2010 marked the end of the Toy Story franchise. 90's kids (and possibly their parents) pushed small children out of the way at theaters to get tickets and wiped their teary eyes as Woody said "so long, partner" to not only Andy, but our childhood years as well. No more would there be Buzz, Woody, and Jessie riding (or flying) around saving the day. For a couple short hours we were transported back to yesteryear and the days of begging to see Toy Story in theaters and then, as Andy went off to college, hit with the sudden realization that we had grown up. We're adults now. This is it.
And then the next year, 2011 marked the release of Harry Potter 7, Part 2. The Harry Potter phenomenon marked a generation that avid HP fans call "the Harry Potter generation". JK Rowling wrote books so marvelous that they filled our heads full of wonder and possibilities, then went on to inspire a film series that was so amazing that the release of the final film was a televised national event that left viewers the world over in tears. I personally grew up with the books and the movies and when I saw "HP 8" and it was over I was so upset. Another moment where I realized that I was now a grown up hit me. My childhood, everything I grew up as a girl is basically ending.
So now, after this lengthy opening, I would like to make a list of things that I remember from childhood that made being a kid born in the 90's so cool. Also, just to make this a little bit more interesting, and in an effort to be semi-informative, I will also reveal the year things went downhill for that thing. We're growing up kids, which definitely sucks.
- First and most obviously - VHS Tapes. Remember when those things used to get messed up or even worse, the VCR would "eat" the tape and you would have to use your finger to wind them back up? You could even accidentally record over some things if you weren't careful. They lost popularity after 2000 and in 2006 production was stopped altogether.
- M.A.S.H. Anyone remember that? M.A.S.H. was the fortune telling game of our youth. I knew that I would live in a mansion with Jesse McCartney and drive a Mercedes by the time I was in the fifth grade. I'm sure this game still exists, but let's be real, after 7th grade it was dead.
- Saturday Morning Cartoons! Now kids just kind of watch cartoons on television every morning, but not in the super cool way we had it. Where abc1 literally had hours of cartoons and cartoons only on their network every Saturday morning. And the cartoons were actually worth watching. While One Saturday Morning officially ended in 2011, let's not kid ourselves. It stopped being quality entertainment in right around 2004.
- Trapper Keepers. Remember those things? I usually called them binders, but they weren't allowed in most elementary schools. The first thing I got for middle school? A trapper keeper. They were SO HANDY! And also, they had cool pictures on them and you could hide stuff in them and there was the one child who inevitably would open theirs and all its guts would fall out. That might just be a high school reminiscing thing. As far as I know, Trapper Keepers are still being made.
- Macarena. Enough said. It's no longer done at most dances.
- In West Philadelphia born and raised....you should know the rest. Because Fresh Prince was one of the best byproducts of the 90's as far as I'm concerned. The comedy, the relate-ability (now that we're all old enough to relate to most of it) and Will Smith in general made this show a hit. When did it end? 1996. I was three. But thanks to re-runs I've enjoyed this show more and more as the years have progressed.
- Beanie Babies. Do people still go nuts over those? The original line stopped being produced in 1999 but because they were so popular, production began again in 2000. I had a friend who brought a different Beanie Baby to school every single day. That's at least 180 different Beanies that she owned. That's what I call a craze.
- Remember Tamagotchis? Who doesn't? Okay well lets of people probably don't. But for some reason there was an appeal to raising something in your pocket and making it sure it stayed alive. Mine did not. According to my research these toys are still produced in at least Japan, where they originated and there are several games (and apps!) that can bring all that joy of childhood back to your pocket where it belongs.
- Slap Bracelets. How many times did I get injured from slapping my wrist with a slap bracelet too hard? The limit does not exist. Because of excessive injuries due to slapping too hard, slap bracelets were banned in most school districts and declined in popularity after around 2000.
- Mary Kate and Ashley as adorable small children. In fact most child stars from our generation. Who else do I miss? Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, and Raven Symone (although her show become popular in the early 2000's). The end of an era came around 2004 with most of them. Now they are either drug addicts or have faded into obscurity.
- Bill Nye and The Magic School Bus. Becoming educated used to be a lot more fun. Especially when cartoons were allowed in school. Bill Nye stopped making educational films in 1998 but they are still used in quite a few classrooms today. Magic School Bus ended in 1997 but continued to play on television and in classrooms for quite a while after that.
- Boy Meets World. Life lessons learned. I used to miss Cory and Topanga and Feeny but then I heard and watched as it was confirmed that Girl Meets World, a spin off about Cory and Topanga's daughter would soon be airing. That's all.
- Hey Arnold, Recess, Full House, The Powerpuff Girls, Sister, Sister, Kim Possible....I could go on for hours. What happened to good cartoons? Maybe I just got too old and stopped caring for them. Although I will never be too old for Full House, which ended in 1995 after 192 episodes and 24 seasons.
- I was going to list Furby here but then remembered that Furby is the spawn of Satan and that they have recently been retooled to be sold to the new generation. Keep your exorcist on call, friends.
- Easy Bake Oven. They still make them, but for some reason it is no longer acceptable for a 20 year old to insist on making all her dessert in one.
- Boy Bands. Like N-Sync and The Backstreet Boys. Guilty pleasures. I cannot lie, on more than one occasion I have spotifyed my favorite childhood boys just to hear those soulful (hahaha) tunes once more.
- Carmen Sandiego. Who has yet to be found. I mean, she constituted a part of my childhood and still there's this nagging cliff-hanger. Where is she?
- Dial up internet. Remember when you could call people and it would ruin the internet in the whole house for them? Ah. Good times. I don't know when that ended, but thank God it did.
- Gusher commercials where people's heads exploded. I was terrified as a child that upon eating those things I too, would explode. I'm glad I got over that.
- Skip-Its. Every girl at recess, and I mean EVERY girl had a skip-it except for me for most of the year. And we would use them to have contests to see who could go the longest. Skip-Its, the lonely girls jump rope (which is already a single person toy...) were discontinued in 2009.
- My childhood. It officially ended on my 18th birthday back in 2011, but I still carry that childish butterfly clip wearing, lip smacking, Kidz Bop (album 3!) obsessed little girl in my heart.
Childhood isn't over until you decide, and for some reason I've decided to prolong mine at least until the end of Monsters University. Who knows, maybe I'll put off accepting my adulthood even longer, no one knows.