WRITING: MUSKAN THIND
Welcome to the latest edition of ‘This week in nostalgia history,’ a new weekly column that delves into the wildest nuggets of news from the 90s, 2000s and beyond. We’re equal opportunists, which means the Bill Clinton scandal and that time Drew Barrymore flashed David Letterman are given equal weight. At a time when reality feels like something you’d like to turn away from, here’s a chance to look back at a time when a virus was just something you’d get after using LimeWire. This week in nostalgia history: Michael Jackson on Oprah, Jodie Sweetin reveals her meth addiction, Howard Stern kisses ass and more!
Howard Stern (literally) kisses ass live on air, February 5, 1991
It was January 27th, 1991. The Giants were playing against the Buffalo Bills at the Super Bowl. The score was 19 to 20 in the fourth quarter with the Giants in the lead. With eight seconds left on the clock, Scott Norwood, Buffalo Bills placekicker, had one of his most important moments in his football career. Norwood attempted a 47-yard field goal and missed, ultimately leading the Bills to their infamous Super Bowl loss.
Many around North America bet against the unexpected outcome of this game, and lost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Shock jock Howard Stern, however, lost his pride, as he made a bet with Marshall Leonard claiming that the Giants would lose. Rather than forking over cash, Stern had to kiss Marshall’s behind and shine his shoes, while all of Madison Avenue watched. In the clip that was aired on The Howard Stern Show in February of that year, you can see Marshall reluctant on taking off his pants, which lead Stern to kiss his butt over his jeans and shine his shoes. Stern’s final thought about bet was a resounding: “no more gambling for me.”
The Breakfast Club hits theatres, February 7, 1985
In his review of The Breakfast Club, lauded critic Roger Ebert cites the seminal eighties teen flick’s greatest success as creating “teenagers who might seem plausible to other teenagers.” In comparison to popular yet reductive films of the era (think Teen Wolf and Porky’s), The Breakfast Club was an authentic representation of the joys and pitfalls of the teenage years. This representation became a signature of director John Hughes, who was also the mastermind behind Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The film takes place one Saturday in 1984, when five high school students from different social cliques serve detention together. There’s the popular princess (Molly Ringwald), the jock (Emilio Estevez), the criminal (Judd Nelson), the nerd (Anthony Michael Hill), and the enigma (Ally Sheedy), who all, in their own way, provided something to relate to for teenagers of the era. The simplistic plot allowed for the characters’ depth to shine. It was raw and real, which is why many could so easily relate to the masterpiece.
The King of Pop airs his dirty laundry with the Queen of Television, February 10, 1993
None of us are strangers to the way Michael Jackson revolutionized the industry, while inciting controversy for his appearance, his parenting and the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him. And in 1993, after 14 years of not doing a single interview, Jackson sat down with Oprah Winfrey and let the world in on his story, on live television.
During the interview, Jackson touched on his loss of innocence throughout his childhood and adolescence, and later through suffering from emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father, Joe Jackson. “I love my father, but I don’t know him,” Jackson said. (Joe Jackson later denied all allegations that claimed he was abusive.)
Elsewhere in the interview, Jackson attributed his lightened skin to vitiligo, a skin disorder that caused him to lose pigmentation cells, and claimed to have “very, very little” plastic surgery. Towards the end of the Michael Jackson on Oprah interview, he told the host that he was in a relationship with Brooke Shields, who he’d known since the early 1980s. In the 2019 documentary Finding Neverland, one of Jackson’s accusers, James Safechuck, alleged that Jackson pursued high profile relationships, such with Shields and Lisa Marie Presley, so that the public wouldn’t get suspicious about his close friendships with young children.
28 years later, Michael Jackson on Oprah is still the most-watched interview in American television history.
Jodie Sweetin comes clean about her meth addiction, February 1, 2006
When popular family sitcom Full House ended in 1995, Stephanie Tanner was a sweet and wholesome teen. 13-year-old actress Jodie Sweetin, however, struggled to find her own identity in the ensuing years. At the age of 22, Sweetin developed a dependency for methamphetamine (also known as meth). Her addiction would ultimately lead to her divorce with her husband, a police officer who reportedly had no idea about her struggles with the addiction. She led a double life, which she divulged on Good Morning America in an interview with Robin Roberts on February 1, 2006.
Sweetin’s addiction originally came to the media’s attention after a three-day-bender back in 2005, which was reportedly followed by an intervention led by her former co-stars, the Olsen twins (Michelle Tanner), Bob Saget (Danny Tanner) and John Stamos (Uncle Jesse). Though Sweetin denies this claim, she checked herself into a six-week rehab clinic, has been clean ever since, and wrote about it all in her 2009 memoir, UnSweetened.