SLIMED: A ’90s Kids’ Choice Awards Retrospective

The Kids’ Choice Awards air this weekend, even though it is 2015. See, the Kids’ Choice Awards – a Nickelodeon awards show where B-list celebrities get doused with green slime – were such a ’90s staple that it’s hard to imagine them continuing after our childhoods ended. It’s like visiting your old elementary school and seeing children using your old classrooms as though they’re just theirs. But time marches on, and so does cable children’s programming – but this time, there’s no Rosie O’Donnell, Jim Carey, or LL Cool J (which, when I think about it… were we children, or a bunch of middle-aged women?) As far as I’m concerned, though, the 90s were the definitive decade of the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

1990

The ’90s didn’t know what they wanted to be yet, so they were still acting like the ’80s. If you’re inclined to think 1990 isn’t that long ago, think again: Back To The Future Part II won Favorite Movie Actor and Actress… yes, a movie set in the “future” that is 2015. Candace Cameron hosted. Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) got slimed, and so did Internet fav Wil Wheaton.

Also, New Kids On The Block were too busy and important to accept their award, but they appeared via satellite, and to kids in 1990, it felt like the future was now.

1991

These awards were hosted by Corin Nemec, a person I hadn’t heard of until right now because I was too young to watch Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Winners included the Simpsons – which I remember being super “edgy” at the time, so my siblings and I were allowed to watch it, but not downstairs (in case someone respectable came over? not sure) – as well as Will Smith and Keshia Knight Pulliam. Maybe it’s just because 1991 is one of the first years I can really remember any pop culture stuff from, but the rest of the winners hold up surprisingly well over time: Home Alone, Kindergarten Cop, Michael Jordan, and Pretty Woman.

1992

90s kids, now’s when you should really start paying attention: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Robin Williams in Hook. Doug. Roseanne. Sonic the Hedgehog. In my neon-tinted memories, the 1992 Kids’ Choice Awards are how I remember the early ’90s. Elsewhere in the world the Gulf War was raging, grunge was in its meteoric rise into the mainstream, and the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill saga cast a pall over the upcoming presidential election. But it was 1992, and all us kids wanted was to consume Cheeetos, Pop-Tarts and Ecto Cooler in our stirrup pants while shooting scrunchies at our siblings and watching people get slimed.

So it’s no surprise that when 1992 kids were asked to make a time capsule, it looked like this:

1993

Do you have any of those shows or movies that you remember, but nobody else really does? For me, one of those shows is Roundhouse, an ensemble sketch show that I was obsessed with. Well, the cast of Roundhouse performed at the ’93 Kids’ Choice Awards, so suck it, everyone! They really made it big! The awards were hosted by select cast members of 90210, remarkable because I didn’t know any kids in 1993 who were allowed to watch 90210.

If the 1993 Kids’ Choice Awards exemplify one thing, it’s the love affair mainstream America was having with hip hop and R&B. Fresh Prince was a TV show nominee, Ice Cube was a nominated actor, and Kris Kross won for favorite male group (other musical nominees: Boyz II Men, En Vogue, TLC and MC Hammer). We may be the first generation to grow up with computers, but we’re also the first generation to grow up with hip hop targeted specifically toward children.

The three little blonde boys from Home Improvement got slimed, including a pre-Tiger Beat JTT.

1994

Candace Cameron was BACK in 1994 – no holding Deej Tanner down! So was Joey Lawrence. 1994 was really the year that tiny North American children all turned into middle-aged women. Winners, nominees, and slime-ees included Home Improvement, Whitney Houston, Mrs. Doubtfire, Sister Act II, and Nancy Kerrigan. Michael Jordan won favorite male athlete for the millionth time, which makes me wonder if he was the only male athlete we had all heard of. I’m also pretty sure this was smack in the middle of that one time he “retired” for a minute and my brother melodramatically took down the framed Jordan poster from his wall, so it’s pretty amazing he was still a contender. I guess because he was pretending to be a baseball player at the time.

Anyway, in 1994 us kids were all what they called “normcore” in trend pieces written in mid-2014. Our favorite video game was Super Mario World and our favorite sports team was the Dallas Cowboys. We liked Tim Allen and Aerosmith. In that weird transitional era between the neon-tinged 80s-like early 90s, the grungy early-mid 90s, and the shiny Clueless phase, we were all the human version of plaid couches.

1995

Nobody believes me when I say this, but kids in the 90s were allowed to watch stuff that would never fly in 2015. I’m sure there are some permissive parents now, but even television specifically geared towards kids had nuclear spills (Alex Mack) and ghosts (Are You Afraid Of The Dark). Evidence of this: Kids’ Choice nominees in 1995 included Living Single, Roseanne, Speed, Forrest Gump, and Married…. With Children. And yet, the winner was still The Lion King, which is unsurprising to those of us who can remember the phenomenon.

This whole show is on Youtube, and if you either want to relive the mid-90s, or are a teen who was, at best, a baby at the time, you should watch it. With all respect to the 1992 Kids’ Choice time capsule, it is the ultimate 90s kids’ time capsule. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen won as favorite movie actress, but it kind of doesn’t seem fair because the two of them only added up to one actress. Tia and Tamera won favorite TV actress, so just a reminder, we were all a bit obsessed with twins back then.

1997

Was everyone’s mom secretly voting on their behalf? SPIN CITY, guys. Spin City was nominated. So was One Fine Day and The Preacher’s Wife. Our favorite song was the Fugees’ cover of Killing Me Softly, so at least we got that right.

Also, check out beautiful, innocent baby Amanda Bynes in the video clip above.

1998

If 1994 – 1996 was the era of the moms, 1998 was when youth culture took back the early evening. Titanic was our favorite movie – was there even a question? – and I’m sure I called in from my family’s wall phone to vote for it. Jonathan Taylor Thomas won his rightful place as favorite TV actor, and our favorite musical group was Hanson. I’m sure they just barely edged out Spice Girls. As it should be, Salem from Sabrina The Teenage Witch was the top animal star. By 1998, you were probably watching with your baby barrettes holding back the bangs you were growing out to look more like Rose Dewitt Bukater Dawson and taking notes with your pen with a giant feather puff on top. If you were really, really lucky, maybe you’d see an article about the Kids’ Choice Awards on the AOL homepage the next time you visited your aunt who had the internet.

This happened, and it remains the most 1998 thing I’ve ever seen:

Also, this:

1999

By 1999, we had made our full journey through the 90s, from almost-80s to grunge to normcore to the teen pop takeover. The 1999 awards were all boy bands, Delia*s-inspired fashion, and earnest optimism. Our favorite book was Chicken Soup For The Soul, for goodness sakes. Our favorite actors were Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, and all was right with the world. We couldn’t imagine a life beyond the 90s – no, literally, my memories begin around 1990, so anything else was unfathomable to me. But really, what more did we need?

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Reasons I Failed To Successfully Live Blog “Twitches”

It’s October, and around here, October means live blogging low-budget children’s Halloween movies. Or, usually it does. For the following reasons, I sat down to live blog Twitches, a DCOM (that’s a Disney Channel Original Movie for you adult-acting grownups out there) starring Tia and Tamera Mowry as teenaged twin witches, but just could not finish the job:

1. I Didn’t Know There Would Be Tia And Tamera

Look, I’m not the best at vetting crappy tween movies before I watch them. And by “not the best,” I mean the actual worst. As in, when we went to From Justin To Kelly circa 2003, I didn’t realize that it would be a full musical.

idiot.

It’s been a decade, but I still can’t believe that that was a theatrical release. It wouldn’t even have made a good TV movie. It seems like something the counselors would write for the show at the end of summer camp, but at like a decidedly non-performing-arts-y summer camp.

Anyway, I didn’t know that the Mowry twins would be in this, and I spent the first 10 minutes or so trying to see if I could decide which was which. Disney gave one straight hair and one curly hair, which was nice, and their genetic code gave one a mole and one no mole, which is even nicer, but still.

I Googled it later, by the way. Tamera. Tamera has the mole. Tamera is also the reason that I spent my entire childhood mispronouncing the name “Tamara.”

2. Then, I got ticked because they couldn’t even find a new way for Tia and Tamera to meet each other

Please, don’t think I’m the kind of person who hates Tia and Tamera Mowry. I did watch Sister, Sister. I’m not a monster.  And I clearly remember the two girls meeting while trying on clothes in a department store. And it happened again here! Come on, Disney. Give the gals something else to work with. Even Lindsay Lohan got to meet her twin at summer camp. Heck, I met my long-lost lookalike cousin at a family reunion. There’s more than one way to find out you have a double out there. Orphan Black has found like 10 ways. Lazy.

If you didn’t have that hat, you were nothing.

3. The Outfits Were Too… Too

I didn’t see this movie when it first came out. It’s not that I was watching highbrow television in 2005. I hadn’t even grown out of children’s entertainment about twins:  I remember watching an old Mary Kate And Ashley dance party VHS while pregaming to go out around that time.  I just missed this one. While it’s tempting to feel like 2005 was mere moments ago, it was almost a decade in the past and we don’t dress like this anymore:

Although, did anyone dress like that, ever?

The mid-2000s fashions were too much for me. But the Disney Channel had its own sparkly, sequiny velour-ful take on 2005 style that is frankly an assault on both the eyeballs and good taste.

4. Everyone In This Movie  Is Too Accepting Of Magic, Secret Twins, Etc.

It’s a children’s Halloween movie, and I can suspend disbelief. But would it be too much to have the characters be a little shocked to find that they’re secret twins with special powers? Harry Potter was like “WTF is this owl about” and even that girl from Halloweentown was a little confused. I’m just asking for 2 minutes of incredulity.

APPROPRIATE REACTION —>

5. What Sort Of 21st Birthday Is That??

I guess finding your secret twin could derail your plans, but whose 21st birthday was that tame? I can’t remember mine all the way but I’m sure it was more fun than that. In all fairness they did talk about a party that the rich Mowry was going to have (Tiamera? Tameria?) but I quit by that point.

6. Wait. Who Are Those Adults?

While I was taking notes on the outfits, this guy Karsh starts showing up. He’s magic and looks like the human version of a fancy dog. And he brought his bestie Ileana, a woman with flipped-out hair who dresses like Tara from Buffy. They’re boring.

7. Sudafed Sleep

Yesterday I took Sudafed for some sinus stuff, and I was awake every half hour that night. I was at least interested in what my sleep graph would look like on my Fitbit… but my sleep was so restless that I had ripped it from my person and flung it onto a faraway throw pillow at some point in the night.

So by the time Twitches aired, my Sudafed-speed-meth energy had worn out and I was just a tired lady with congested nasal passages.

8. Frankly, I Just Didn’t Get That Into It

After 45 minutes or so, I completely gave up. It didn’t have the 90s nostalgia value, or the all-star cast, of Hocus Pocus. It didn’t have the low-budget childish silliness of Halloweentown. It was starring grown adults, which seems a bit weird for a Disney movie.

I really did sort-of try to live blog Twitches. But you know what they say about trying: it’s the number one cause of failure.