Smelly Potatoes: 90’s-2000’s Sitcoms

What comes to mind when I say “Gilmore?” In the early 2000s, Gilmore Girls became one of the most notable television dramas of its time. With the news that it is getting a reboot on Netflix, approximately nine years after its series finale, I thought it wise to revisit some of our beloved television classics. So grab your gel pens, unnecessary hair extensions, and your tiny Nokia cell phones with limited data usage as we go back in time, over fifteen years ago…

Once upon a time, there was a broadcasting channel known as The WB. They gave us classics such as Everwood, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Felicity, One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek: they were television shows in the prime of television itself. For every Sabrina Spellman, Marissa Cooper, Veronica Mars, Ross Geller, and Grace Adler, there was a Dawson Leery, Buffy Summers, Bright Abbott, Lucy Camden, and Lorelai Gilmore. These were the shows that introduced us to household names like Jennifer Aniston, Chris Pratt, Kristen Bell, Lauren Graham, Jessica Biel, and Misha Barton. (Does anyone remember the infamous Marissa Cooper freakout on The O.C.?)

Many times, actors from one show would join another show. For example, did you know that Marcia Cross portrayed the globetrotting HIV-positive aunt of Chris Pratt and Emily Van Camp’s characters in Everwood’s second season, then packed her bags and moved to Wisteria Lane as a main cast member of ABC’s Desperate Housewives all in the same year? And speaking of Chris Pratt, did you know that after Everwood ended, he became an annoying hippie stoner activist on The O.C.?

When we look back on these shows, we get a rush of nostalgia, longing for the days when you had dial-up internet that took forever to load and ketchup in many color varieties. Does anyone remember when a teenage Emily Van Camp got a freaking KIA SORENTO for no reason on Everwood? Admit it, you remember exactly where you were when Marissa Cooper was killed, when Ross and Rachel got married, and when Buffy discovered her mother’s lifeless corpse.

Looking back on this era of television, we get a sense of the innocence of the times when television tackled sensitive issues, such as the infamous marijuana episode of 7th Heaven: “Oh what a relief, I mean, its not like we thought that mom was a stoner or anything,” snarks oldest sibling Mary Camden, upon the revelation that her father found a joint in his wife’s room. “Wait a minute…then whose joint is it?” exclaims second-to-youngest sibling Simon (This is actual dialogue from the show. Seriously, you can find it on YouTube.) These types of watered-down “very special episodes” were a staple of television dramas in their prime. For example, the tame portrayal of teenage sex on Dawson’s Creek was seen as shocking. And speaking of Dawson’s Creek, the show’s signature hyper-articulate dialogue is not something we see today, in both television and real life. Everyone on that show talked like an English professor (apologies to Kat Hayes).

Much in the same way that Katie Holmes only uses the left side of her mouth to talk, these shows had many one-sided elements to them as well. For example, according to 7th Heaven, all rap music is bad and promotes violence against women. Despite the drawbacks, these shows are surprisingly accurate representations of what life really was like in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

We fondly look back on these television programs because of their memorable storylines and iconic moments. We were able to relate to these old shows because they remind us of our old selves, and the spirit of the late 1990s into the early 2000s still resonates with us today.

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