Tuesday “News:” 90s Media I Discovered Last Week

Well, I had quite a week of 90s exploration:

1. Independence Day

For all my 90s naïveté, Independence Day is one movie I have loved since childhood and watched almost every July 4th. This year I was fortunate to join the company of two friends who had never seen it before, making the experience all the better. I was glad to see Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum save the planet from aliens again this year:

HT: Seth Putnam, Katie Stipanovich, Anthony Flora

2. The End of Seinfeld

As the credits for Independence Day began to roll, my friends and I discussed what we should do before it was dark enough for fireworks. Somehow we all decided that I must finish Seinfeld. Soon we had plowed through the remaining three episodes, and my year-long run at the greatest sitcom of all time had ended. It was bitter-sweet, the satisfaction of taking a big step toward catching up with my generation but knowing I could never watch a new episode again. In many ways, Seinfeld was the backbone of my 90s exploration, and I don’t think anything else can replace it.

The Seinfeld crew during the final days of shooting. Via huffpostTV.

        The Seinfeld crew during the final days of shooting. Via HuffpostTV.

As for the finale, I’ve heard a lot of people who were disappointed by it. In my ideal ending, the gang walks out of Jerry’s apartment to go see him perform, and he closes the door behind them. The screen fades to black, and a final scene shows a few of his jokes. However, I took no issue with how the finale actually played out. I enjoyed seeing all the minor characters give testimony in court which served something of a tribute to their work in the show.

The last lines of the show are a reference back to its first dialog. During the final scene, Jerry looks across the jail cell to George and makes a comment about the buttons on his shirt. I thought it seemed awkward but must refer to something:

Jerry: See, now, to me that button is in the worst possible spot.

George: Really?

Jerry: Oh yea! The second button is the key button. It literally makes or breaks the shirt. Look at it. It’s too high. It’s in no man’s land.

George: Haven’t we had this conversation before?

Jerry: You think?

George: I think we have.

Jerry: Yea, maybe we have.

Jerry repeats the first line of the show almost word for word, bringing it to an end where it began:

3. National Geographic’s 90s Special

On Sunday night, National Geographic aired the first of the three part special called: The 90s: The Last Great Decade? The first episode, Great Expectations, begins with America’s involvement in the Gulf War and discusses how it, along with public obsession over celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith, and televised trials (Lorena Bobbitt/Jeffery Dahmer/Clarence Thomas) laid the groundwork for reality TV shows like The Real World. The episode also chronicled socio-political events like Bill Clinton’s rise to the presidency and the bombing of the World Trade Center, as well as Microsoft and the beginning of the internet.

“Great Expectations” covered a fair amount of pop culture from Vanilla Ice (who’s hit “Ice Ice Baby” was originally a B-side) to Rosanne. Ironically, during a segment on Nirvana, the special doesn’t play any of their music (perhaps they didn’t get the rights). While the narrator discusses “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” some unknown riff of power chords plays in the background without vocals. It was almost hilarious. Despite that fact, I thought the special was informative and well done, and I plan on watching the last two episodes before the end of the week.

Here are the videos for episodes two (“Friends and Enemies”) and three (“Politically Incorrect”) which aired Monday and Tuesday respectfully. View episode one above.

HT: Adria Lambert

4. Matthew Perry & Jennifer Aniston’s Windows 95 Instructional Video

First of all, stop for a minute and appreciate that this exists: Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston star in a bizarre sitcomish attempt at an instructional video for Windows 95. Their Microsoft adventure lasts for the first half hour before the video dips into more formal instructions for using the new software which you can safely ignore.

The video features the following gems from Jennifer:

“Look Matty, I’m computing!” 

“Taskbar? Is that anything like a Snickers bar? Does that have nougat?” 

“So you mean I can plug and play every printer in the world?” 

“Would you like a side of bacon with the egg on your face?”

And this dialog:

J: “We don’t have any CD’s or flappies.”

M: “I believe those are called floppies.”

J: “That’s what I said.”

M: “No, no, you said flappies.”

J: “I did not!”

But seriously, Windows 95 was revolutionary. Here are some of its new features we now take for granted:

-Creating file names larger than 8.3 characters.
-Plug and play installation for devices.
-Right clicking for “power user features.”
-Drag and drop file moving.
-Loading items onto the taskbar.

Do yourself a favor and carve out a half hour for this 90s gold:

Tuesday “News:” A Recap of 90s Media I Discovered Last Week

be happy

                                              Kramer doing his thing

For those of you who recently started reading this blog, every Tuesday I write a post recapping 90s related media I discovered in the previous week. I do other posts about bands, Seinfeld eps, movies, etc, but Tuesdays are devoted to showing where The 90s Project stands in real time. I put “news” in quotes because most media I discover is news to me but not to most people.

I was a bit low on 90s intake last week, but here’s what I found time for:

1. Seinfeld Tracker

I’m still in the middle of season 8. Last week I only managed to watch “The Fatigues” (ep 6) and “The Checks” (ep 7), where I learned that Jerry made it big in Japan:

2. Rolling Stone Article 

rolling stone

I’m not sure when it was written, but last week I found an article (via Q101’s FB page) titled: “1994: The 40 Best Records From Mainstream Alternative’s Greatest Year.” Until I read it, I had no idea how incredible 1994 was for alternative music. Some of my favorite 90s albums were released that year: Sixteen StonePurple, Superunknown, Nirvana UnpluggedGrace, and The Blue Album. There are plenty of others on this list that I need to listen through: VitalogyThe Downward SpiralDookieBettyThrowing CopperPisces Iscariot, etc, and I still haven’t hardly touched: Beck, R.E.M., Live, Oasis, Sonic Youth, Alice in Chains, or Nine Inch Nails. I’ve got some work to do, but this list is a good reference point.

3. The 90s Project on Spotify 

90s project

While I’m talking about music, I keep a running Spotify playlist of 90s audio-nostalgia. Those who use Spotify can readily access it. If you don’t know about Spotify and you listen to a lot of music, it would behoove you to do some investigating.

4. Kurt Cobain Documentary

Today I ran across a tweet by Kurt Loder with a trailer for a documentary called “Soaked in Bleach” that accuses Courtney Love of murdering her husband. This conspiracy theory is nothing new, but what’s interesting is the people interviewed: Tom Grant, a private investigator Courtney hired to find her missing husband in early April 1994, Norm Stamper, Seattle’s police chief at the time of Kurt’s death, Forensic Scientists, journalists, etc. The doc claims that the Cobains were in the middle of a divorce, and Kurt was in the process of taking Courtney out of his will. She allegedly killed Kurt and forged his suicide note just before she lost the estate. I don’t buy any of it, but I’m a sucker for conspiracy theories, and it appears to be well done:

5. The 90s Project Reconsidered 

Last week I wrote a lengthy post where I laid out the direction I hope this blog headed (and clarified a few roads I do not want to travel down). It had by far the most views and interactions of any post to this point. I am encouraged that hopefully The 90s Project does not have to be a solo venture but can create a place where we talk together about faith, culture, and story.