There are millions of us who remember the world of the 1990s as a more innocent, flannel-draped time — but let's face it, there were plenty of things that happened during that distant decade we're glad to see the back of. So as National Geographic gears up to give us a three-night miniseries event that asks, "The '90s: The Last Great Decade?" here's a list of nine things we're happy we won't have to worry about any more.
Beanie Baby mania
Some collectors invest in stamps, or coins, or hoard silver and gold. Ty Inc. convinced people that stuffed creatures were the wave of the future — and they bought into them, by the millions. Last year, filmmaker Chris Robinson chronicled his family's descent into the madness — they spent nearly $100,000 on the critters, most of which didn't amount to a hill of beans. Or beanies.
Between Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern whose affair with President Bill Clinton nearly ended his presidency; and the O.J. Simpson murder investigation and trial (and Simpson's subsequent acquittal, which led to riots in the streets), the decade had more than its share of shocking scandals. We're glad they're long gone.
'The Blair Witch Project'
Yeah, we get it: Made on the cheap ($600,000), this indie movie rewrote the rules for blockbuster success when it earned over $248M worldwide. But the flimsy premise the movie packed isn't all that scary in retrospect, and after all these years, all most people seem to remember best is the poor lost camper blinking tearily into her own camera.
The "pocket monsters" were cute, particularly the little yellow Pikachu. But the trading card craze that it sparked was baffling at the time, and just seems silly now.
Schlocky though they may be, everyone's got a ballad that brings tears to their eyes. But in the 1990s, ballads elevated (or perhaps devolved) into a new dimension of bombast and operatic expression: Think Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love" and Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." (Surprise! Both tunes share a common author: Longtime Loaf songwriter Jim Steinman.)
The "Star Wars" empire strikes back
The force was not with George Lucas when he returned to his game-changing "Star Wars" franchise in 1999 with the awkward first of three prequels, "The Phantom Menace." Of course it did well in theaters, but the new trilogy altered the relationship between fans and the creator forever. With new "Star Wars" films on the way, there's no need to look back at the bad memories.
Looking at Jennifer Aniston's iconic "Friends" 'do now, it's hard to imagine a time when everyone seemed to lust after that sculpted 90s look. Even Aniston has since declared she'd rather shave her head than sport The Rachel forever.
In a way, it's hard to hate on a series that gave us a fully-ripened version of David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff and bodacious beauties like Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth. (Hey, even future "Game of Thrones" Kahl Drogo Jason Momoa's pecs got a workout here first!) But the most watched show in the world (a title it held for some years)? That was a beach too far.
Hey! No! 'Macarena'
"The Macarena" was an infectious, Spanish-language dance tune that came with its own easy-to-learn hand jive/dance ... and like all viruses, took a lot to eradicate. Good luck getting that earworm out of your head now!