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Tag: I Remember When It Used To Cost A Nickel (31-40 of 89)

Did, did, did, did you have it? 'GUTS', that is! And if so, which challenge could you have dominated?

When I found out I’d be writing about GUTS for our ongoing 90’s retrospectives series, the first question I asked my peers was “Would you have rather been on GUTS or Legends of the Hidden Temple?” While there was still a fondness for Nickelodeon’s other sporting competition series, not to mention the ongoing heated debates about which team was best (It was the Purple Parrots, duh!), the answer was still, almost unanimously: GUTS!

The reasoning behind this is quite simple, really. For as much fun as Legends looked, it was a game based solely on chance, rather than skill. No matter how good you were in Legends, you could randomly be attacked by the Guards at any given moment, bringing a swift, and arguably, very unfair end to your game. When it came to GUTS, however, it really came down to your physical capabilities in some trying obstacle courses. It was, as many will point out, a kiddie version of American Gladiators, only this didn’t have anyone running around in a hamster ball, nor did it have anyone named Laser or Nitro or Zap. (Advantage: Gladiators.) READ FULL STORY

'Blossom': That girl was like, 'Whoooooa!'

In my opinionation, the early ’90s were a great time to be a girl. On television, tweens had Clarissa as a guide, teens looked to Blossom, and Murphy Brown provided a blueprint for the professional-to-be in all of us. Perhaps more than any of her contemporaries, though, Blossom Russo (Mayim Bialik) represented the complete package. She was a role model who was still relatable. She could tear it up on the dance floor and had an eye for funky fashion. Even amid personal struggles and rebellious patches, she always managed to work out her differences with friends and family. (And did I mention she had a super-hot — if not entirely bright — brother?) Whether tap dancing on a piano or getting nip silly on a school band trip, Blossom captured the entire spectrum of the shift from girlhood to womanhood.  READ FULL STORY

'Step By Step': Remembering the TGIF mainstay, and its increasingly attractive cast

As a young teenager, I tuned into Step By Step every single week. And when the series — a 1990s version of The Brady Bunch — became syndicated, I watched the show every single day after I returned from school. But despite having dedicated countless hours of my life to the Lambert-Fosters, I must admit: With the exception of a fuzzy memory involving Carol’s beauty salon being burned down, I cannot recall one single episode of Step By Step.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t remember the Lambert-Fosters. Rather, I spent far too much time thinking about the fictional family. Yes, Carol (Suzanne Somers) and Frank (Patrick Duffy) were great headliners for the series, but for any fan of ABC’s TGIF, Step By Step was all about the kids. And I desperately wanted to be Dana (Staci Keanan). READ FULL STORY

How 'The Secret World of Alex Mack' anticipated everything from 'Buffy' to 'Harry Potter'

It’s not that I don’t understand all the love for Clarissa Explains It All. Melissa Joan Hart’s Clarissa was simultaneously a smarmy misfit and a lovable everykid; in some ways, she resembles an almost perfect combination of Linus and Lucy from Peanuts. But when I cast my mind back to my SNICK days, my heart will always belong to that other proto-hipster faintly-tomboyish cool Nick chick. I’m speaking, of course, of Larisa Oleynik’s Alex Mack, star of The Secret World of Alex Mack. READ FULL STORY

'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air': A tribute to the series that launched Will Smith

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became obsessed with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Really, seriously obsessed. And, strangely enough, not until recently. Sure, I caught the show every once in awhile in the 1990s. But I never fully appreciated it until I was much older — and aware about Will Smith’s status as a superstar.

Prior to revisiting Fresh Prince a few years back, thanks to those TBS reruns, I never could call myself a fan of the multi-camera sitcom. Most series in the genre were dated, predictable, and less funny than Hillary’s boyfriend Trevor. So when I flipped on a rerun of Fresh Prince a few years back, I was surprised how much Fresh Prince distanced itself from other sitcoms of its era. The wardrobe might have represented the worst of the ’90s, but the series still felt, well, fresh. The show took risks, going bluer than most sitcoms aimed at a family-friendly audience. And, most importantly, it was knock-down, drag-out funny. READ FULL STORY

'Home Improvement': Celebrating the heartwarming series... and, of course, JTT

There was one very attractive reason I watched Home Improvement every week as a child. Say it with me: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The Justin Bieber of the ’90s, JTT was talented, well-coiffed, and completely non-threatening, even though parents would be petrified knowing what pre-teens daydreamed about the young actor. When Home Improvement hit its stride in the mid-’90s, I hit the age in which boys were suddenly attractive, but still verboten enough to make any crush extremely embarrassing. So I used to admire JTT secretly. When no one was looking, I’d pick up the teen magazine at our grocery store to find out what JTT looked for in a girlfriend. My parents would cheer on my refined movie tastes at our local Hollywood Video, watching me appear interested in Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys when, really, I was just lingering in the “T” section of new releases to stare at JTT on the Tom and Huck VHS box. I soon discovered, however, that there was a much easier, far less embarrassing way to get my JTT fix: Tuning into Home Improvement.

Watching Home Improvement as an adolescent gave me a completely inaccurate crash course in boys: First off, they would only do household chores if it involved blowing things up, which, in real life, pretty much means never, so men are terrible. Second, they love plaid. And third, there are only three types of boys you could choose from: The Brute (Brad), the Brains (Randy), and the Awkward One Who Gets Married At 17 And Is Kind of Creepy (Mark). But as soon as I moved on from JTT to Nick Lachey, I began to enjoy Home Improvement for more than just its young eye candy. READ FULL STORY

Camp Anawanna, we hold you in our hearts: A sleepaway camp veteran's salute to 'Salute Your Shorts'


Salute Your Shorts was like The Breakfast Club of ’90s Nickelodeon. You had a brain (Sponge), an athlete (Telly), a basket case (Z.Z.), a princess (Dina) and a criminal (Budnick). Ug stood in as the irascible Dick Vernon. And as for Donkeylips… well… what kids’ show doesn’t need a character named Donkeylips? As fate would have it, I started going to camp the summer before Salute Your Shorts premiered on Nickelodeon. For two of my 10 years at camp, I was even a counselor. So I wondered: Looking at it from both sides now, how does the show stack up? READ FULL STORY

'Saved By the Bell': We're so excited... to revisit the classic teen series

We all loved Zack Morris. That scheming smile. His blond-streaked hair. His penchant for color blocking. And, of course, that rad, cutting-edge cell phone. In the minds of all children of the ’90s, the only way to be cuter and cooler than Zack Morris was to be named Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But since I began watching TBS’ Saved By the Bell reruns about a year back, I’ve grown to develop a deeper appreciation for its less heralded characters. There’s Slater, the dimpled army transplant with a soft spot for strong women. There’s Jessie, the caffeine pill-popping feminist who still takes advantage of any opportunity to wear a revealing outfit in front of the boys. There’s Lisa, the spoiled yet mature fashionista who’s just way too big for Bayside. There’s Screech, the squeaky shrimp that’s so insecure, you kind of believe that he would grow up to make a sex tape. There’s Kelly, who’s a bit like a manila envelope — but the hottest manila envelope ever. And, of course, Mr. Belding, the authority figure so desperate to recapture his youth that he puts a little too much “pal” in “principal.” (Remember that episode when Mr. Belding, having trouble with his wife, came to hang out with Zack and the boys in Zack’s room?!) Sure, Zack might be the coolest character of Saved By the Bell, but the fact that a kids’ show managed to deliver such disparate, multi-layered personalities is a feat unto its own. There was a character everyone could identify with, and not just on a Breakfast Club-esque jock/brain/basket case level. Many of us grew up with the Bayside clan — during the show’s four-season run, we were able to watch our own personalities mature as theirs developed.

Not that we should take Saved By the Bell too seriously. When it comes down to it, Saved By the Bell is just a terrible series book-ended by two horrendous series. READ FULL STORY

'The Nanny': Who had the best zingers, Fran or Niles?

It drives me nuts that when most people think of The Nanny, the only thing that comes to mind is That Voice: Fran Drescher’s straight-outta-Queens whine that could turn a simple “Mr. Sheffield” into a four-syllable assault on the human ear. It was a genius bit of shtick, but it also ended up being the show’s Achilles’ heel, giving critics and armchair snobs an easy excuse to write off The Nanny as a shrill and pandering bit of comic fluff.

To everybody out there who still holds that opinion, I forgive you. I was you. READ FULL STORY

Hillside 101: 15 lessons from 'Fifteen' now and then


When Fifteen (known in its native Canada as Hillside) hit Nickelodeon’s airwaves in 1990, I was all agog to learn the ropes of adolescence before the real deal came along. From the minute that killer synthesized credit sequence came on, I was hooked on this 30-minute textbook of teenage life that addressed tough-as-nails issues like divorce, alcoholism, and the shark-infested waters of teen dating. (Remember, we didn’t have Degrassi: The Next Generation back then — though its forebear Degrassi Junior High was a nice companion piece for Fifteen).

So what did I learn about almost-adulthood from Fifteen? How well have those lessons held up? And how does Ryan Reynolds factor in? Click through for the 15 takeaways my seven-year-old mind learned from  Dylan, Billy, Matt, Ashley, Brooke, and the gang; plus how they stacked up against my real world experience nearly 20 years later. READ FULL STORY

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