The 90's, a pivotal decade in my life. 16 years old in 1990 and 26 when the millennium struck, the 90's had me struggling through the traumas of high school, the dramas of college and forging my way as an adult in New York City. Friends were my touchstones and my mirrors in a time of change and growth. Groundbreaking TV shows followed my journey and forged my views on friendship. Whether it was The Peach Pit, Central Perk, Jerry's apartment or at happy hour drinking cosmopolitans; before the Internet, cell phones and social media, friends being there for each other meant really being there for each other. Here are 6 90's TV Shows that left a lasting impression and lifelong lessons.
The Wonder Years
With Kevin Arnold we glimpsed life in the 60's and 70's as he grew from adolescence into adulthood. Always by his side were his friends Paul and Winnie. What resonated was that no matter where you go or how much time has passed, there is something special and sacred about those you shared your formative years with. These are friends to cherish.
Beverly Hills 90120
A nice mid-western family moves to a wealthy Beverly Hills neighborhood and twins Brandon and Brenda acclimate to their new surroundings. Love, accidents, adoption, income disparity, college acceptance, teen pregnancy, gay rights, date rape, friends, enemies and frenemies, Beverly Hills 90210 had it all. Luckily the crisis level in my own life did not parallel that of the friends of 90210 but the underlying issues on the show reflected what was going on in every high school. Personally, I related to being the new girl in a school where everything moved faster than I was used to and I knew how it felt to be "Andrea" the not so cool girl having a crush on the cute boy. And yes, my friends and I did cheer when Donna Martin graduated. Don't you hear the theme song playing in your ear right now?
Ah Felicity. You followed a boy to college and then found out he didn't even remember your name. Following romance you wound up finding yourself with the help of your friends along the way. You did get the guy, but your friends were really what your life and the show were all about. Chronicling college student Felicity and her relationships with her friends and classmates in New York City, it had hope, wide eyed optimism and a sort of sweet and quiet reality. All of which I relished after the head spinning drama of it's predecessors and the head spinning drama of my own high school years.
Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey. Love, relationships, careers, parents and parenthood were merely the backdrop for the main event, friendship. It didn't matter that no twenty-something could afford that huge two bedroom apartment or that Rachel seemed to climb the fashion career ladder faster than anyone I knew. I sat in my New York City studio apartment tuning in every week. The best thing about the friends of Friends and the greatest lesson I've gotten from all of the shows of the 90's was that they knew and loved each other for exactly who they were. Type A, flaky, sarcastic, a little dim, a little shallow and a lot dorky. They promised "I'll be there for you" and they were.
A show about nothing. Nothing but four friends who talk about the mundane of every day life. Men and women are friends and no major plot or drama necessary. One of my besties is a man, he is the Jerry to my Elaine. The Jerry and Elaine of Seinfeld paved the path for the relationship that we have today.
Sex And The City
It went on the air at the end of the 90's just as I was at the end of my youth. Living in New York City, friends getting married, some of us focusing on careers other starting to build families "Sex And The City" was the heightened, more glamorous and exciting life we aspired to. Who out of the group is Charlotte? Who's Carrie, Miranda and who is our very own sex crazed Samantha? Turns out we are all a little bit of each and while the show seemed to be about sex, and the city, it was about four friends confiding in each other and navigating the rules of society and the rules they made for themselves. Carrie wound up with Mr. Big, great. I wasn't ever worried. She'd always have her girls.