As my parents can attest, 1991 was my “bad” year.
The year I turned 13 was the year I decided to try to hit every “awful, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad teenager” stereotype. Sneaking out, lying, dating older boys (and the naughty girl things that go along with that), you name it, I put my parents through it. Fittingly, I spent New Year’s Eve 1991 in the back of my dad’s police car. My oh-so-clever ruse of spending the night at a friend’s house fell apart when my mom called there to wish me a happy New Year early and I wasn’t there. It didn’t take them long to figure out I was at my boyfriend’s, so pop came and picked me up in style. Having a police officer for a dad kind of sucked sometimes.
You know what also sucked in 1991? My hair.
1991 did bring some wonderful pop culture classics to us, thank goodness. Let’s try to make up for my bad hair and style with some songs that will be stuck in your head for the rest of your life, shall we?
According to Billboard, the top five singles of the year were:
- “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Bryan Adams
- “I Wanna Sex You Up” – Color Me Badd
- “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)– C+C Music Factory
- “Rush Rush” – Paula Abdul
- “One More Try” – Timmy T
Okay, everybody slow danced to the Bryan Adams song, we got in trouble for grinding on each other to Color Me Badd, and the C+C Music Factory song might still be on my workout mix. Maybe. But 1991 also saw the release of Pearl Jam’s Ten, and since that is one of the best albums of all time (bring it, dissenters. It won’t be the first time I’ve gotten into a screaming row over that statement), it deserves mention. It didn’t place on charts until 1992, though, so I will leave it be for now. Just remember, it’s one of the best albums ever.
Some other notables:
“Motown Philly” – Boyz II Men
“After the Rain” – Nelson
In perhaps one of the most exciting moments of my youth, I met these guys, along with the members of the band, at Great America theme park when they played there. We ended up being in line behind them for The Grizzly, one of the roller coasters, and we chatted all the way through the line. I ended up riding it with one of the guys in the band. Totally awesome. As is their hair.
“More Than Words” – Extreme
I unabashedly love this song to this day. Every single time I pick up a guitar, I sing the part just before he taps out two beats on the guitar for emphasis, even though I am neither a singer nor a guitar player. I just like to pretend.
“Good Vibrations” – Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Mark Wahlberg is a good looking man. Marky Mark was fucking hot.
“Tom’s Diner” – Susanne Vega
Remember when I mentioned songs that will be stuck in your head? For me, “Tom’s Diner” is the one that immediately embeds itself and never lets go if someone so much as mentions it. I will be singing this for the next week, at least.
The top five movies of 1991 were:
1. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Although this is high on the list of top grossing movies of all time, I have never seen it. People are appalled by this, and yet I can’t bring myself to care enough to watch it.
2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
What happened to Kevin Costner? That dude has just dropped off.
3. Beauty and the Beast
I know Disney princesses are problematic, and this movie has some serious issues, but remember how pretty it was? And how awesome it was to have a princess that liked to read books?
Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell still haunts my nightmares.
5. The Silence of the Lambs
I am a big ol’ chicken, yet somehow I convinced myself that watching this home alone, late at night, was a good idea. I was pretty sure I was going to be turned into a flesh coat for months afterwards.
Bugsy won Best Picture at the Oscars that year. Really?
Jennifer Lopez joined the Fly Girls, Britney Spears was on Star Search, E! News premiered, and Comedy Central was born. As if we need to explore the importance of 1991 for television history any further than that. We do? Okay, fine.
1991 gave us great television gifts, gifts that shaped my child and adulthood. Just look at the amazingness we were given;
Mayim and her beautiful kookiness were introduced to the world. Joey Lawrence and his “Whoa” nonsense, Six and her utter button-cuteness, and a single dad trying to do right by his kids. What’s not to love?
I would like to go back and watch this show as an adult. I remember it being a touching look at the interactions between a group of sisters (duh), but I was too young to understand the dynamics that go into such relationships at the time. Off to Netflix!
The Ren & Stimpy Show
Happy Happy Joy Joy, y’all.
Oh, Angelica, you bratty little brat. Phil and Lil, Chucky, they were all so awesome. Have you guys seen The Rugrats Movie? That didn’t happen in 1991, but still, good flick.
The Jerry Springer Show
That’s right, everyone, this was the year that started it all. I tried to find a clip to put here, but honestly, watching the YouTube clips was making me nauseous. There is so much horror in those clips, and then adding the YouTube comments into the mix is just bad. All bad.
1991 saw the end of Dallas, thirtysomething, 21 Jump Street, Twin Peaks and, most heartbreakingly, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
According to Wikipedia, this is the year “Generation X” was coined with the release of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.
John Grisham released The Firm and launched his incredibly successful career.
Madonna’s Sex was published, causing so much finger wagging and tut-tutting that people flocked to stores to see what all the naughtiness was all about.
Naomi Wolfe’s The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women was published.
Nadine Gordimer won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1991 saw the beginning of the Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm.
Los Angeles police officers are caught on video beating Rodney King. Four officers are indicted. They will subsequently be acquitted, which will lead to the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is arrested after police discover human remains in his apartment.
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is released, causing hours of screaming matches regarding sharing in my household.
Births and Deaths
In 1991, Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Emma Roberts, Jamie Lynn Spears, and Azealia Banks were bouncing bundles of joy brought into the world.