90’s Nostalgia Through Internet Lens

90s Nostalgia

Saved By TheBell

TORONTO, CANADA — I grew up with Cory Matthews, had a crush on Zack Morris, know all the words of The Fresh Prince of Bell Air theme song, felt like I was friends with Monica, Rachel and Phoebe, learned from Bill Nye and was under the spell of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I was, and still am, a 90’s kid. National Geographic Channel’s three-part documentary asks in its title, The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? I do not know if I would go that far, but I would agree that the 90’s are a decade that has stuck.

Given the fact that the 90’s do not seem all that long ago, its associated nostalgia seems almost surprising. However, the kids of the 90’s are now the Internet generation. We can access all of our fond memories of television, film, music and fashion, through memes and articles geared towards the generation that utilises gifs and Internet lingo for comprehension. This is most prevalent through Buzzfeed. The website has published, and continues to publish, an amalgamation of stories that allows readers to trip back into their childhood. I, and the kids of my generation, flock to 90’s lists like 15 Things From The ’90s That You’ll Never Experience Again that are comprehensive and transport the 90’s generation back to “easier times.” Megan Garber wrote for The Atlantic:

Social networks in general, you could argue, are implicitly—preemptively—nostalgic, combining our pasts and our presences into a unified experience.

90s Nostalgia

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Although I have binge watched and worshipped Orange is The New Black and Breaking Bad, the 90’s shows have a special place in my heart. The memory of watching Saved By the Bell in the morning before school is only amplified by Internet pieces like Ranking Saved By The Bell’s Zack Morris’ Love Interests. It is not rare for me to revisit these shows online and remind myself of the time when I first watched them. I remember watching Ryan Murphy’s Popular way past my bedtime, to my parents chagrin. I can now stream the theme songs of all my favourite shows on YouTube, and can find gifs of my favourite one-liners on Tumblr. I relive these shows through Netflix, YouTube and the many other media sharing platforms available to us.

With television and film come the soundtracks they will always be associated with. These soundtracks are as much as a throw back to the 90’s as the shows they belong to. I will always correlate “I’m So Excited” with Jessie Spano’s caffeine pill addiction, and Dawson Creek’s theme “Collide” will always be an extremely emotional song. Music streaming sites like 8Tracks indulge this nostalgia through user made playlists like Forever a 90’s Kid that boasts TLC, Christine Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, No Doubt and other 90’s acts that remain in our hearts because of its easy accessibility today. Not to mention, there was an abundance of songs that would otherwise be considered “odd” like Eye Joe and The Hamster Dance that were ingrained in our heads with the accompanying dances. These songs also find their way onto these playlists.

Tumblr is crawling with gifs of the Carlton dance and Joey Tribbiani’s quips, Facebook timelines are full of Buzzfeed’s 90’s lists and YouTube users make endless 90’s hits playlists. For 90’s kids, our childhood is on the Internet to relive to fill any nostalgic void. Even outside the internet, With Seinfeld’s 25th anniversary and constant questions revolving around feature films from our favourite 90’s shows (A Will & Grace film anyone?), people have plenty of opportunities to take a stroll down memory lane. After all, Lifetime is producing a Saved By The Bell biographical film that is sure to make us feel some sort of feeling, that feeling, however, is undecided at this point.

Still, film, television and music are not the only elements of the 90’s that have resurfaced. Travel to your nearest American Apparel or Urban Outfitters for looks that strongly resemble the trends of the time period. It really seems as though the 90’s is more relevant than ever before. It does, however, seems to be felt by many that only so much nostalgia can be connected to a time period that does not seem so long ago, and that the Internet is more to blame than a helpful aid. There is no question that the current technology has redefined nostalgia and how memories are revisited and felt, but has this been in a positive or negative way?

90s Nostalgia


Brittany Goldfield Rodrigues About the author

A journalism student in Toronto whose passions include writing, theatre, literature and film. You can read more of her work on Fashionotes.com, ANDPOP, YoungAdultMag.com, and BroadwayWorld.com.