who has a ridiculously lucrative job doing something vague in marketing and who actually enjoys bridal and baby showers, because her life has been blessed from day one:

By the way, I slept in my nephew’s race car bed last year and it was just like a tiny, awful bed with static electricity on the sides.

A Desk You’ll Never Use

Yeah, you’ll never use that desk. You do your homework at the dining room table.

Above is Abbi Jacobson’s childhood desk, and who knows, maybe she DID use it. Maybe that’s how she became who she is today, by being the kind of person who actually uses her desk.

A Regrettable Chair

Hey, former 90s kid, current adult person! How’s your back feeling? Not awesome? Yeah, that’s because we sat on bean bags and, like, pool toys. The inflatable chair was more late 90s and the bean bag was more early-mid, if memory serves.

Fun fact: my cat used my inflatable chair as a litter box (as it should be, honestly) and then my dad sloshed cat pee everywhere getting it downstairs. So not worth $21.99 from the Delia*s catalog.

A Shelf For Your Treasures and Collections (AKA Beanie Babies and Creepy Porcelain Dolls)

In the 90s, children and old ladies alike were really into collecting useless things. I actually still have a mix of mine and my grandma’s 90s porcelain doll collections in boxes in my attic that I won’t open because they’ll probably start haunting me. Like Kirsten Dunst, pictured above, you probably used your shelves to “express your personality” and stash your Dottie the Dalmation and World Book collection, plus maybe a Sand Art creation or two.

Maybe A Rug That Looked Like A Road?

As far as I was concerned, these were strictly for rich kids and dentist waiting rooms.

They Were Astronauts: Mad Men, Time Travelers

In season 4 of Mad Men, school-marmish secretary Ida Blankenship died in the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Bert Cooper remarked that Miss Blankenship wasn’t just a fusty old lady:

She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She was an astronaut.

Ida was not even 70 years old, but her lifetime stretched from an era of horse-drawn transportation to one of live television broadcasts and international flights.

If Mad Men characters were real people, most of them would be much older than Ida Blankenship. Don Draper is now roughly 90 years old – give or take a few, because, you know, Dick Whitman and everything. Joan is 84, and Peggy is about to turn 75. At 61, even little Sally Draper is getting AARP mailers and gearing up for retirement.

That’s right: Sally Draper is only a few years younger than Miss Blankenship.

The magic of old-fashioned style: Peggy actually looks younger in 1970 than she did in 1960.

The Mad Men crew witnessed as much change in the second half of the 20th century as Miss Blankenship did in the first. Contrast the first scene between Peggy and Joan with the last. In 1960 Joan told Peggy that the way to be indispensable at work was knowing what kind of liquor to stock for your boss. Working as collaborators was out of the question. By 1970 (spoiler!), Joan proposes that she and Peggy become partners in a production company. In 1960, Joan told Peggy to “always be a supplicant;” in 1970, they’re both bosses.

During the first seasons, Mad Men’s costuming reflected early ’60s style — which, of course, owed a lot to the straight-laced 1950s. Men wore suits, women wore skirts, and pillbox hats were a hot accessory. By the last season, we saw glimpses of the fashion world we live in now. Characters wore casual clothing – jeans, even! – in settings they wouldn’t have dreamed of in 1960. Early on she dressed like a cat from a Richard Scarry book, but the Sally of 1970 could almost be mistaken for a teenager of today. Some of Mad Men’s 1970 styles look dated to us now – Pete Campbell has the semi-Medieval haircut of every man in my family’s 1970s photo albums – but most wouldn’t look out of place in a hipster neighborhood. By 1970 our modern fashion culture had emerged: much less formal and easier to maintain than the early ’60s looks, owing at least in part to all of the Joans and Peggys who were now working and didn’t have hours each week to press laundry.

RIP Sally’s knee socks.

Then there’s advertising. A few years ago I saw an old diner sign for pie. It said: “it is so good!” That’s it. That was advertising of the 1940s or so: tell them the pie is good. By the early seasons of Mad Men, more sophisticated targeted advertising had materialized. Pitch meetings involved discussions like “what kind of person uses this product?” and “who does the person using this product want to be?” By the finale, the public’s aspirations had changed. No longer striving for the middle class, suburban post-war ideal, the consumer of the 1970s wants to be enlightened, free-spirited and original. He wants to buy the world a Coke. With an ad concept that’s sure to get people talking, by 1970 we’re even looking at the start of viral marketing.

When I look at how the changing world affected these characters from 1960 to 1970, I have to wonder what would have happened to them after that. Throughout the 1970s, the firm probably focused on the youth-oriented marketing that was so successful in the Coke pitch. After all, the baby boomers had aged into that lucrative 18-35 demographic. Don Draper, at least trying to be a steady presence in his kids’ lives, stayed away from hardcore ’70s drug use. Sally had a misspent youth, as was the style of the time, and was just about the right age to hit the Studio 54 scene. Joan would have been hard at work at Holloway Harris. And Peggy… I can see the 1970s being Peggy’s decade, with the world finally getting a little closer to catching up with her. She and Stan would have made a great team both at work and out of it, and I’m sure Peggy got really into macrame decor, the ERA and oversized lapels. She would have spearheaded the firm’s pitch for a public service spot during the Oil Crisis. Baby Kevin probably ended the decade very wealthy indeed, because I can’t imagine Roger Sterling lasting that long.

The 1980s is when most of our characters would have seen a big payout. Most of our former “young professionals” would be in their 50s, the prime of their careers. Pete Campbell is still a weenie in the ’80s, because “Pete Campbell is a weenie” is an immutable truth. As a company man at Learjet, he probably made major bank targeting the Reagan-era business travel demographic. Don would find himself going back to the all-American family advertising of the early 60s, now that boomers were settling down with kids. Can’t you just see Joan getting really into ostentatious 1980s fashion as her production company booms?  Trudy is absolutely the kind of ’80s woman who decorated with ducks in bonnets. And of course, little Tammy Campbell would have graduated from Dartmouth in 1986.

Think of the popular advertising of your 90s childhood – all the neon and weird surfer slang. Some of it was coined by young ad execs, but there’s a good chance that those Nickelodeon Magazine and Sunny D spots were pitched by an aged Don Draper type. By the 1990s, the clunky typewriters are all replaced with computers, and 60-something Mad Men sat in front of desktop monitors waiting for the dial-up to turn on. This is probably the decade when most of our characters retired. 1990s Joan may be the world’s fiercest grandmother, with Kevin hitting his 20s and 30s. If Holloway Harris is a success, though, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Joan keep working into her 70s.

With the 2000s recession, most of our characters would be relieved to have left the work force. But maybe someone like Peggy would have kept working into the information age. All of these characters who used rotary phones are now face-timing their grandchildren on iPads. 90-year-old Don probably gets a kick out of online advertising.  If you’re reading this as a 20- or 30-something, Sally is probably close to your mom’s age. Can you picture a middle-aged Sally moving her kid into college in the 2000s, or an adult Sally tuning into Oprah every day after work? Or maybe her trips into the seedier parts of New York City are a sign that she ended up living the Bohemian lifestyle that Betty never had.

Back to 1970: in the Mad Men finale, Don was hanging out with his weird friends and I saw something unmistakable. It was the same exact cooler that accompanied my family on every road trip throughout my whole childhood. Then I did a little math. Let’s say one of my parents got that cooler in 1970 – reasonable, since they were college students at the time – and I remember traveling with it in 1992. The duration between 1992 and now is greater than from 1970 to 1992. In other words: I’m as far from my own childhood as my childhood was from the Mad Men era. The show was set in another time, but I’m from another time, too. When we were kids, the world was full of a lot of the same people, attitudes, and even tangible objects that had been there in the 1960s and 1970s. The other day, my dad mentioned that when he was a kid, all of the “old people” were folks who were alive in the 19th century – and now there are only 5 people left from that century. My brother added that the year he was born is as long ago today as the Korean war was when he was born.

It’s not just Ida Blankenship, and it’s not just Mad Men: we’re all time travelers. We’re all astronauts.

 

The Dawson’s Creek Virgin Diaries: Season 1

Alright folks. I may have been a product of the 90s, but I was never really a Dawson’s Creek fan. Watching it as a middle schooler meant sitting in my living room while my parents were there. Because I knew that the show involved ‘kissing’ I didn’t want to risk being around them while it happened on TV.

So in saying that, I’ve probably seen a total of 5 episodes of DC in my life. Overall, I know the big plot lines (Andie goes cray, Jack is gay, and Jen doesn’t have a happy ending), but not the details of each season. And because the winter hiatus came creeping in and I am psycho and ran out of new episodes to watch, I decided to start a new series. Thanks Netflix, for contributing to my addiction.

While there’s a good number of gals (and guys) my age that have probably seen it or are dedicated fans, I figured I would represent the other half that never really got into it or haven’t seen it at all. To help us all learn more about 90s pop culture, teens in that era, and really, learn more about ourselves, I thought I’d do a quick overview of each of the six seasons from the perspective of an adult. Enjoy!

Episode 1: Pilot

This show is just so 90s I can’t handle it. I mean Pacey works at a video store. A VIDEO STORE. Honestly, kids growing up now will never know, or possibly don’t know at this very moment what a video store is. Sad yet true fact.

Maybe it’s because I instinctively want BFFs Dawson and Joey to try dating, but I really just don’t believe Jen would ever want to date Dawson. I understand why he’s into the new girl in town who literally walks in with her floral jumper out of a ‘taxi’ and in slow-mo toward him in the most ridiculous way possible. While she probably just wanted to make friends and be liked, this took it a step too far. I’m too old to be watching this show and critically analyzing it, huh?

dat taxi cab doe

So this whole Pacey/teacher affair. I totally forgot about it happening until now. Per my research the whole Mary Kay Letourneau thing happened in 1997, one year before DC premiered – so all of this was fresh in the audience’s mind. Despite the fact shows like Law & Order: SVU ‘rip from the headlines’ all the time these days, it seems like quite a ballsy move to depict something as controversial as a teacher/student/statutory rape storyline when there’s a story out there that’s still making headlines. Dawson’s Creek – it’s nothing if not cutting edge.

Episode 5: Hurricane

I’ve been trying to place where I know Tamara ‘Mary Kay Letourneau’ Jacobs from without looking at IMDb and I finally caved after 5 episodes: she played bitchy Shira Huntzberger (Logan’s passive aggressive WASPy mom) on Gilmore Girls! Someone needs to stress smoke after this affair.

Episode 7: Detention

Speaking of ripping from the headlines, is this the sequel to The Breakfast Club? And is the librarian’s name Mrs. Tingle? JK, it’s Mrs. TRingle. That would’ve been too weird to be the same name as the titular character in a movie Katie Holmes was in.  Apparently Kevin Williamson, creator/executive producer of DC, also directed Teaching Mrs. Tingle. It makes sense now.AND OMG HELEN MIRREN WAS MRS. TINGLE?!!? I can’t believe there’s so much I don’t know about this world.

Episode 9: Roadtrip

The opening shot of this episode involved Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply, Dawson staring out his window and in shambles because Jen Lindley broke up with him. That is all.

Episode 10: Double Date

Can we talk about Scott Foley for a second? This was like, at the height of his heartthrob-ness and I can’t take it. There was a point where I was watching him on my TV in this episode while simultaneously reblogging this gif of him and Fitz in a (sexually charged) scene from Scandal. The man just gets better with age.

Joey and Pacey foreshadowing? EHHH? EHH?!?!?? Dawson also needs to stop being a dick and make up his mind. Ugh, teen angst.

Episode 11: The Scare

Again, Kevin Williamson is really into self promoting, or maybe just  a masochist and enjoys hinting at his other projects in the ones he’s currently working on, but an entire Scream sequence? Okay. We get it.

jen scream dc

Episode 12: Beauty Contest

OH DEAR LORD I HAVE NEVER CRINGED AS MUCH AS I HAVE WHEN WATCHING JOSEPHINE POTTER SINGING ON MY OWN. Why couldn’t they just do it Zefron style and have someone else sing for you? It’s so bad that it’s not even second hand embarrassment anymore. And singing On My Own while Dawson watches in the wings?? Captain Obvious, much?

This ep also had some serious Miss Bayside flashbacks for me too. I was expecting Pacey to pull out from behind and be like Screech, but alas. Some other bitch won Miss Windjammer. And this is also solidified the fact Joshua Jackson is clearly the best actor on the show. All the (Teen Choice) Awards for you, sir.

Episode 13: Decisions

Joey visits her father in prison, and it’s probably because the last ‘jail-related’ show I watched was Orange is the New Black, but I half-expected Pornstache and Pennsawtucky to come out from behind him. Wrong show, wrong jail. Not real.

The thing that we had been anticipating the entire season finally happened. Dawson and Joey kissed… But why do I feel so awk sauce?

WILL JOEY AND DAWSON CONTINUE THEIR KISSING TO THE NEXT SEASON? TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT!

Best of C+S 2013: Say Hello To Your Friends – Baby-Sitters Club!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, FRIENDS!!! Hope you’re enjoying the holiday today (if you celebrate it). In the event you get a little down time from unwrapping gifts and eating, please enjoy our gift to you, in the form of a (yet to be produced) musical from a popular 90s young adult series. It’s really the gift that keeps on giving, folks. Yay Santa!

~~~

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Musical — Excerpts From The Libretto

{originally posted January 17th}

If I know one thing that sells these days, it’s nostalgia. And if I know two things that sell these days, they’re nostalgia, and making musicals out of things that were never intended to be musicals. While I haven’t exactly worked out the whole thing, here are some song titles and sample lyrics from my smash hit in the making, The Baby-Sitters Club: The Musical.

The Chapter Where We Find Out About Everyone: This number is narrated by the Greek Chorus, which is comprised of three ladies dressed as Ann M. Martin, Beverly Cleary, and Francine Pascal (read: three women in cardigans with glasses and sensible haircuts).

  • Sample lyrics:

I know you will skip over this,
As you wait for the story to begin –
But listen, Please! And don’t forget
About Jessi’s cocoa colored skin.
And Mallory’s clear braces hide
The potential she has within –
Hey Reader! Come back here! Do not disparage
The chapter that tells of the Schafer-Spier marriage
It’s The Chapter Where We Find Out About Everyone,
Ghostwritten just for you!

Stonybrook’s Divorce Rate: In this selection, the babysitters and their charges mourn the demise of the nuclear family, as evidenced by Stonybrook’s sky-high divorce rate [see Dawn’s mom, Kristy’s parents, the Brewers, most of the charges who weren’t part of the 27-kid Pike family].

Stonybrook’s Divorce Rate, Reprise: The ever-opportunistic BSC celebrates the economic advantages of marital instability in Stonybrook: with so many single-parent households and moms on the dating market, there is an obscene need for babysitters.

Shannon Kilbourne is Boring: As associate member Shannon Kilbourne leaves the BSC to pursue additional college courses (probably with that nerd Janine Kishi, am I right?), the Baby-Sitters Club does not care. Because Shannon Kilbourne is really, really boring.

  • Sample lyrics:

Shannon Kilbourne is Boring
There’s nothing else to say
If Shannon Kilbourne’s a color
Then Shannon Kilbourne is grey
Like the stony halls of S.M.S.
On an empty summer day
No one cares about Shannon Kilbourne
We’d gladly give her away.

She’s our associate member
We call her when we get stuck
But Shannon’s not at our meetings
Cause Shannon Kilbourne sucks
She gives it her best effort, yes
But I still don’t give a fuck
We won’t miss Shannon Kilbourne
Shannon, Good Bye,
Good Luck!
[Shannon shrugs and walks away. She even walks away boring. There is no point to Shannon Kilbourne, and everyone knows it.]

The Diabetes Ballet: In this dance interlude, a dreaming Stacy finds herself stalked by dancing Twinkies, Twix, and Twizzlers that are hidden throughout Claudia’s room. She wakes up having wet the bed. [I can’t be the only person who has that moment in Stacy’s medical history seared in her memory.]

Almond-Shaped Eyes, Broken-Shaped Heart: Claudia mourns Mimi, her grandmother who taught her what love really is.

  • Sample Lyrics:

My earrings are ketchup and mustard bottles,
My leggings are airbrushed with relish
But my themed outfit grows from a sorrow below
Like a Bedazzler that cannot embellish.

My cowboy hat and boots may match
My cactus skirt and bolo tie
But nothing can match the sadness
Of the tears from my almond-shaped eyes.

Bart’s Bashings: After Kristy’s Krushers defeat Bart’s Bashers on the Little League field, Bart delivers his own crushing blow: he breaks up with Kristy due to their “incompatibilities.”

  • Sample Lyrics:

[Bart] Hey Kristy! When I talk to you, I run out of words to say –
Because all you talk about is softball, or the gym pants you bought today,
It’s not that I think you’re annoying – No! I just kinda think that you’re —
[Greek Chorus] SHH!
[Bart, spoken:] Well, you know everyone’s been thinking it…
You act like we’re an item, Kris, but girl, you’re no great thespian,
And those are some clunky boots you’ve got for a girl who’s not an equestrian,
It’s clear from context and subtext that your character’s really a —
[Greek Chorus] Bart! Come on!

Kristy Thomas, Bossy Bitch: The BSC members discuss how Kristy, while a smart and savvy go-getter, is also a controlling teen tyrant:

  • Sample Lyrics:
Someday she’ll be CEO
Someday she’ll be rich,
Some day she’ll set the world alight,
But right now, Kristy’s a bitch!
 
Kristy will someday be the head
Of a multi-national corporation,
And I’ll just say I knew her when
She was the bitchiest teen in the nation!
 
Kristy could run the FBI!
Kristy could be the president!
But in my heart she’ll always be
Stonybrook’s bitchiest resident.

But that’s just a bit of what The Babysitter’s Club: The Musical has to offer! Check some stage very far from Broadway around 2018 or so to hear these other great selections: JK Rowling, Plagiarist (in which the Pikes file suit for copyright infringement because the Weasleys were obviously based on them), Nobody Likes You, Karen Brewer (Gigundoly Bratty remix), BSC Super Special! (it’s exactly like a regular song but longer and with occasional cursive), and I Know He’s Just a Young Adult Character But I’ve Always Felt Like Logan Bruno’s Probably Really Hot. Continue reading

Gems From the Delia’s Catalog

If you’re products of the 90s like us, you remember that we actually got catalogs in the mail – catalogs that offered clothes, toys and unnecessary items in bulk (Oriental Trading, I’m looking at you). I actually remember hearing my mom order certain clothes through JCPenneys over the phone while she leafed through the pages to make sure she got everything. That’s something kids these days will probably never encounter.

One of my favorite catalogs to receive in the mail (besides the American Girl one) was Delia’s.

delias cover

DeLiA*s (<- which is the proper way to type it) was a clothing and accessory catalog specifically for tweens and teens who were hip and totally into fashion.

While I was neither hip nor into fashion at the time, I still yearned to acquire all the clothes that lay inside the pages of this precious bible of cool.

Fast forward to 2013 and I frankly, am embarrassed that we as a society of young girls ever thought some of these outfit were appropriate. But hey, every generation has that style remorse, right? Here are some of ours…

Tank tops. Tank tops were a thing that people just wore out. Nothing over it, just a tank top. Am I crazy for thinking this should be reserved for sleeping/pajama purposes or undershirts only? These gals need to put more clothes on.

The bucket hat. Oh good LORD the bucket hat. I’m guilty, I had a few of these that I thought looked spectacular on me. I was wrong.

Overalls and camo? Sounds about right – for kids who were actually farmers or went hunting. I can’t believe we ever wore those overall out in public. Like to the mall. Where people you went to school with went.

Remember when dressing like a boy was in? Yeah, I tried this fad. I shouldn’t have.

Wallets with chains available at Delia’s or Hot Topic (if you’re brave enough to go in)

Nevermind the velour long-sleeved shirt and track jacket – why does the caption at the top say “Name that tune – whistle while you work?” Is this secret code for child labor?

Ah yes, the maxi skirt before it became a fashionable maxi skirt. Otherwise known as some genius decided to take the kahki with one million zippers and pockets and make it into a skirt. And then pair it with a sweater, because that’s a good look.

And then the 90s kind of channeled the 60s/70s for a hot sec. You’ll see the pants version of this later…

If you didn’t own a sweater vest you are lying. While I don’t suggest just wearing a cropped sweater vest on its own, pairing a sweater vest with an approved blouse was my go-to for our school uniform in high school.

BANDANAS. I legit owned dozens of these. Why???? Because headbands just weren’t enough? I thought I looked so cool – I even had bedazzled ones. NOT BETTER, TRACE.

Remember those 70s pants I was talking about – yeah bell bottoms were HUGE when we were growing up. Lit’rally huge. Like it made everything below my knee look 10 times bigger.

Of course you have to have the pop star/Britney look. I was obsessed with stars, so those pants would’ve been on my wish list.

Velour and iridescent clothing – a staple of the 90s. Also a little taste of the Chinese trend that swept the nation. I, of course, had to be the Asian girl with the chopsticks in her hair. Whatevs.

“Let’s mix the tank top with velour and a printed pant and stick a girl in a nondescript venue with blue streamers protruding out of the empty hallway.” Delia’s designers

That blue dress is what I still picture in my head when I think of our middle school and high school dances. So much sheer and floral – in the woods, no less!

Were people really into fairies (faeries?) back then or was that just the freaks I hung out with at my middle school?

And let’s not forget our accessories! Platform shoes were all that and a bag of chips. I enjoyed these because it made my short stature look even taller, especially with my bellbottom jeans.

Makeup for 90s girls was all about color and glitter. But why would anyone ever buy makeup from a Delia’s catalog?

IMPORTANT: FREE E-MAIL AND FREE HOMEPAGES?!!?!? Shutting down my Angelfire account right now and starting up again here.

Delia’s was also known for its rando items, especially the inflatable furniture. Did Delia’s think they were the leader in selling inflatable furniture to clueless teens? Yeah, probably.

(In Future Ted’s How I Met Your Mother voice) Kids, it was the summer of 2000. I just came home from Seabreeze (the local amusement park) and I retrieved the Delia’s catalog from the mail. I sat down with my gel pens, drinking my Sunny D and turned on TRL. I filled out that catalog order form, hoping one day – one day, I’d have enough money to buy it all.

What Your School Portrait Backdrop Said About You

Lasers

My brother looking pretty darn 90s.


If you had lasers, you were probably totally rad, in the parlance of the time. You were fashion forward and a bit of a risk taker. Or, you were really into technology, robots, and science. I don’t know why lasers were ever even introduced as a school portrait backdrop, when I think about it. They’re not really relevent to any kid’s experience. “Oh, you know Becky, she just loves shooting lasers!” That’s something no parent ever said. And they weren’t a general, neutral motif, even in the 90s. As an adult, laser portrait kids are probably style pioneers – you favor bright colors and eye catching patterns. At the workplace, you are on the cutting edge and willing to go out on a limb to get noticed. Or, you are really into technology, robots, and science.

Sky

I still remember this picture day. What I do not remember is why my mom thought scraping my bouncy childhood ringlets into a messy ponytail was an OK idea.


Your parents picked your backdrop. You grew up in a traditional household of rules and regulations, and your family stayed away from anything too flashy. Or, the other backdrops all cost extra, and your parents thought that something like unnecessary school portrait scenery was a waste of money. They may have also been very concerned about what your grandparents would think. If you chose the cloud background yourself, you were probably Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties. Today, former sky backdrop kids could go either way. You may have rebelled big time in high school and college, turning to some sort of counterculture that required outfits. I don’t care what — goth, hip hop, extreme country music fandom. It may also be that you kept your family’s values, and prefer a streamlined, tidy look. You try not to draw attention to yourself, and avoid displaying obvious status symbols. And when you have kids, you’re not going to throw your money away on stupid laser backdrops. Or whatever the equivalent of lasers is in the 2010s. One of my nephews could have chosen tie-dye, so maybe that.

Library
Some years, my school offered this weird backdrop that looked like you were in a mahogany study, with bookshelves and a roaring fire. There may have been a Christmas tree with stockings hanging. At the time, this probably meant that your parents wanted a Christmas portrait to send to relatives, but were killing two birds with one stone by making the school picture the Christmas picture. If you chose it, it’s because you wanted people to think you lived in a mahogany-paneled estate. Either way, this translates well as an adult. Either you or your parents knew how to get what you wanted without paying out the ears, be it by combining Christmas and school portrait costs or by faking wealth. Now that you’re an adult, I bet you’re great with budgeting and cost-saving measures. You mix up all of those homemade cleaning ingredients on pinterest and are awesome at refinishing secondhand furniture.

That Gray Marbled Situation

My adorable nephew, who probably would have preferred lasers. Poor guy.


It was the only option your school had. Or your parents were very serious and hated fun and frivolity. Or you, yourself, were very serious and hated fun and frivolity. You probably have a super-serious occupation now, and avoid decorating or dressing in colors. Your 401K is probably bigger than mine.

The Double-You

My cousin, with face obscured because she never asked for this.


This option had mostly been phased out by the time I was a child, but lo and behold, one of my nephews had this done in the past year or so! What happens is this: The main photo is the kid looking head-on into the camera and smiling. Then, superimposed above the kid, is the same child in profile, staring inspirationally into the abyss. These pictures are one of the creepiest things I can think of. First of all, the inspirational profile kid is just a disembodied head. Second, it is just straight-up unsettling to see two of the same person in one frame. Presuming you don’t have an identical twin, I would FREAK OUT if I saw you and your double, standing one above the other. It’s like The Shining or The Poltergeist, or any other movie I watched on TBS and freaked out about for a week. So, who chose this backdrop? I think parents who wanted to be “artistic” or kids who always wanted a twin. The parents who went with the “double-you” option thought their kids were gorgeous, smiling or not. They thought relatives and classmates were missing out if they didn’t see your profile as well as the front of your face. Whichever way you cut it, your parents thought you were a stunner and wanted the world to know it. So where are you now? You might be really stuck on yourself and think you’re just the most attractive person in every room you’re in. You make it a point to angle your head up and to the side in conversation, so that people can get the full effect of your perfect profile. Or, I guess maybe your parents just instilled a high sense of self-esteem in you, and you have that.

Neon Blinds

Other brother, also spectacularly ’90s. I now understand why my dad called me “[brother] in drag” as a child, as I looked EXACTLY like this with long hair. Also, not cool, dad. Not cool.

If you wanted the flash and glitz of lasers, but they were a little too busy, then neon blinds were for you. You were probably fairly up on your trends, with at least somewhat lenient parents. I bet you were cool in high school. What does that mean now? You keep an eye on what’s new and trendy, but that doesn’t mean you follow every fad that comes along. Now that your parents are older, they probably are planning on traveling a lot in retirement, but think more Italy and less Bolivia.

Go Tigers! Bayside High’s Best Teen Actors

If I had to name one TV show that defined my childhood it would be Saved By The Bell. Full House comes in a close second, but Bayside High was, is, and always will be my number one (so expect more posts about this in the future).

I’ve seen every single episode of the series, including the long forgotten Good Morning, Miss Bliss ones. A fun trick I used to be really good at was naming the episode and/or plot based on the first 5 to 10 seconds of the show. I can kinda still do it now, but in my old age, I’ve managed to forget.

So because I’ve seen all the episodes multiple times, I’ve noticed a lot of things most people don’t, including the background characters who showed up throughout the high school years. Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Ollie Creekly

The gravelly voiced black nerd was often seen roaming the halls with his fellow Central Casting extras, but also frequently seen in clubs and committees, along with his fellow geektastic friends.

Herbert the Nerd

Friend of Ollie, geek to all. He was often with the rest of the geek squad, but for some reason, he stuck out because he was just so … on edge all the time. Also, he made the perfect faces that made me wonder why the “geeks” in my school didn’t look exactly like him.

The Twins

Did the twins have names? Probably not. What they did have was matching outfits in every episode. Like as teens, they had to wear the exact same clothes, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to tell that they were twins.

Black Girl

The short black girl, the twins, and other frequent extras that Zack is pretending he is friends with

Ok, she didn’t have a name either. But she was short, black, and always jovial.

Kevin the Robot

Screech had a best friend in Zack, but he also had a best friend in his robot Kevin. Looking back on it, this robot must have cost hundreds of dollars in the 1980s. And did his parents have him specially made? He was a talking robot that was almost life-sized for goodness sake!

Ox

Ox was the token idiot jock who actually first came on the scene with the name of ‘Scud.’ That’s right folks Scud. Needless to say, the big galut lucked out with ‘Ox’.

Alan

You might remember Alan from one of my personal favorite eps, The Prom. He was a part of the prom committee, and suggested that the food for the night consist of all different kinds of cake.

This Guy

I want to say his name is Robert … which is probably incorrect. But he looks like a Robert, no? He looks like he runs wit h the geek crowd, but he was always with the average people, like the twins.

Rod Belding

Here is Rod teaching the teenage boys how to do “CPR.” Cue: HEY HEY HEY WHAT IS GOING ON HERE??

“A building with two beldings and one of them is balding!” Ok, so he was only in one episode but I feel like I need to address him. The kids were surprised to find out that not only did Mr. Belding had a brother, but he had a cool brother. You can call him Rod. Classic 90s Californian with long flowing blond hair and surfer dude attitude. The only problem was that he was a flake. When Rod promised to take the class white water rafting, he warned the kids that he wouldn’t fulfill his promise, and per usual he was right. Always listen to Mr. Belding kids. Always.

Bonus: Scott Wolf

Glee club extraordinaire, Scott Wolf would soon grow up to be an alcoholic in Party of Five and then marry Kelly from Real World: New Orleans IRL.

Eric Dane

RIP Mark Sloan

Also only in one episode, but I only found out it was him like a year ago and it blew my mind. He played Tad (maybe Ted? IDK one of the two) who was an excellent volleyball player and played against our crew when they spent their summer at the Malibu Sands Beach Club. McSteamy dated Stacey Carosi (Leah Remini of King of Queens), but she told him she moved away instead of actually dating him. If only you knew he would grow up to be a smokeshow on Grey’s Anatomy.

Pretty Like It’s 1999: Late 90s Tween Fashions — And Their 2013 Adult Equivalents

Are you a lady in your mid- to late- twenties? If so, congratulations! You were also a tween or young teen in the late ‘90s and early 2000s! Half your life ago you were part of a tween cohort in its golden age. The society that produced the Lost Generation may have been the perfect environment for budding artists and poets, but the tween renaissance of 1997-ish was a cultural tempest, too. There were just more sparkles, is all, and instead of Ernest Hemingway, it produced Lalaine and Aaron Carter. Here are some of the greatest fashion staples of that magnificent era– and a modern adult equivalent that you could actually get away with wearing today.

glitter eyes

1999 tween style: Body glitter. Like so many wholesome children’s and teen’s fashions of the late ‘90s, this was borne of rave culture. But you don’t need to be on ecstasy to enjoy a little sparkle! Body glitter was popular with tweens because it was like makeup for people whose parents wouldn’t let them wear makeup yet. I used to roll glitter across my cheekbones and sweep it over my eyelids, I guess so that people would look at my face more. If you read YM  or Seventeen, you might have learned to apply glitter to your collarbone, to draw the eye to where you hoped your cleavage would eventually come in.

Gold Leaf Eye Makeup

2013 adult style: Metallic eyeshadow. Like roll-on body glitter, this is a fun and glitzy look. Unlike roll-on body glitter, if done properly it will not make you look like you store hallucinogenic drugs in your pacifier necklace. I like the heavy gold-leaf look, but let’s be serious, I cannot figure out how to do it myself. Best to take your advice from YouTube makeup gurus.

Maddy's jeans - front leg

1999 tween style: Embroidered jeans. When I bought these (from Limited Too, naturally), my aunt told me that I should save them because my kids would get a kick out of them someday. Even at 13 I took this as a not-so-subtle suggestion that I looked completely ridiculous.

green pants

2013 adult style: Colored jeans and cords. Listen, I love my colored jeans. I think they’re great. But I also acknowledge that while bright pants can add interest to an outfit, I’ll eventually feel like they looked really stupid. Luckily, I still have plenty of older relatives who will remind me to save my magenta skinny jeans for posterity.

Example of baggy "JNCOs"

1999 tween style: Enormous JNCOs. These were probably your pants of choice if you were really into Korn and Marilyn Manson, or at least were not terrified of them like I was. These were a unisex style: I had a huge crush on a boy in my tween acting/improv classes who wore JNCOs and had a mushroom cut, which is the hairstyle that all of the cute boys voted to adopt by secret ballot in 1995. I never would have worn JNCOs myself, but they probably were really useful because they had pockets, and also if a friend’s pants ripped or were lost, they could climb in one leg and you could climb in the other, and you could share.

j brand cargo pants+cargos

2013 adult style: Skinny cargo pants. With giant pockets and a slim fit, these pants are entirely useless (except in that they cover the fact that you’re naked under your clothes). Like JNCOs, I do not wear these — not because I’m afraid of Marilyn Manson this time, but because an enormous pocket bulging from the hip area is not awesome on me. If you don’t mind adding a couple inches to your legs, width-wise, these are actually pretty cute though.

Sixteen.

1999 tween style: Butterfly clips. These were the best. You would twist back rows of hair from your face, creating a butterfly meadow on the top of your head – the effect was a little more special than a headband and just barely less special than a freakin’ tiara. Of course, you would coordinate your butterfly clips with your outfit, and they were usually a little bit glittery. Theoretically, you could use even more butterfly clips to secure a bun into a fancy updo, if you were into that sort of thing or if you had a mom who did your hair.

Woodland crown-boho headpiece

2013 adult style: Fun hair accessories that don’t look like insects. I wish that I could be more specific, but the fact is, there are a lot of great hair accessories on the market right now. If you were a butterfly clip afficianado because you found it to be a fun and feminine style, you might like a hair flower,[1] especially if your hair is long and wavy. If you admired butterfly clips for their sheer functionality in getting hair out of your face, headbands have been back in for several years and are, in my experience, less painful and less poofy than they used to be.  You can even find them in semi-fascinator styles, thanks I’m sure to Beatrice and Eugenie. If you were one of those girls who created over the top, eye catching styles with your butterfly clips, try a headwrap like this or, because you’re probably pretty good with accessories, a turban. You probably won’t screw it up the way those of us who could barely manage a butterfly-headband would.

1. But if you have a baby, or know some babies socially, please rethink the obligatory baby girl giant head-flower thing. I was a super-bald baby and my mom used to try to make me wear those baby head garters that they sold in the 80s, and I ripped it off every time. I like to think this is because I developed an early sense of when things look absolutely damn foolish.  BACK TO POST