Monday 17 October 2016

Plots You'll Only See on '90s TV Shows

Fashion from the '90s is so iconic that it's always immediately clear when you're watching something from the decade. But considering that television has evolved so much in the past 20 years, there are plenty of other reminders that what you're watching is from another era.

Sure, today we might have subtle character drama and antiheroes galore, but in the '90s, we had weekly lessons and frequent crossovers between completely unrelated shows. Or how about clip shows, remember those? When's the last time your favorite sitcom took a week off to play scenes that have already aired?

In honor of those familiar storylines—and our '90s Nostalgia Week—we've compiled a list of the plots you'll only see on '90s TV shows.

1. The "Very Special Episode"

TV has taken a turn for the dark and self-serious lately—and tastes have evolved, meaning that the kind of moralizing that happened on a weekly basis is much less obvious, and these days is relegated to children's shows instead of your favorite sitcom.

But in the '90s, there were Very Special Episodes on a weekly basis—and there were quite a few different varieties of lessons to be learned. There were the weekly teaching moments, a la Full House or Home Improvement. There were the hot takes on current social issues, like the time when it seemed every show had a character that couldn't read (one of Jordan Catalano's few flaws on My So-Called Life).

Then there were the "just say no" episodes at the height of D.A.R.E.'s popularity—a la that episode of Hang Time where Anthony Anderson's character took up smoking, or the most epic example of all, Jessie Spano's caffeine pill freakout on Saved By the Bell.

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