The ’90s—or America’s puberty, as I like to call them—were a magical time full of Lisa Frank, Bonne Bell Lip Smackers, and the best decade for TV, music, and movies (you can fight me on this).
While pagers are, like, so totally yesterday, the messages in ’90s media are words to live by that will be forever etched into our 90s souls that refuse to grow up or get over the fact that the Spice Girls broke up and despite constant teasing, seem like they’re never ever ever getting back together (like ever). Rude.
Whether you’re jammin’ out to Queen Britney at 2 a.m. or telling off a guy or gal that just can’t seem to grasp the word “no,” these ’90s one-liners will have your back for any situation you might find yourself in.
Let’s be real, Cher’s (Alicia Silverstone) classic ’90s “Ugh, as if!” line is what we want to shout at every creepy person who can’t take a hint when they’re hitting on you. While it’s not a super common phrase anymore, this line will never go out of style. And neither will Cher’s classic yellow plaid ensemble, which Silverstone brought back for her Lip Sync Battle performance of Iggy Azaliea’s “Fancy.” We’re totally buggin’!
Spice World (1997)
We all know that person who has designer everything in every color and still angsts about what they’re going to wear to the next party of the week. Sporty Spice (Melanie C) said it best with the line, “It must be so hard for you, Victoria. I mean, having to decide whether to wear the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or… the little Gucci dress!” The sass is strong with this one—and we love it.
Before we had Dumbledore, we had Grandma Aggie (Debbie Reynolds) to give us our daily dose of sage wisdom. Grandma Aggie was always there to tell us that “being normal is vastly overrated.” Being weird is a badge our generation wears with honor. Who decides what normal is, anyway? We’d rather just be ourselves. RIP Debbie Reynolds, we love you dearly.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996)
When we’re out at a party or on a date, the last thing we want is to get sucked into a texting spiral. Short of an apocalypse, consider our Twitter followers on mute. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who was forced to put her personal life on hold to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness said it best. “If the apocalypse comes, beep me,” meaning don’t interrupt me unless the world is literally ending, which, I guess for Buffy, was a casual Tuesday. I kind of miss pagers—you didn’t have to actually talk to anyone. #antisocial.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
What is small talk without incessant chatter to make us feel less weird in silences? (I’m the worst person to make this assertion as I’m constantly rambling about something nonsensical. That ADHD life amiright?). Pulp Fiction‘s Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) was def onto something when she said, “Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?” Between avoiding contact and texting to filling the voids with endless chatter, we should probs work on our social skills as a society. It hasn’t gotten better, Mia.
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
??There??aren’t??enough??emoji??claps??in??the??world??for??this??one.?? Shoutout to all of those “nice” guys and gals who think they own our time because of their warped view of themselves. You can be the nicest person on the planet, the galaxy even, and I’m we’re not required to go out with you or entertain your advances in any way. #sorrynotsorry. She’s just not that into you. Three cheers for Kat for speaking what was fairly unspoken in the ’90s with, “I guess in this society, being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time.” Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
Ah, yes. Mansplaining. A tale as old as time. Listen, my glare is sharper than a knife and if you pull this crap on me you will get called out. In a shocking twist, people don’t like to be told what they want or what they’re willing to do? Shoutout to my girl Rose (Kate Winslet) who, even in a movie set in 1912, said, “Don’t presume to tell me what I will and not do, you don’t know me!” You go girl!
Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (1990)
The ’90s were a time to get real, even though our crimped hair extensions were very fake. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a groundbreaking show featuring a PoC family that didn’t shy away from addressing how stilted and racist problems were (and, sadly, are still) prevalent. But in the ’90s, shows like Fresh Prince reminded its viewers that police brutality and racist assumptions are very real. Will (Will Smith) addressed the hard stuff with his own humorous spin, with one-liners like, “Man, I love Halloween! It’s the only time of year when a black man can wear a mask at night and not get arrested!” Let’s hope this quote isn’t still on point in 2030.
Boy Meets World (1993)
Boy Meets World‘s Topanga was an OG feminist role model to most of us growing up in the ’90s. She was also the inspiration for a lot of sassy one-liners like, “I don’t sweat, I glisten.” Really, when we’re dancing in the club with our highlighter on fleek sparkling like the sun, we don’t sweat. We glisten.
Let’s face it, we 90s kids are one of the most mental health addled generations ever. Can I buy a quippy line to mask my pain? We’re all Chandlers. You can laugh at anything if you try hard enough and sarcasm is an art despite my ongoing sarcasm-related punishments from the age of five until I graduated high school. It’s not my fault! Like Chandler said, “I’m not so good with the advice… Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?”
The ’90s may be over, but at least we can repeat our fave ’90s lines and listen to the new BSB song on blast.