What We Learned From Television In The 90s

Preston Waters

For any kid born in the 90’s, the decade’s events served as the casting mould by which their minds were shaped to understand the world. Whether it was enduring the tragic fashion palette, or unsolicited music from Vanilla Ice, we all know it was ugly at times.

But the years taught us life lessons; precedent examples by which nostalgia and maturity formed from neon colored tights and light up sneakers, Gulf Wars and Primetime sex-scandals, fro-tops and Bel-Air, bubble-pop gum and stock market busts. One cannot deny the indelible impact that an impassioned childhood fueled by the 90s left on us all.

Before the airwaves were flooded with reality-TV and 60 Minute programs on paparazzi exploits, there were some real lessons being taught. These lessons were invaluable, and came from shows like Saved By The Bell to 90210.


10. Saved By The Bell: Communication is Key

Did it ever seem odd to you that Zack was in Mr. Belding’s office virtually every day? Or that Mr. Belding always came to class to talk to Zach, at least once an episode? Sure, Zack was the class clown and it was all well deserved, but was Mr. Belding just riding Zack? Or was it part of his genius plan to build a stronger relationship with Zack in hopes of helping him realize his full potential? This is not some happenstance theme; the paternal role Belding took up meant something to us all: constant and regular communication is the key to any productive relationship. Think about the client-agency relationship. If you do not have open lines of communication and regular meetings, things can go haywire quickly. Think about what the lines of communication look like between: you and your team, you and the agency that assists you, and you and your boss. Make sure you are honest, forthright and punctual. And, that you always respond in a timely manner.


9. Beavis & Butt Head: Laughing is an Essential Part of Life

Don’t Take Life Too Seriously. Even when those around you are demanding you conform to peer standards, you don’t always have to take things so seriously. Perhaps it was their inability to conform coherent sentences, more so than their defiance. But no matter what their often-brainless and always controversial modus operandi, these two were will always be respected for their refusal to ever do as they were told.


8. Boy Meets World: Everyone Needs A Mentor

Corey Matthews had an unlikely pairing with his mentor and principal Mr. Feeney. In the last two decades, I have yet to have a problem that a cure-all Feeny quote could not solve. Sure, the man talked like a fortune cookie; but his advice was always profound and timeless. The penultimate Mr. Feeny quote: “Friendship, for example, is a real gift. It’s given with no expectations and no gratitude is needed, not between real friends.” Cheesy? Yes. Completely accurate and heartwarming? Double yes.


7. 7th Heaven: Jessica Biel Will Always Be Hot

We were all hoping from the start that she would be written out early so we would not have to deal with her, but, as luck would have it, she blossomed quite well. Although her character gradually became dissatisfied with what she thought was her “goody-goody” image, she eventually posed for semi-nude photographs for Gear magazine at the age of 17. The producers of the show did not approve: a sign of things to come…very good things.


6. Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Family Comes First

No matter how long you’ve been apart, family will always come first. The displaced teenage Will was fortunate enough to escape his troubled Philly upbringing for the luxuries of Bel Air; we feel bad for the rest of those kids who still have to live there with Cole Hammels, our apologies. As a fish out of water, Will maintained the values and respect he was raised with. Although they drove each other mad at times, their love for each other was more powerful than anything else. Who can forget the timeless episode where the family visited Oprah’s show, and Will was left out of the taping. It only goes to show, The Fresh Prince never failed to remind us that who we are, is whom we are loved by, and family will never be more important to a person than any one else.


5. Home Improvement: Failing With Grace

How many times did we bear witness to the disastrous examples set by Tim “The Toolman” Taylor? Nearly every episode provided Tim the opportunity to nearly impale himself by demonstrating his newest tools. His ability to laugh at his shortcomings and continue to push forward taught us, and his fictional family, that resilience is never easy, but its fulfillment is the measure of the man.



4. Beverly Hills 90210: How To Get With Your Neighbors

Sex Ed 101 at a very young age. Back in the prehistoric era, when Luke Perry and Shannon Daugherty were relevant, we learned the power of being neighbors. No, not the sense of being familial and hospitable towards each other, but rather trying to copulate with the sex addicted tenants of the nearest apartment. Like sex with all girls from California: sex with neighbors is convenient at most, but will surely lead to gossip and drama.


3. Family Matters: Love is Relentless

Poor Steve Urkel… We still cringe to this day at the very thought of his awkward presence. However, this self-proclaimed dweeb did not fall victim to his short-comings. No matter how many times he was rejected by his peers, or told that his affections were in vein, he remained relentless in pursuit of his one true love. The team here at Elite Daily lives by his credo – No is the new yes, duh.


2. Friends: You Can Date & Still Be Friends

How many times have you wanted to burn bridges with an ex? For us, it is every time. Thankfully for our favorite group of Friends we learned that maturity is the most important aspect of engaging in a relationship. These time-tested individuals will be there for you no matter what. Do not become envious over your neighbors; there are simply too many fish in the sea.


1. Seinfeld: Nothing Can Be Something

Seinfeld proved to be one of the most successful TV-sitcom of all time. Self-dubbed the “show about nothing,” Seinfeld’s genius lay in his offhanded remarks about the society and culture we live in. Trivial but frequent lies and deceit amongst these selfish friends always led to mishaps and tragic irony by an episode’s end. From golf-balls in Whale blowholes, to stealing rye bread from old women, was the show really about nothing? Or are lives spent in pursuits of vanity and self-regard destined for directionless, tragic endings in prison. You can be the arbiter, but next time you watch Seinfeld, remember that the hot girl on the sofa might not be worth it the next morning.

Top Photo Credit: Getty Images

Preston Waters


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