Pop Culture

Slam that Surge! 9 ways the totally sweet '90s live on

Think the '90s are gone? Tell that to your friend who's unwrapping a Ring Pop while reading "FoxTrot" in the Sunday paper, prepping for the "Mystery Science Theater" reunion, lounging on Lisa Frank bedding and counting the days till the "Twin Peaks" reboot.

That decade of scrunchies and grunge, Beanie Babies and the "Macarena" still lives on. In 2013, when my college friend Brian Bellmont and I wrote the book "The Totally Sweet '90s," some people told us it was too early for 1990s nostalgia. After all, we weren't even two decades away from the era of MC Hammer and "Melrose Place," and some people just weren't ready for it to be history.

We never get that reaction any more. Something about the three years between 2013 and 2016 has made the 1990s slip comfortably from "recent past" to "decade of fond memories." Maybe blame all those BuzzFeed 1990s features, or just the sheer number of '90s kids who now work in the media and find a certain comfort in reliving their past.

In honor of TODAY's "I Love the '90s" concert, here's a look at nine ways the decade of Palm Pilots and "Pop-Up Video" is still with us.

1. "Mystery Science Theater" is still circulating the tapes

The beloved commentary-over-bad-movies show was canceled in 1999, but its members formed similar groups Cinematic Titanic (now defunct) and RiffTrax. Now the original MST3K cast is reuniting for a live show in Minneapolis in June that'll be broadcast to theaters across the nation, and a Kickstarter-funded revived series is coming later this year. Push the button, Frank.

REX via Shutterstock
Twin Peaks , Sherilyn Fenn, Kyle Maclachlan

2. Fire walk with 'Twin Peaks'

26 years after Laura Palmer was found wrapped in plastic, the eerie 1990s series is returning this fall with a present-day version of the series. Much of the original cast, including Kyle MacLachlan and Sherilyn Fenn, will be back, and they'll be joined by Michael Cera, Eddie Vedder and others.

3. Lisa Frank is as vibrant as ever

In our book, we describe Lisa Frank's designs as looking like "an animated unicorn ate a rainbow and barfed all over America's junior-high lockers." The colorful designs are making a comeback — in addition to stickers and folders, you can now get everything from phone cases to bedding.

Lisa Frank
Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper

4. Find your way to 'Fargo'

Minnesota's Coen brothers delivered a gem of a movie in 1996, and forever gave woodchippers a bad name. Nearly 20 years later, the brothers now serve as executive producers on an equally quirky and well-reviewed FX TV series of the same name. Ya, you betcha dere.

5. Slam a Surge

Coca-Cola's citrusy soft drink was invented as a Mountain Dew competitor. Despite devoted fans, the Surge stopped surging in 2003, leading to social-media campaigns begging for its return. In 2014, Coke finally listened, and now you can guzzle the taste of the '90s in the familiar neon-green cans.

Surge soda

6. Crystal Pepsi's path isn't clear

The fad for clear beverages (Zima!) and other products (clear trash bags, why?) was a natively '90s craze, leading to the classic "Saturday Night Live" fake ad for Crystal Gravy. But at Christmas 2015, Pepsi gave in to nostalgia and brought back Crystal Pepsi, although only as part of a limited-time giveaway. In April, a fan shared a photo of a can and 20-ounce bottle, and rumor has it the see-through drink may be back in summer of 2016.

7. 'Joy of Painting' draws a new generation

Gentle-voiced Bob Ross and his "Joy of Painting" art-instruction show was a hit in the '90s, and his "happy little trees" are still growing. Streaming service Twitch.tv streamed all the "Joy of Painting" episodes beginning on what would've been Ross' 73rd birthday in November, and it was such a hit that the show was added to Twitch.tv's rotation.

Michael Yarish / Netflix
The cast of 'Fuller House' on set.

8. Filling up the house

"Full House" actually started in the 1980s, but it ran till 1995, and we consider it a '90s icon. In February 2016, the show was reborn as the spinoff "Fuller House," including much of the original cast, minus the Olsen twins.

RELATED: 11 'Fuller House' moments that will give you nostalgia

GIRL MEETS WORLD - Disney Channel's "Girl Meets World" stars Peyton Meyer as Lucas Friar, August Maturo as Auggie Matthews, Ben Savage as Cory Matthews, Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews, Danielle Fishel as Topanga Matthews, Sabrina Carpenter as Maya Hart and Corey Fogelmanis as Farkle.

9. A whole new 'World'

"Boy Meets World," which introduced '90s kids to Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence, was a staple of the TGIF block on ABC. Starting in 2014, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprised their roles on Disney Channel's "Girl Meets World," where they're now parents to teen Riley. Will the next revival be Steve Urkel and "Family Matters"?

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper is the co-author of "The Totally Sweet '90s" and "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops?"

  • Slideshow Photos

    Neal Preston

    Eddie Vedder Singing

    Grunge bands of the '90s

    From Alice in Chains to Temple of the Dog, grunge bands rocked the Northwest and beyond during the 1990s.

  • Eddie Vedder Singing

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    Pearl Jam

    Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder performs next to guitarist Mike McCready in Hollywood, Calif., in 1991. Pearl Jam, which included Stone Gossard on rhythm guitar, Jeff Ament on bass and had a series of drummers, including Dave Abbruzzese, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Krusen and Matt Cameron, formed in 1990 and have sold 30 million records in the U.S. Known for songs such as "Alive," "Even Flow" and "Better Man," the band fought a much publicized battle against Ticketmaster in 1995. The band reissued its seminal album, "Ten" in 2009. They plan to re-release their entire catalogue by 2011, which will mark the band's 20th anniversary.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • USA - Nirvana in Swimming Pool in Los Angeles

    Grunge bands of the '90s



    David Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Kurt Cobain, from left, of the band Nirvana, prepare for an underwater portrait in a North Hollywood, Calif., pool on Oct. 10, 1991. Nirvana first came together in 1987 in Aberdeen, Wa. The band was known for songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Rape Me" and "All Apologies." Cobain, who struggled with heroin addiction, a stomach ailment and his own personal demons related to a meteoric rise to fame, was found dead of a self-inflicted shotgun wound on April 8, 1994. Grohl went on to form The Foo Fighters, while Novoselic played in Sweet 75 and Eyes Adrift.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Layne Staley of Alice in Chains

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    Alice in Chains

    Layne Staley of Alice in Chains performs at Seattle's Paramount Theater circa 1997. The band, which included Jerry Cantrell on lead guitar, Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Starr and Mike Inez on bass, formed in 1987 and sold more than 14 million albums in the U.S. Alice and Chains were known for songs such as "Man in the Box," "Sea of Sorrow" and "Rooster." Staley battled drug addiction for years before finally dying of an overdose of cocaine and heroin on April 19, 2002. In 2006, the band reformed with William Duvall taking over on vocals.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Rock Band Screaming Trees

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    Screaming Trees

    The Screaming Trees pose for a portrait outside of Seattle's Triangle Pub in the mid-1990s. Guitarist Mark Lanegan, guitarist Gary Lee Conner, bass player Van Conner and drummer Mark Pickerel formed the band in 1985 in Ellensburg, Wa. In 1990, Barrett Martin replaced Pickerel and the band released their seminal album, "Sweet Oblivion," in 1992. Known for songs such as "Nearly Lost You," "Dying Days" and "Dollar Bill," the group disbanded in 2000.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Rick Diamond Music Archives

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    Stone Temple Pilots

    Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots performs in Atlanta's Lakewood Amphitheater on Oct. 1, 2000. The band, which features Robert and Dean DeLeo on bass and lead guitar and Eric Kretz on drums, first met in 1986, but officially became STP in 1992. Known for songs such as "Sex Type Thing," "Creep," and "Interstate Love Song," the band's success was tempered by Weiland's struggles with drugs. STP broke up in 2003. Weiland spent some time as part of Velvet Revolver, but Stone Temple Pilots are reportedly at work on a new album that should be released in 2010.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • Members of Soundgarden

    Grunge bands of the '90s



    Soundgarden, including, from left, lead singer Chris Cornell, bassist Ben Shepherd (who took over for Jason Everman and founding bassist Hiro Yamamoto), guitarist Kim Thayil, and drummer Matt Cameron (who took over for Scott Sundquist), formed in 1984. The band's hits included "Black Hole Sun," "Spoonman" and "Rusty Cage." While working on "Down on the Upside," tensions within the group grew and in 1997 the band split. Cornell has gone on to make solo albums and work with Audioslave. On March 24, Thayil, Cameron and Shepherd reunited with Tad Doyle on vocals to play a show at the newly reopened Crocodile Cafe.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Lollapalooza "95"

    Grunge bands of the '90s



    Courtney Love of Hole performs at the Cal Expo Amphitheatre in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 17, 1995. Hole, which featured lead guitarist Eric Erlandson, bassist Jill Emry and drummer Caroline Rue (who was eventually replaced by Leslie Hardy and Patty Schemel), formed in 1989. Hole was known for hits such as "Doll Parts," "Celebrity Skin" and "Malibu." Love married Kurt Cobain on Feb, 24, 1992. The couple had a daughter, Francis Bean, six months later. There was speculation that Cobain had written many of the songs on the album "Live Through This." The band disbanded in 2002 and Love began a solo career.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Members of Rock Band Mudhoney

    Grunge bands of the '90s



    Mudhoney, which includes lead singer and guitarist Mark Arm, bassist Matt Lukin, drummer Dan Peters and lead guitarist Steve Turner, formed in 1988. The band’s songs included "Touch Me I'm Sick," "Suck You Dry" and "Generation Spokesmodel." The band also brought recognition to Seattle indie record label Sub Pop. Lukin left the band in 1999 and was replaced by Guy Maddison. The band continues to record and tour; their latest album, "The Lucky Ones," was released in May 2008.

    Corbis / Corbis
  • Temple Of The Dog File Photos Marty Temme

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    Temple of the Dog

    Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden perform in Temple of the Dog at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, Calif., on Oct. 5, 1991. Temple of the Dog formed in 1990 as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the former lead singer of Mother Love Bone and Malfunkshun, who died of a heroin overdose. The lineup included guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament, guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron. The band's songs included "Hunger Strike," "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Pushin Forward Back." Temple of the Dog released one self-titled album.

    WireImage / WireImage
  • Members of the Melvins

    Grunge bands of the '90s


    The Melvins

    The Melvins, including singer/guitarist Buzz Osbourne, drummer Dale Crover (who replaced Mike Dillard) and Matt Lukin (who was replaced by Lori Black and later Joe Preston and finally by Jared Warren) on bass, formed in the early 1980s. Based in Aberdeen, Wa., the band found a fan in Kurt Cobain, who helped transport the equipment to shows. The Melvins continue to tour, sometimes with members of Big Business, and make records.

    Corbis / Corbis