From Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s matching denim-on-denim moment (#NeverForget), to “Friends,” “Clueless,” and the beginning of the magical “Harry Potter” series, the ’90s was a decade rife with unforgettable moments in pop culture.
If you’re an older millennial, you’ll recall most of these — and even if you’re not, some have made a glorious comeback in recent years (hey, I’m looking at you, Lisa Frank and Nickelodeon). Keep reading for some of the most memorable pop culture moments from the 1990s.
The Y2K Bug
The late ’90s, especially — and obviously the last year of the decade — was a time primed for an intense and nationwide bout of Y2K hysteria. The “Y2K bug,” also known as the Millennium bug or simply Y2K, was a class of computer bugs related to the storage of calendar data for dates beginning in the year 2000.
So of course, society was under the apocalyptic assumption that this would cause computers to spontaneously combust and self-destruct, and the world would end. Don’t ask me, it was the ’90s — and I personally remember the paranoia. “Millennium madness” was v v real, although Gen-Z and some younger millennials will never know just how bad it got!
The Tamagotchi Craze
If you didn’t accidentally kill your poor, undeserving, totally malnourished Tamagotchi pet every week, who even were you?
Honestly, in retrospect, I really wish I wouldn’t have ripped the tags off of every single one of my Beanie Babies growing up. I’d definitely be sitting on a small eBay fortune by now.
Okay, so Spice Girls was — and still is — one of my all-time favorite girl bands, at least when it comes to pop music. But Aqua was up there too for a hot minute. And who could forget the success of Destiny’s Child that came before Beyonce’s solo career? Certainly not I.
We can’t have a conversation about girl bands without talking about boy bands, too, now can we? And there’s no doubt about it, this cultural and musical trend was a worldwide one. It’s one that had significant ramifications for pre-teen and teenage girls everywhere. More specifically, for the walls of their luridly painted rooms, on which they hung poster after poster of the members of NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Ahem. Not that I ever did that…
Arguably, this was the beginning of the now-formulaic sitcom revolving around a group of, you guessed it, friends, living, dating, and just all-around existing in an unrealistically attractive fashion within a big city. Oh, yeah, and frequenting a singular cafe in all of NYC, called — what else? — Central Perk.
But when “Friends” first aired in September ’94, how was anyone to know just how wildly successful it would become — and remain, if the continued frequency of reruns can tell us anything over two decades later? *cue theme song*
‘Ugh! As If!’
Where would we be without “Clueless,” I ask you? Well, for one thing, we’d be missing out on the recent resurgence of yellow matching plaid sets, for Halloween and otherwise. And that would be a damn travesty.
With its recent revival of classic cartoon programs like “Rugrats,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “Hey! Arnold,” and more on streaming service known as Nicksplat, let’s just say our favorite kids’ shows from the ’90s are back. And it’s giving us all kinds of feelings, TBH.
Bratz Dolls And Furbies
Although the ’90s version of Bratz dolls reinforced the normalization of a certain body type (re: bobble head and tiny body — hugely unrealistic for most young girls, and unhealthy-looking besides), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t much prefer them to Furbies. Ugh. Still makes me shudder to think of their creepy eyes, not to mention the proclivity for coming alive in the dead of night and babbling randomly from the closet where I’d buried mine long ago.
Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears
Go on, name a more iconic ’90s celeb couple moment than Brit and JT serving matching Canadian tuxedoes on the red carpet. We’ll wait.