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  • Writer's pictureThe Gimp

Nostalgia: What The 90s Got Right

This image brings back so many memories of the 90s. Friday night, when my abusive, evangelical father was in a good mood, he'd let me watch TV in the Games Room of our house, while he watched in the living room. Fortunately, owing to the progression in his hearing loss, while his TV was blasting from the other room, I knew if I kept the volume on the little Sony TV my mom had won in the early 90s down, he'd never hear the "sinful" things I was watching in my late teens.

The only challenge was one of multitasking, and anyone who knows me knows that it's remarkable I pulled this off. I had to make sure I kept track of what channel he was watching. If he ever landed on the same channel as me, there would be an echo that would bounce from one room to the other. If he decided to channel surf, I had to have my foot on the channel button on the TV, which was on the floor, so I could hit it the moment he got to channel 36 or 37, because 39 was fast approaching.

The irony was, he was watching all the same programs while lecturing me on how it would lead to hellfire.

I remember in the 80s hearing him talk at the dinner table about how "unsuitable" The Simpsons

was, as he proceeded to repeat notable quotes from the show as if he was a regular viewer. One day, I came out of the Games Room into the living room as he was watching another Showcase favourite, a raunchy HBO supernatural thriller from the 80s called The Hitchhiker, and asked him casually what it was, and he told me like it was his first time watching. Well, he was in for a big surprise, if that was the case.

After The Hitchhiker, it was Strangers, another HBO production, this time from the mid-late 90s that I have yet to track down online. It was probably the best of the so-called "erotic thriller" TV shows of that time. It was very much "of that era." Gone were the violent themes and imagery, as well as the creepy supernatural elements. Instead, it was glossy, seductive, raunchy and explicit.

Then came the final 30 minute raunch-fest before some NC-17 Rated uncut movie - Red Shoe Diaries. You know, the one with David Duchovny from The X-Files. That one wasn't bad and, like The Hitchhiker, featured a few actors who would become more recognizable in the future. I guess it centred around this guy whose girlfriend cheated on him and dumped him for someone else, so he sets up an ad in the newspaper for women to send in raunchy stories, because somehow that would help him get over the breakup. Hey, I didn't say it had to make complete sense!

In the early 2000s, Showcase co-produced the only erotic TV series of quality from the female perspective that I've ever seen, Bliss. The basic plot line was usually about a woman, young or old, gay or straight, having a sexual awakening. Either she's considering becoming a nun and hasn't been there before, or she's a married woman and her husband or wife is boring her to death. Or she's just sexually repressed, horny and some random male model with a suave accent who lost his razor at the beginning of the week decides to show her a good time. Female fantasies, I guess. I'm not here to judge - to each their own. But it was well done and only ran for about 30 minutes including commercials, so there was less time and opportunity to descend into a modern 50 Shades of Grey. And unlike that show, it never disrespected or hated its characters, even when they behaved in ignorant, heartless and stupid ways.

Somewhere along the line, Showcase also aired another short-lived TV show called Kink. And it's about what you think it's about. It was literally a non-gender-targeting, reality-ish version 50 Shades of Grey, only the subjects weren't necessarily psychopaths and none of them would have passed for a model. It was just people who were actually into bondage and S&M. I remember my dad mentioning the show once, not knowing that I was aware of it. Being who he was, it was all centred around appearance, particular weight class. I'll close with a famous Dad Quote on the show.

"It's no wonder those people are into such perverted things. They're all fat and ugly. That's the only way they can get someone to want them."
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