P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1992 with Stephens

I have a confession to make: 1992 was not my year. Honestly, I had forgotten how bad of a year it was until after I had signed up for the “Nostalgia Project” and began thinking back on some memories from that year. Pretty sure I suppressed most of the stuff that happened to me in the first few months of ’92. It was nothing horribly traumatic, but I was your average painfully shy, awkward girl with a wicked case of hypersensitivity. A few instances of teasing and bullying were enough to send me over the edge into my first real foray with depression.

Persephone Magazine Nostalgia project banner for 1992.

The year got better though after switching schools and spending a week in Alaska with my uncle (I’ve tried desperately to find the picture, but to no avail) and a few days in Chicago after that. I loved Alaska, but instinctively realized I couldn’t handle the isolation of the state, even if I was living in one of the bigger cities like Anchorage. Plus, the whole thing with the sun staying out till late into the night was kind of freaky too. But for a born and raised Florida girl, there was nothing cooler than seeing snow-capped mountains for the first time. So onto the other good parts of 1992, which mainly involved movies and music, which has always and forever been my favorite therapist. It’s a good thing, too, because 1992 was a great year for music.

Music

The top five singles of 1992 according to the gods of Billboard are the following:

  1. “End of the Road” – Boyz II Men
  2. “Baby Got Back” – Sir-Mix-a-Lot
  3. “Jump” – Kriss Kross
  4. “Save the Best for Last” – Vanessa Williams
  5. “Baby-Baby-Baby” – TLC

I remember twirling my little sister around the room to “Save the Best for Last,” (she was six at the time,) an embarrassing incident of trying to wear my jeans backwards like Kriss Kross and my parents  and best friend making me change the channel whenever “Baby Got Back” was playing because it was “disgusting.” The Bodyguard soundtrack was released late in the year and the dominance of Whitney Houston on the airwaves wouldn’t be felt until 1993. Grunge and rock were also a big part of my life as Bruce Springsteen released two albums Human Touch and Lucky Town on the same day that year and Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” was on constant rotation on MTV. Towards the end of the year, R.E.M. released Automatic for the People and I was just done for life. I’m with Kym on Ten being my favorite Pearl Jam album as she mentioned in her piece about 1991 (haters to the left). Here were some of the other songs playing in my head in 1992 (borrowing a bit from Sara’s “30 Years of Music” piece on the year).

“Jeremy” – Pearl Jam

As I said in the beginning, 1992 was not the best of years and the way Eddie Vedder sang this song just spoke to the pain I was going through in ways I could not articulate at the time.

“Friday, I’m in Love” – The Cure

When school is torture, you want to marry Friday. I know there is more meaning to the song than that, but when you’re 13, you don’t care.

“I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred

There WERE good memories of this year (besides my great Alaskan adventure) and one of those was pretending to walk the catwalk to this song with my friends.

“Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus

So I’m originally from Jacksonville, FL which is redneck country and I first learned to line dance to this song (judge me, I dare you).

“To Be With You” – Mr. Big

My mom drove me and my friends home from school and I’m pretty sure she was sick of us belting out this song on the ride home.

Movies

The top 5 films of the year are as follows:

1. Aladdin

I think 13 is the perfect age to appreciate Robin William’s manic performance as the Genie in this movie. I remember laughing so hard during his first scene, I almost peed my pants. Also, the opening sequence of “One Jump Ahead” is one of my favorite of all Disney films.

2. The Bodyguard

The epic love story of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner onscreen to the soundtrack we all grew sick of after the first month. My poor romantic heart cried at the end of the movie. I was also touched by Kevin Costner’s eulogy of Whitney Houston after her death.

3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

I thought it was a poor imitation of the original.

4. Basic Instinct

I still have never seen this movie and was not allowed to watch it at the time for obvious reasons.

5. Lethal Weapon 3

My parents love this movie.

Unforgiven won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1992 and other notable releases that are relevant to my pop culture sensibilities were Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the Kristy Swanson original), The Cutting Edge, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, and Newsies!! I love Newsies with the fire of a thousand suns.

Television

1992 saw the beginning of shows that would shape pop culture for years to come, but also marked the end of several landmark shows. It’s the year the Sci-Fi Channel debuted with the airing of Star Wars and is the gift that keeps on giving for nerd girls everywhere. Sadly, 1992 saw the end of The Cosby Show, A Different World, Golden Girls, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss and MacGyver.

Some of the shows that impacted me or had significant cultural relevance were as follows:

  • Melrose Place

Melrose Place started as a spin-off of Beverly Hills 90210, and I was pretty obsessed with it when it premiered despite the fact that my parents didn’t like me watching it. I was in love with Grant Show and annoyed by Courtney Thorne Smith’s character.

  • Nickelodeon Guts

Everyone I know wanted to be on this show.

  • The Real World

The show that started the reality TV rage. What I love about the debut season in hindsight is that these were regular people. They weren’t supermodels or trying to get famous, they just signed up for an experiment that has changed our culture forever. The famous argument between Julie and Kevin gave a lesson in race and perception before the advent of blogging and YouTube.

  • California Dreams

The sugary sweet concoction that I woke up to on Saturday mornings was a perfect tonic to my angst. I have a soft spot in my heart for shows about teenagers trying to make it big in music.

  • The Heights

I was fond of this short-lived show if only because the premise was based around music. It also set me up for my future of falling in love with shows that are axed too quickly ala Firefly.

Books

  • Significant books released this year include, John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief, Terry McMillian’s Waiting to Exhale, Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Robert James Waller’s The Bridges of Madison County.
  • In non-fiction, the self-help guide, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus was released and the fight against rigid gender roles got even harder.
  • The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine was first published, terrifying an entire generation of kids. Personally, it was Stine’s Fear Street novels that scared the ever living shit out of me.

The Nobel Prize for Literature went to Derek Walcott that year.

News

  • George H.W. Bush vomits on the Prime Minister of Japan’s lap.
  • Dan Quayle misspells “potato.”
  • A jury acquits four LAPD officers of beating Rodney King, which sparks the LA riots.
  • The Bosnian War begins.
  • Johnny Carson retires and Jay Leno takes over The Tonight Show.
  • Significant to my life, Hurricane Andrew devastates South Florida.
  • The Summer and Winter Olympics are held in Barcelona, Spain and Albertville, France respectively.
  • Bill Clinton becomes the POTUS.

Notable Births and Deaths

Taylor Lautner, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Nick Jonas graced us with their presence this year.

Unfortunately, we lost Isaac Asimov, Benny Hill and Marlene Dietrich.

Published by

Stephens

Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

12 thoughts on “P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1992 with Stephens”

  1. Pearl Jam FOR EVAH!!

    1992 was a good year. I listened to Jeremy so many times, not only because it is awesome, but that was my boyfriend’s name at the time to, so obviously there was some kind of cosmic connection between me and Eddie Vedder. And I am going to spend the rest of my day twirling around the office listening to Friday, I’m in Love.

  2. THIS IS BRINGING ALL THE MEMORIES.

    I was a freshman/sophomore in college in ’92, and every single thing you posted here reminded me of living in the dorm. (With Sally J! We, obviously, had the coolest room on campus, even with the horrible woodgrain contact paper previous occupants had stuck on the walls.)

  3. Oh, Fear Street, setting poor little qSS up for years of insomnia and nightmares. I did prefer Christopher Pike books for the most part, but there were some “pioneer days” Fear Street books that I could not get enough of.

    California Dreams!!!!!!! I looooved Saturday morning teen shows so much.

  4. Have you read Carl Hiaasen? The novel he wrote about the aftermath of Andrew is both infuriating and hilarious. (Then again, all his novels are.)

    Also, I’m Too Sexy is one of the best songs ever. It’s still on damn near every one of my playlists.

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