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Social media sites like Buzzfeed and Facebook suggest there are “only things that true ‘90s kids would know.” This year’s freshmen are currently the only students in the school who were not born in the ‘90s. Although the students from the three other classes were born in the ‘90s, even these students find it difficult to identify with that decade.
When asked about their thoughts on the ‘90s, many students had trouble commenting, as they were too young to remember anything significant about this era. The associations that students made with the ‘90s often corresponded with different decades.
Senior Kevin Jiang said, “There were a lot of shows like Pokémon, Digimon and Scooby Doo and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Although most of these TV shows were broadcasted in the late ‘90s, shows like Pokémon and Digimon only peaked in the 2000s. Scooby Doo first aired in the ‘70s.
Similarly, freshman Jane Kim named a beloved childhood TV show as a ‘90s show that invovled “the grandma and the pink dog.” The show she was referring to was Courage the Cowardly Dog, which first aired at the end of 1999. Jane added that her true expertise on ‘90s pop culture is relevant to the Korean world.
“I remember [watching] Seo Taeji, H.O.T, and Reply 1997,” she said. Seo Taeji and H.O.T are recognized as music icons of the ‘90s but Reply 1997 was a 2000s drama recounting a love story that was set in the ‘90s.
Some correctly associated TV shows with the right decade. Although Sophomore Patrick Hernandez initially joked that all he knew about the ‘90s was his birth, he correctly recalled popular ‘90s shows such as Yu-Gi-Oh! and Power Rangers. Though he was born in the late ‘90s, he said that, “if it is about TV shows, I remember most of them and they make me feel nostalgic of my childhood.”
Even students’ historical understanding of the ‘90s is often off. Two students associated the ‘90s with the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. The Cold War began long before the 90s and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, so the late ‘80s would be the accurate era to link with the fall of the Soviet Union.
Two students associated the lifestyle of the ‘90s with manually opening a car window with a crank. However, the automated window was invented before the ‘90s, which would make the automated windows accessible and common in the cars of the ‘90s.
Jane added, “There were also beepers and AIM, Hotmail, AOL, and Myspace.”
AOL and its instant messaging counterpart AIM were big in the ‘90s, but Myspace was launched in 2003.
The one category students knew well was the ‘90s music scene. Freshman Deepshikha Kewlani remembers, “I was into N’Sync, the Backstreet Boys, and the Spice Girls.”
Junior Teresa Kan explained why it may be difficult for students to accurately describe
‘90s culture: “Although technically we are considered ‘90s kids, we were born at the tail end of it, so we don’t have the memories of living in the ‘90s. It’s hard to identify ourselves as ‘90s kids when we only have memories from the 2000s.”