Were The ’90s The Last Great Decade? [Video]
That's the premise of an upcoming National Geographic (NatGeo) Channel documentary, which is a little presumptuous, considering HUGE historical events like 9-11 and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars came a decade later.
About three in four (77%) believe that as a nation we were better off in the '90s than today, and that we were safer (74%) during that decade than today.
The '90s: The Last Great Decade?, narrated by Rob Lowe, revisits the ten years between the Cold War and the war on terror through 120 original interviews with newsmakers, major entertainers and thought leaders. The three-night event premiered Sunday, July 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.
Considering the Cold War ended when the Berlin Wall fell in the late '80s and the War on Terror kicked into full gear with eh events on September 11, 2001, the '90s were a decade od relative peace that gave us pop culture trends like grunge music, the Internet, reality TV, a tumultuous presidency, the bubble economy and Viagra. But was it the last great decade? Nearly a quarter of the nation (22%) thinks that it was. This is just one of the many revelations in a new National Geographic Channel (NGC) and Kelton Global survey seeking to answer that question and to gauge Americans' affection for the 1990s.
Politics – Bill Clinton As Popular As Ever
Among the survey's most interesting revelations is that if an election were held today and the candidates were Clinton v Obama (this time, Bill Clinton), almost three in four people (74%) would vote for Clinton. Perhaps forgetting the standoff that shut the government down for 27 days in 1995, 90% of Republicans would choose Clinton over Obama, compared with 61% of Democrats. This could also illustrate the fact that 61% of Americans think that the government was better overall in the '90s.
News Events – OJ Found Guilty
The O.J. Simpson double-murder trial was selected as the No. 1 news event of decade (23%) and, as we previously announced, 86% believe "The Juice" was guilty.
The death of Princess Diana (16%) finished second to the O.J. Simpson trial for newsworthy moment of the decade. Moreover, nearly half (47%) believe that there was a conspiracy at play in Diana's tragic passing. Her legacy lives on though, with 65% believing her to be a bigger style icon than her would-be daughter-in-law Kate Middleton. This is especially startling when you consider that only a quarter of the nation (25%) say fashions in the '90s were better than they are today.
Movies – King of the World or Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Though it spent 15 weeks at No. 1 at the box office, is No. 2 in overall domestic grosses, and won 11 Academy Awards, "Titanic" (21%) finished in a statistical tie for best movie of the decade with everyone's favorite underdog, "Forrest Gump" (22%). The survey also revealed some good news for Hollywood film studios: 59% think movies are better today than they were in the '90s.
Television – Is Nothing Really Better than Something?
Were television shows better in the '90s? — 53% think they were. But when asked to pick their favorite show from the decade, the nation proved divided. The "show about nothing," Seinfeld, narrowly took first (18%), followed by the "show about aliens," "X-Files" (17%), and the "show about friends," "Friends" (15%). But don't be too sad for the Central Perk gang: Joey Tribiani's (Matt Leblanc's) classic pick-up line "How you doin?" (24%) was selected as the '90s TV line people are most likely to quote and Ross & Rachel (32%) were selected as the nation's favorite TV couple of the decade (beating out Mulder & Scully from "X-Files" at 23% and Kelly & Zack from "Saved by the Bell" at 13%).
Music – I will always love you
Turns out that we will always love Whitney Houston, as her cover of "I Will Always Love You," from "The Bodyguard Soundtrack," easily took the title for the decade's top song at 32%, beating out Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at a distant 17%.
Celebrities – Rachel Green Carries the Decade
Three in 10 men (30%) chose "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston as the most crush-worthy '90s celeb, narrowly edging out Christina Applegate from "Married With Children" (27%). On the flip side, our hearts went on for Leonardo DiCaprio (28%), who is joined by John Stamos (23%) and Mark Wahlberg (16%) as the male icon women most had a crush on.
And finally, sorry Angelina: 35% of the nation chose Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt as the '90s celebrity couple they most wish was still together. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman finished a distant second with 13%.
Overall, the survey revealed that millions of people long for many of the trends and pop culture aspects of the 1990s. From politics and news events to movies and TV shows, Americans can't resist a healthy dose of '90s nostalgia injected into their days.