The wonders of modern technology allow us to access pretty much any piece of information we could possibly want to know within seconds of typing the query into Google. But some things? Some things remain unanswerable — and a lot of those unanswerable questions hail from the '90s. Because seriously, you guys. The '90s were a wonderful decade in which to be a kid… but they were also a phenomenally confusing decade in which to be a kid.
Part of me thinks that I'm being a little bit of a killjoy for asking these sorts of questions. Is it a tad reductive to forcibly direct your attention to things which might be better left unanswered? Probably. Whatever happened to the wonders of suspending your disbelief? Don't get me wrong — I still enjoy doing that — but when something either has no answer, or the answer makes no sense? That makes it a little tougher to just go with the flow.
And I can't be the only person who has found herself wracking her brain about these weird-o questions, right? My guess is that a good number of us remember, say, the frustration of watching Legends of the Hidden Temple and thinking, “Oh, come on — is that dang monkey really that hard of a puzzle to solve?”
So, in that spirit, here are 26 questions about the '90s that, for me, remain maddeningly unsolved. Got any to add?
1. Who or What Is the Phantom Menace?
I've always thought it referred generally to the insidious rise of the Empire going on underneath everyone's noses or specifically to Palpatine, but it occurs to me that nowhere in Star Wars: Episode One is this question actually answered.
2. Who Let the Dogs Out?
I know, I know — it's an old joke at this point, and technically the song wasn't a hit until 2000 (although it was apparently written in 1998). But the fact that we still don't know who let those dang pooches out bugs me more than it probably should.
3. What's in a Wonder Ball?
At least there's an easy way to figure this one out: Just open one up. Alas, it might be a little difficult to do now, given that Wonder Balls have been discontinued since 2004.
4. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Well? Are you?
5. Was the Shrine of the Silver Monkey Really That Hard to Put Together?
I realize that I bring up the Shrine of the Silver Monkey at pretty much every opportunity, but that's largely because I have so many unanswered questions about it. I mean, seriously — it was three pieces. How hard could it be? Possibly I am not taking into account the fact that scantily clad "Temple Guards" lurking in the corner to jump out at you might make you a tiny a bit nervous… but still, you guys. Three. Pieces.
6. Who Will Save Your Soul?
Jewel really wants to know. And so do I.
7. Do The Members Of The Baby-Sitters Club Ever Age?
They were 13 and in eighth grade for over 200 books. No one's year is that eventful.
8. What the Heck Is a Wonderwall?
And how is it possible for a person to be one?
9. Was Nickelodeon Slime Machine Washable?
According to the many people interviewed for Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age, there wasn't one stock recipe for slime. I always assumed it kind of had to be machine washable — otherwise the number of wardrobes it would have ruined would be enormous — but… what if it wasn't?
10. Does The Furbish Language Have A System of Grammatical Rules?
Or is it just nonsense syllables?
11. If Tamagotchi Are Aliens, Then How Did They Find Out About Earth?
That's some advanced science right there. I'm confused about why a creature so advanced would need us to make sure it eats and poops regularly.
12. And Why Did They Visit in the First Place?
Was it actually all part of a failed scheme to take over the planet?
13. Was the Roundhouse Actually Round?
Or, y'know, circular, at least?
14. Why Are Trix Only For Kids?
Seriously, guys? You couldn't give that dang rabbit one measly bowl of the stuff?
15. And Why Are They Always After This Guy's Lucky Charms?
Apparently we were in the business of either keeping cereal away from people or stealing it from other people.
16. Why Did the Batsuit Need Nipples?
The Joel Schumacher era of the Batman movies marked the first time the Batsuit was graced with rubber nipples. Although it's commonly believed that Schumacher was taking his cues from ancient statues of Greek gods, no one has yet figured out the functionality of nipples on a Batsuit.
17. How Did the Creators of Mr. Sketch Markers Get Those Scents So Darn Accurate?
I can only assume it was sorcery.
18. How Did We Convince Our Parents To Buy Us So Many Impractical Clothing Items?
Why did we need skate shoes if we didn't skate? Why was everything so comically oversized? Why were determined to jam our feet into uncomfortable plastic sandals?
19. Did Our Parents Hate Our Toys As Much As I Think They They Did?
Because you know that every time someone let loose with a Sky Dancer inside the house, they were already calculating the cost of replacing a broken window.
20. Were Our Parents Just Secretly Laughing At Us the Whole Time?
To be fair, they were all probably young adults in the '80s with huge, flammable hair and crazy blue eyeshadow, so at least we can laugh at them, too.
21. What Is “That Way?”
And why do the Backstreet Boys want it like that?
22. What Happens If You Do Go Chasing Waterfalls?
Sounds like a nice way to spend a hot summer day to me.
23. What Took Mulder and Scully So Long to Finally Get Together?
Years! Decades, even!
24. Where Do Treasure Trolls Come From?
Is there some sort of trollish hierarchy wherein the ones with jewels in their bellies enjoy all sorts of privileges those without do not?
25. Why Didn't Rose Just Move Over Already?
The powers of mathematics did eventually prove that both Jack and Rose trying to float on a heavy oak door would have sunk, so at least there's that. But at the same time: Why didn't she just try making room for him first before resigning him to the briny depths?
26. Why Hasn't Someone Invented a Time Machine Yet?
Or at least a hover board. Seriously. It's about time already.