Flipping through back issues of teen magazines got me thinking about other aspects of my formative years. Particularly, the television shows I watched. Growing up, I remember reading an issue of YM while waiting for SNICK to start on a Saturday night. I wondered what kind of television shows are currently geared toward tweens and teens.
I perused a few channels and was astonished over how many shows created for this age group contained sexual undertones, inappropriate humor or were just…really dumb. There is currently this weird dichotomy of overloading while coddling. Kids have more access to information than ever before and are presented with issues like they’re adults but are simultaneously the most sheltered that they have ever been. Tag is now banned on the playground but leaving a child unattended with an unrestricted YouTube account and an iPad is the new normal.
There doesn’t appear to be a balance between addressing coming-of-age subject matter without it being extremely heavy or mind-numbing. As someone who loves nostalgia and has a tendency to wish they were born in a different decade, I was really lucky to grow up watching Nickelodeon during its golden era of the 1990s.
I realized that Clarissa Darling was the best role model I could have had as a tween. In hindsight, she was also really cool. She played video games and was smart and witty. She also had a unique sense of style. In retrospect, with her mismatched prints and thick -framed glasses, was Clarissa the original hipster? She dressed appropriately for her age too. Her clothes weren’t too tight or ill-fitting and her face wasn’t covered in layers of make-up. It would be years before I would become an Art History major but I love how much Nickelodeon embraced the work of Keith Haring.
The subject matter was relevant and presented in a way that was ideal for its audience. Melissa Joan Hart was easy to relate to because she looked like a normal teenage girl. Clarissa and Sam were your quintessential American teenagers. I miss shows that taught morals but remained apolitical. I am amused now that the parents were reformed hippies but supported their son who idolized Republicans. Ugh, I miss the civility of the 1990s. When did every issue become so intense and everyone became so insane?
What were your favorite shows of the 1990s? What do you miss about this bygone era?
Feel free to send me a DM on IG @reinesoleillesoin