Is there a word for cringing and laughing at the same time?
They were a magical time — when being a Bill Cosby fan didn't have horrifying implications, but rooting for OJ Simpson did. DMX, the Sharknado of rappers, had a career for some reason. Lindsay Lohan could pass a sobriety test and Jennifer Lopez proved that auto-tune could sell anything if you had a booty to go with it.
If science invented a time machine and I had to choose between stopping the invention of the nuclear bomb or watching an Are You Afraid of the Dark? marathon in my light-up Sketchers ... I'd get to work on my apology letter to Japan immediately.
It was such an amazing era that even the dumb parts of it have an odd nostalgic charm.
1. Vanilla Ice
Noted for being the only rapper to appear in a Ninja Turtles movie, Vanilla Ice was the zenith of cheesiness. And yet, whenever "Under Pressure" comes on the radio, part of you still wishes it were "Ice Ice Baby."
2. Goosebumps novels
They say if you give a monkey a typewriter and an infinite amount of time, he'll eventually produce Shakespeare. Well, R.L. Stine apparently didn't have time for all that, so he showed us what happens when you give a monkey a typewriter, an afternoon, and some PCP. But in some small way, you yearn for a time when you were innocent enough to be frightened of it (the book, not the drug-addled monkey).
3. Shaquille O'Neal movies
There's been a resurgence lately in the appreciation of "bad-good" movies, which makes now the perfect time to remind the world that Shaq tried to act at one point ... and it was amazing. Not his acting skills, but what happens when you pay a real-life giant who DGAF to pretend to be a genie in between basketball practices.
4. The original 101 Pokemon
I'm calling it now: This will be our generation's "back in my day..." line when we're old and decrepit, and complaining about kids these days. Sure, it was essentially just cartoon cock-fighting, but we loved it. Nowadays, there are so many Pokemon, you'd need PhDs in Japanese Studies and Zoological Mathematics just to keep up.
Tamagatchis were great for parents because they demonstrated just how much you could absolutely not have that puppy you asked for every Christmas. We miss it because somewhere out there, a Tamagatchi is awaiting euthanization wondering why we didn't at least send it to a no-kill shelter.
Oh, the days when you would wait two days to download a Bush song and then roll the dice to find out whether it was a virus.
8. Cereal mascot fever
Sure, the Trix rabbit is basically a documentary on what it's like to be a meth addict, but he was OUR meth addict.
9. Xena and Hercules
Greek mythology is pretty rad on its own — even the god of wine and parties can turn into a lion, summon bears, and generally f*ck sh*t up when he needs to. So even terrible acting from Kevin Sorbo couldn't tank these shows.