There a few things that they just don't make like they used to, and television is definitely one of them. TV in the '90s had a certain je ne sais quoi about it; something that made your childhood heart pitter patter at the thought of TGIF programming, something that makes you woozy with nostalgia when you think back on all the killer '90s TV you were blessed with. Which is why there are TV characters from the '90s that every parent has to explain to their child. Because your kids deserve that connection to the TV shows and characters that shaped you when you were a child.
From the TV characters starring on shows directed at your age bracket to those who starred on shows that were on way past your bedtime, there's no denying that the '90s were a golden era of TV shows and colorful characters. Whether you related to these characters on some sort of spiritual level or simply took note on how not to act from their behavior, the following TV characters of the '90s are here to remind you just how much you miss them, and just how valuable they can be to your children.
1. Clarissa Darling from 'Clarissa Explains It All'
A true hero of the '90s, Clarissa Darling had it all — a killer wardrobe, an annoying little brother, and a mind of her own. She was interested in gaming and coding, and she never changed for the sake of what other people thought she should be as a young lady. A girl with a mind of her own, Clarissa is a great role model for children everywhere.
2. Topanga Lawrence from 'Boy Meets World'
Topanga was written on Boy Meets World as protagonist Corey's love interest, but over the years she became so much more. Stealing so many scenes and dominating plenty of storyline arcs, Topanga became a role model for young women everywhere, and her messages of love, self acceptance, and truth, are still relevant today.
3. Dana Scully from 'The X Files'
Though staying up late to watch The X Files with my dad always meant I was going to have alien infested nightmares, I did it because of my love for Dana Scully. She was a practical, no-nonsense, hard-working, bad*ss FBI agent who proved to girls of the '90s everywhere that you could do anything as long as you put your mind to it, including surgery on possible aliens.
4. Steve Urkel from 'Family Matters'
The resident nerd of the '90s, Steve Urkel is a wonderful character to share with your children. Urkel was confident in who he was as a person, no matter what other people said about him. Though he was gangly, clumsy, and nasally, he worked his way into the hearts of almost everyone on Family Matters, proving that being yourself is the best you can be.
5. Kevin Arnold from 'The Wonder Years'
From the magic of love to the burden of having an older brother who bullies you, Kevin Arnold has a wealth of knowledge to share with your children. The Wonder Years shared the trials and tribulations of growing up, and what kid can't appreciate that?
6. Blossom from 'Blossom'
Considering the first episode of Blossom featured the titular character getting her period and wishing she could talk to her mother who left the family to live in Paris, this show started out of the gates with enormous life lessons. From figuring out life after her mother left, to distinguishing between right and wrong as a teenager, and learning that being a good friend isn't always easy, Blossom has tons of lessons to teach kids who are facing their teenage years and growing up.
7. Angelica Pickles from 'Rugrats'
Angelica Pickles is the perfect character to show your children lessons in how not to act. Her tantrums about the rest of the children on the show never got her anywhere, and neither did her selfish cookie binges. Angelica was a conniving little monster on Rugrats, even if her mom was one of the most feminist TV characters of the '90s.
8. Daria Morgendorfer from 'Daria'
Though you might have thought Daria was a show that only appealed to hopeless sarcastic feminists of the '90s, the show and its lead character Daria Morgendorfer had surprisingly poignant lessons to deliver about friendship and family when you don't feel like you fit in. Daria can teach your kids all there is to know about the perfect delivery of sarcasm, and that you don't need to fit in to find yourself.
9. Phoebe Buffay from 'Friends'
Phoebe was never afraid of marching to the beat of her own drum, and while her antics were perfect for television, they're also a perfect way to teach your kids that being true to yourself is more important than most things in this world.
10. Mr. Feeny from 'Boy Meets World'
The best teacher of all time, Mr. Feeny always had choice advice for the kids of Boy Meets World. Turn on a few of his best episodes to share the sage wisdom of Feeny with your kids.
11. Carlton Banks from 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air'
Carlton grew up wealthy with wardrobe full of patterned sweaters, and often felt he was above certain things because of it. But when his cousin Will moved to town from a less than affluent background, Carlton was challenged to learn to accept someone from a different background than his, and challenged to welcome someone he wouldn't necessarily choose to be his friend as family. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had lessons galore, thanks to Carlton.
12. Doogie Howser from 'Doogie Howser M.D.'
The youngest doctor of all time, Doogie Howser faced struggles your kids can only dream about. With difficult decisions to make at every turn, and the doubt of his colleagues weighing down on his shoulders, Doogie will teach your kids that, while it's possible to work hard and achieve your dreams, it's not always smooth sailing to get there.
13. Tia Landry & Tamera Campbell from 'Sister, Sister'
Aside from making your kid wish they had a secret twin hiding out in the universe somewhere, Sister, Sister also has a few lessons to teach. Tia and Tamera are perfect characters to help teach your children to expect the unexpected, and how to get along with their siblings when they don't necessarily feel like getting along with their siblings.
14. Ashley Spinelli from 'Recess'
Spinelli is a little spitfire who hates her first name, and is considered the leader of the Recess gang. Although her aggressive and antagonistic attitude leave much to be desired, she is fiercely protective of her friends and a wonderful role model for any child who struggles with who they are and who they want to be.
15. Eliza Thornberry from 'The Wild Thornberrys'
One of the greatest cartoon feminists of the '90s, Eliza Thornberry is a curious 12-year-old who often lands herself in sticky situations because she can talk to animals. Boys and girls alike can learn from Eliza's ability to find a place of her own in the crazy world she lives in while traveling with her family.
16. Zack Morris from 'Saved By The Bell'
One of the most iconic characters of the '90s, Zack Morris had moments both good and bad throughout his tenure as Bayside's blonde babe. But regardless of his behavior, there was always a lesson to be found in Zack's antics. Whether he was trying to woo Kelly Kapowski or crashing Mr. Belding's beloved car, Zack is a great character to introduce to your children, proving that your great ideas aren't always so great, and that there are consequences to every action.
17. Buffy Summers from 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
Buffy Summers was a beacon of shining girl power light in the '90s — kicking butt, taking names, and figuring out how to be a teenager without losing her mind or her life. She's a fierce role model for young girls, because Buffy never doubted her ability to fulfill her destiny because she was a girl. In fact, she out-does all of the male characters on the show when it comes to physical ability, and is hardly daunted by any demon just because he's a dude.
18. Roseanne Conner from 'Roseanne'
Loud, straight-shooting, sarcastic, and full of sass, Roseanne was the hardest working mother on TV. She's an epic character to introduce to your children, to show that yes, moms have lives too, and that even when it doesn't seem like it, they do have their children's best interest at heart.
19. Lisa Simpson from 'The Simpsons'
This classic character of the '90s is one you can still find on TV today, and she's still as smart and sassy as ever, providing a great role model for both young girls and boys who value their own passions over fitting in with the crowd.