by Kate and Danny Tamberelli
Kate: While I of course had nothing but the utmost respect (!!!) for fine shows such as The Adventures of Pete & Pete and All That (Genius! Revolutionary! Especially the casting!), I was also pretty diehard about Clarissa and Sabrina, and another TGIF hit I don’t see talked about nearly enough, Step by Step. That one felt so juicy to me? A little scandalous in the best way? Generally speaking, though, TGIF and SNICK were so hugely essential and so grounding for me, even through high school, on weekend nights with no plans. It was such a safe space, and I’d watch any/all of it, curled up in the coveted recliner in my parents’ living room.
Danny: My favorite shows in the 90s were mostly all sketch related. Roundhouse, The State, Mr. Show, SNL and, of course, All That. I was just so immediately sucked in by all the irreverence and absurdity in mundane and seemingly normal situations. It hits right in my comedy wheelhouse. I was also a big cartoon guy. From early Loony Tunes to Bobby’s World to The Simpsons and South Park. Watching Family Guy for the first time after the Super Bowl (?) was a moment for me—I kept thinking about the Kool-Aid Man busting into inappropriate places for weeks. During that time, I was also watching a lot of BBC comedy stuff that my parents would show me. Faulty Towers, Black Adder, Mr. Bean, Monty Python, and Absolutely Fabulous were the ones we watched religiously.
Kate: Pretty much every stereotypical teen girl movie of the 90s/early aughts era, but there were just an impossible amount of classics! Clueless, Drive Me Crazy, She’s All That, Bring it On, Freaky Friday, and most importantly, all things Amanda Bynes, with She’s the Man at the tip top of the list. I watched that movie so many times, my cruddy old DVD player broke with it inside—I couldn’t open the disc tray anymore, but I could still watch, so She’s the Man exclusively and constantly, which… GREAT. Not a problem! I’m pretty sure I permanently scared off one of my college boyfriends because of how hysterically I laughed at almost every line in that movie; he was judging me, but I was obviously judging him more, because it is Amanda and baby Channing at their absolute finest! (Will I ever see gouda cheese and not think about that movie? Resounding no!)
Danny: I was a big fan of the horror movie/comedy double features at sleepovers, so there was a lot of Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween paired with comedies like Hudsucker Proxy, Sandlot, So I Married an Ax Murderer, Tommy Boy, and Wayne’s World. I’d watch all the SNL movies. By freshman year in ‘96 I had found Kevin Smith, and I would recite Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy from start to finish just for fun. I was also obsessed with this movie called Roadside Prophets. Crazy cameos. And starring Ad-Rock from Beastie Boys and John Doe from X. I know, I’m a weird person.
Kate: I was in high school when John Mayer’s Room for Squares came out in 2001, and oh my god, I don’t think I realized how outrageously hormonal I was before swooning all over the place to those songs. Total sexual awakening. (I’m not saying I had a poster of him on my bedroom wall that I kissed every night before bed, but I’m not not saying it either…) Of course, there was plenty of room for some serious girl power legends of the time, too—Spice Girls/Spice, Avril Lavigne/Let Go, Destiny’s Child/The Writing’s on the Wall.
Danny: This question’s tough, as I’ve got a LOT of albums I’d call a favorite. Here’s one record for each vibe of my teenage self:
Weezer – The Blue Album
The record is perfect; even at nearly 30 years old, it holds up. “Surf Wax America” just takes me right to where the lyrics are, and I’ve never surfed a day in my life. I loved this record so much that I joined a Weezer cover band that exclusively played this record. It was clearly meant to be.
Dummy – Portishead
Just listen to the song “Roads” when you have a moment. That is all. Runner up, but my college sad record, Beck – Sea Change (2002).
Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
Full of heady acid jazz undertones and some of my favorite rhymes. “It’s time to turn the page to a brand new chapter / Setting my sights and you know what I’m after / I’ll be in the paper the news with Ernie Ernesto / They’ll even print my recipe for pasta with pesto / Now here’s another special of the day / I’ve got more spice than the grugal gourmet.” Calling out the channel 11 news anchor Ernie Enesto always made me feel like I was in on the joke.
Bjork – Post
A true rainbow of sound. No two songs are alike, and the sequencing of the record just left me feeling all the vibrations that project from one’s body. No substances were used to feel that way. (Initially…)
Kate: Wow, just fell down a total vortex googling The Box, RIP. There were few rushes in that era as heady as requesting a video and then seeing it pop up on your TV. Such magic! (Sorry TRL, but you got way too repetitive. The Box all the way!) But truly, I could have watched “Genie in a Bottle” all day every day. Christina’s voice! The way she danced! Those swishy orange pants and the frayed shirt that whipped around in the air with every move! Massive girl crush. I wanted to sing like her, dance like her, be her. Did other music videos exist??!! I don’t know, this one was just it for me.
Danny: I was a sucker for the Foo Fighters videos. Anything Spike Jonze directed, I was trying to catch on MTV. Tom Petty also ruled at making videos.