Picture it, it's 1999…the 1,999th year of the Common Era and Anno Domini designations. It's the 999th year of the 2nd Millenium, the 99th year of the 20th century, and the 10th and final year of the greatest decade ever…the 1990's. Depending on the month, you could be sitting at home with your fun dip, drinking your Surge and watching the brand new series Batman Beyond, or sitting in your living room crying in your Chicago Bulls jersey as you watched Michael Jordan announce his retirement, or you could be giving your brother a Stone Cold Stunner as you watch the debut episode of The Rock's Show…Smackdown; or it could be December 31st, 1999…you are in your basement, huddled up together with your family, 8 12 packs of water, a room full of non perishable foods, and your parents telling you to duck down in the corner…
Yeah, that’s a vastly different array of things for one year isn't it? I even failed to mention the fact that a whole new generation of Star Wars fans were born, a new style of gameshows started on evening TV, Jansport was the king of backpacks for all the cool kids, and Tyler was actually now one of the top 10 baby names for a boy…10 years after a legendary Tyler was already born of course.
So here's what we are gonna do Nerds, I am going to discuss some of the big things that were going on in final year before the Y2K hit. So how about ya sit back, relax, Nerds throw on your trench coats, Nerdettes grab your bucket hats; we are gonna party like it's 1999!!!!!
Ok so obviously we got a lot to cover Nerd Nation. I am gonna talk about Entertainment, Celebrities, News, Trends… Thor almighty this may become a two parter…ladies and gentlemen. So why don't we get into it.
Now I know out a doubt that 1999 paved the way for our modern Nerd Culture. Without the films of that year, and the path they set us on, there is no Avengers: Endgame, there is no Justice League, there is no Paranormal Activity. The films in 1999 are to thank for what we are streaming over and over again on our devices or popping in the DVD player when we need our fix for the 88th time. So I am going to talk about some of the biggest blockbusters to come out of 1999.
Blair Witch Project- found footage movement
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Galaxy Quest - it's a better Star Trek movie than the Star Trek Movies of the modern era
10 Things I Hate About You
My gosh the list goes on. Now there is no doubt that some of those titles paved the way for some of us Nerds and what we love today. Fun Fact: The top 5 grossing films of 1999 are as follows from #5 to #1 - Tarzan, The Matrix, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Toy Story 2, and finally at number 1…The Sixth Sense. For the most part, some of these were the beginning of a movement in film. Some of that movement was to either change the way we think, second guess what is real, or maybe even second guess who you really are. But enough of the big screen, lets talk about some TV shows that came out of 1999.
ED, Edd, and Eddy
Avenger: United they stand - only had one season, so congrats on being a 99 exclusive
And of course, a show that paved the way for the direction animated shows would go… January 31,1999 the first episode of Family Guy debuts. Yes, The Simpsons truly paved the way for mature animated tv, but without Family Guy, we don't have American Dad, Brickleberry, or over half the crappy animated shows on Adult Swim and Comedy Central. So here's to you Seth McFarland. Now let's get out of the screen and into the airwaves. Music.
This year was an epicenter of audio entertainment. We had NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilaria, Brittany Spears, Destiny's Child, Eminem, Brian McKnight, Jennifer Lopez, Blink 182, Limp Biskit, Jamiriqui…ok let's not talk about those last two. But seriously, let's talk about some of these artists.
Without Eminem, 98% of your crappy soundcloud mumbling crappers wouldn't exist or even try to be him. EMINEM IS THE GOAT.
Without Destiny's Child, we have no Queen B. Beyonce may have stuck out as the front runner of the group, but without her years in the group, we don't have the smash hits we sing of hers.
Without NSYNC, there is no JT. I'll say it. They were the first live concert I ever saw. NSYNC. 5th grade. Justin Timberlake hovered 10 feet above my head during Neverland…sigh. From that day, I knew he was gonna be a star.
The last one I really wanna get in detail about is the fact that Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, or any of those Warped Tour high gloss punk bands would not be here without Blink-182. Yeah, Green Day was and will always be my go to punk band and bigger, but in 1999, Blink-182 was punk king for a while. There wasn't a 90's teen or college humor movie that didn't have All The Small Things or What's My Age Again in the album.
So basically what all these names have in common is they were on top in 99, some rode that wave and are still there. Some not so much, but the lasting impact these artists had on today's music is big.
1999 brought us many celebrity names that are still going strong today. Some were on the big screen, some sitcoms, and some were voicing our favorite cartoons and we had no clue…heh little shameless plug for last weeks episode. So why don't we talk about the names that were blowing up in 1999.
Every teen and college comedy buff knew the name Jason Biggs. American Pie launched his name into the stratosphere for a time. He is still around, but he will never be as pinnacle as the first American Pie movie.
Jennifer Love Hewitt. Ah yes, one of my biggest 90's crushes. Most of my fellow 30 year plus friends will remember her from her run in the I Know What You Did Last Summer franchise. However, modern television watchers would know her from Fox's hit show 911.
Even though this guy was big before 99, his hit film Big Daddy put him on track to a different kind of fame. Now everyone knows Adam Sandler. Now, we know he has a bit of diversity to him.
Now trust me, there are so many names I could talk about, Keanu Reeves, Halley Berry, Jennifer Anniston, Courtney Cox, Tia and Tamara, but goodness… that would take all season. So I implore you to look up the top stars of 1999. It's fun to see who is still on top, and those who left the world of fame for "real life."
1999 had a lot of trends. Whether it was the trapper keeper, the cheesy teen movies, weird pet toys, or crazy matching outfits on the red carpet a la Marilyn Manson and Rose McGowan at the MTV VMAs….yeah Rihanna dressing like The Pope is great and all, but…you should peep out that picture.
So let's talk about some of the biggest trends of 1999…who knows, maybe some of them are still going and you don't even know it.
Ridiculously baggy trousers - yup…that one hasn't left
Cheesy Teen Movies…hmmm still going
Pokemon Cards…yup still going
A President doing something he shouldn't do….
In 1999 business casual was preferred over the traditional suit, tattoos and piercings were practically required, showing your thong over your low rise jeans was a thing, crop tops and capris was the uniform of every female character in any teen movie or popular school princess you were crushing on. Old Navy became the must shop location for sweats, hoodies, tees. Hawaiian shirts were the norm and people loved pastel colors. Some 60's and 70's fashion returned like stick straight hairstyles for women. Your girlfriend was either trying to be Katie Holmes from Dawsons Creek or Britney Spears in Baby One More Time, and the boys were trying to be either Billy Joe Armstrong or Justin Timberlake. So, one would almost ask…did these trends ever leave?
Now that we have talked about the fun stuff… it's time to get serious…time to talk about the biggest news for 1999. No, I'm not talking about him, (Bill Clinton). But for some…1999 was the end. Some of us didn't make it to the new year…we lost a lot of good people on December 31, 1999. That's right…it's time to discuss the Y 2 K…
I mean come on… those of you who make fun of us for Y2K…let's discuss 2012 shall we. It's an easy mistake to make I guess. I mean who ever knew that impending doom was going to be so popular. No other issue in the history of the world has brought hermits, religious zealots, survivalists, thrill seekers, techno wizards, and clueless politicians like the Y2K bug…well I guess until now. Wow. We really are repeating things aren't we. Only difference is this one is actually killing people. Everyone has opinions, but no one has answers do they? Maybe if we had all listened to the words of the late great Prince that read:
If you didn’t come to party, don’t bother knockin on my door.
I got a lion in my pocket and baby he's ready to roar.
Yeah, everybody's got a bomb, we could all die one day.
But before I'll let that happen, I'll dance my life away.
Then again…maybe we shouldn't…hmmm.
Ok so basically what Y2K was or the "Y2K or Millennium Bug" was this:
Y2K was shorthand for "year 2000" used to to refer to widespread programming shortcut that was expected to cause extensive havoc, as the year changed from 1999 to the year 2000. Instead of four digits for the year, many computer programs only allowed two digits. For example, 1999 was simply 99. As a result, there was immense panic that computers would be unable to operate when the date switched from 99 to 00. The change was believed to bring down computer system infrastructure, such as those of banking and power plants. While there was panic…you know real wrath of God type stuff, human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria; not much actually happened.
So listen. All I am saying is 1999 paved the way for what we have today…whether its in our Nerd Culture or not. 1999 evolved us as Nerds. We learned a lot, we changed, we used the big things in 1999 and in the years after that perfected our craft. We moved from Nintendo to Sony and Microsoft after this year. We went from Mario to Snake and Crash Bandicoot. We went from cartridges to discs. In 1999 we began to shift into a more modern Nerd. We shifted in style, hobbies, games, movies, television, and so much more. I call the 90's The Golden Era. Maybe I am biased, but you can't argue that the finale of the 90's…1999…The Year 1,999 AD…was where the scales and the odds tipped ever in our favor.