As a closet Chuck Klosterman fan, I’ve long been partaking in 90s nostalgia. But it seems to have finally gone mainstream. And I don’t think it’s going to go away any time, soon.
What else are we to make of a (not-so-terribly-funny) Seinfeld reunion and a Full House commercial during the Super Bowl? And as Will Rahn and John Hanlon reminded me today (listen to our podcast discussion here!), we can soon expect a Boy Meets World spin-off and a Point Break remake.
Throw in the fact that we are in the process remaking the Clinton presidency, and we’ve got a pretty serious 90s revival on our hands.
In a way, this makes perfect sense. Everything changed on September 11, 2001, leaving our innocence and optimism about a post-cold war world hermetically sealed somewhere around the turn of the century. Sure, some of the seeds for that might have been sown during the Clinton years, but we didn’t know that at the time. It sure felt like a a lot of peace and prosperity.
For anyone yearning to return to the halcyon days of the late 20th century (or just to exploit it for marketing or political reasons) — this is fertile territory.
There’s also this: As Hanlon reminds me, the 90s revival also has something to do with the fact that the children of the 90s have finally arrived at a point where we can foist our pop culture on the rest of the world.
For a while, I didn’t think we would get to seek our revenge on previous generations. As Steven Hyden noted at Grantland:
“I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, when baby boomers had their run memorializing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the game-changing brilliance of All in the Family with countless Time magazine covers and major TV network retrospectives. I assumed something similar would happen for the MTV debut of ‘November Rain’ and the revolutionary competence of ABC’s TGIF lineup. And I guess that did happen, sort of. Arsenio Hall has a talk show again. Ed Kowalczyk is still putting out solo records. My people allowed these things to happen. But the world has changed.
By the time my generation had its hand on the controls, the media power structure was diminished. Now we can’t force kids to watch our nostalgia fests.
Except, we can. It turns out Hyden might have been a bit pessimistic. The Super Bowl is the last communal experience we have left, and we took that opportunity to force-feed everyone in the nation a heaping helping of 90s nostalgia.
And since politics is downstream from culture — whether it’s Hillary or Jeb — it looks like we’re going to party like it’s 1999.