The 1990s were a period of significant change in North America. The internet and the use of mobile phones were slowly seeping out of the boardroom and into households. The O.J. Simpson case ushered in a new era of true crime stories in media, while the blurring of musical genre lines began to take place with grunge, hip-hop and pop. Fashion was bold and clunky, with platform sneakers and low sitting bell bottoms all the rage.
The 1990s were also a great time for TV shows and movies, with classics like Clueless, Titanic, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and The Matrix hitting the big screen, while the small screen was ruled by sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld and Roseanne.
While many movies and TV series from this decade continue to hold up today, even the best of the best feature plots that simply wouldn’t happen in 2017. Between advances in technology and soaring real estate costs, it’s a whole new world out there. We really are ruled by our cell phones.
Check out these movies and TV shows from the ’90s that definitely wouldn’t work today, and relive the biggest moments from the final decade of the 20th century in the new docu-series The Nineties on CraveTV.
In the mid-1990s there was no place cooler for a teenager to work than a record store. It was the place to see and be seen, whether you actually were there to buy cassettes, CDs, DVDs, even vinyl, or just to stand around and look cool. It’s where you lined up on Saturday mornings to purchase concert tickets, and where you asked the staff about that song with that line—you know the one— before the days of Shazam. Unfortunately, the meeting place to find your musical tribe has essentially gone the way of the dinosaurs, with music, movies and concert tickets now bought primarily online.
Ditto for video stores. RIP independent shops and Blockbuster.
Good luck having a club no one talks about in 2017. While the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, the rise of social media would likely be the end of this underground organization. It would only take one new member to check in on Facebook and ensure that Fight Club would become the next segment on Vice News.
In 2017, Wayne would still live with his parents, but instead of airing his show on the local cable network and becoming famous in his area code, he would stream on YouTube and likely be an international star. As for Cassandra, she would still be dealing with creeps in the music business. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed at all.
NEVER BEEN KISSED
Drew Barrymore’s role as a 25-year-old journalist who goes undercover at a high school would have ended pretty quickly if it was released in 2017. Starring as the former nerd Josie, Barrymore’s character doesn’t change her name, meaning students could have easily looked up the new girl on Facebook and found out that she used to be Josie Grossie. Kids can be really mean.
Air dates: 1991 – 1999
HGTV may have found its inspiration by watching Tim the Tool Man Taylor fix (and often create) home improvement issues every week, but the sitcom was based on the main character working on a stage. Now viewers want to see couples argue about open concept spaces and complain about not having North American-sized kitchens in 700-year-old European cities. If we want to fix something specific, it’s YouTube, not Tool Time, to the rescue.
Air Dates: 1987 – 1995
Sure, Danny Tanner had a pretty sweet job as a TV anchor, but between Uncle Jesse’s part-time rock star life and Joey’s part-time comedian life, the three adults in the household weren’t even close to making enough money to afford their house in San Francisco in 2017, which recently sold for $4 million. Cut. It. Out.
Air Dates: 1994 – 2004
During an appearance on Ariana Huffington’s new Thrive Global Podcast earlier this year, actor Jennifer Aniston stated that Friends would never work today because everyone in Central Perk would spend all their time staring at their iPhones. She’s right. The series was based largely around conversations friends had while hanging out in a coffee shop. Of course, people still do this, but much of the time is spent looking things up on their phones or texting other people while only half listening to conversations. No one wants to watch that on TV. We don’t even want to watch it in real life.
Air Dates: 1989 – 1998
But seriously, what does Kramer do for a living? How can he afford to pay rent across the hall from a successful comedian whose apartment is what dreams are made of in New York City? By our count, Kramer has had exactly one steady job and it only lasted for a few days. It’s no wonder people go to New York with unrealistic expectations. Of course, Kramer’s lack of income seemed odd even back in the ’90s. So maybe we can let that one slide. One thing that definitely wouldn’t be the same today is Jerry’s lack of hustle. He does what, one show per week? If Seinfeld were on the air today, Jerry would be doing what the actual Jerry is doing right now. He would have a web series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, plus a YouTube channel, a social media following that he is constantly creating material for, and he would be living with three other roommates in New York in an apartment that is half the size of the one he lives in on the show. Ponder this while watching all nine seasons of Seinfeld now available on CraveTV.
SEX AND THE CITY
Air Dates: 1998 – 2004
Sex and the City is yet another show that has given artists unrealistic apartment expectations in New York. Square footage aside, can you imagine how different this show would have been if online dating and Tinder were around? We’d probably never see Samantha leave her bedroom.
Watch The Nineties now on Cravetv.