No one thought it was the least bit strange that a 13-year-old and her teenage friends were able to break into complex computer systems and save an entire space station (filled with plenty of competent adults) in Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century when it premiered on the Disney Channel back in 1999. Hey — leave it to Disney to so effortlessly expand the imaginations of young children. #Expectations. Out of all the epic Disney Channel Original Movies, Zenon was a surefire classic from the start, purely because the main character — Zenon, of course — was unique, an OG, and individual. (Also, the movie included musical genius Prota Zoa.) But, what a lot of '90s kids might not realize is that there’s a lot we never really questioned about Zenon back then besides the entire premise of the movie.
Zenon quickly became many a '90s kid's idol, and most of us knew the lyrics to “Supernova Girl” in no time. But, watching the flick before you even began going through puberty may have caused you to miss some things. I can’t blame you. Zenon’s no-bullsh*t attitude and the flick’s hilariously '90s CGI were much too captivating to catch things like Greg’s on-point swag game or Nebula’s unnecessary obsession. Also, many things in the film were also ahead of their time, which has me thinking this whole movie was scripted by psychics.
You be the judge. Here are 16 things you never noticed watching Disney’s most acclaimed work, Zenon.
1. The Movie Was Actually Based On A Book
In the opening scene, an on-screen graphic tells us this cinematic masterpiece is actually based on the 1996 children's book of the same name by Marilyn Sadler. A tidbit that's out of this world, am I right?
2. Zenon Was Probably The Biggest Narcissist Of All Time
Anyone ever notice that Zenon's alarm clock was a video of herself? Or that she kept it on even after she woke up? ICYMI, it's game-changing message of self-love was: "May I be the first to tell you how fully stella-narious you look, as usual?!" Props.
3. Chelsea Clinton Will Be President In 2049
Once Zenon is done looking at her glorious, one-of-a-kind alarm clock, she stumbles in late to class when her teacher is giving a lecture on President Chelsea Clinton. Here's part of it:
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about President Clinton is that, unlike her father, Bill — who also held the office at the close of the last century — President Chelsea Clinton has taken a forceful and unwavering stand in favor of the harvesting of underwater vegetation as a major source of energy and food. Miss Clinton believes our oceans are the new frontier.
Look out, Hil.
4. Disney Actually Makes Fun Of Itself, Specifically Its Innovative And Intellectual Lyrics Sang By Fictional Global Superstar Prota Zoa
Recall one of Prota Zoa's deepest lyrics from "Supernova Girl": "There's no gravity between us/ Our love is automatic." When I was eight, I thought this sh*t was real love. Leave it to Zenon's all-too-wise friend Leo to come in and shut it down with the best backhanded compliment ever: "Their songs have melodies, I mean those guys are so antimatter, you can actually understand their lyrics." Boom.
5. Zenon And Nebula Made Us Skepical Of Men Nice And Early
Their response to Leo's aforementioned truth tea was: "What'd you expect? Men." In harmony, might I add.
6. Wait. The Shade In This Movie Was Honestly Next Level
This movie is where shade was invented. Rather it be in the space station or on Earth, no one was safe from the knife-cutting zingers. Here are some of my faves:
- Zenon's icy shade to her friend who doubted she would win the Prota Zoa contest: "What is she? New in the galaxy?"
- Zenon's undercut to Nebula, who didn't feel like flying out into space alone: "Why be in the audience, Neb, when you have chance to be center stage?"
- When Zenon's parents were punishing her, she came at them with this shady sorcery: "Must make you proud to know you're raising a leader, huh?"
- Zenon's nickname for Commander Edward Plank was "Plank the blank," and Mr. Lutz was obviously "Lutz the klutz."
- When Nebula was over Zenon's crap: "With you for my BF, you better be glad I'm not dead from the stress."
- When Zenon made her debut on Earth as a teenager and someone said to mega biotch Margie, "You don't see that everyday," she slyly replied, "I wouldn't want to."
- Then there was Zenon's comeback at Margie (who made fun of her outit) that I'm pretty sure is in history books now: "It's the Halloween thing! Now lend me that mask you're wearing, and I'll have the most hideous major costume ever."
- Even nice guy Greg wasn't opposed to throwing that shade. Here he was telling Margie that them as an item was never going to happen: "Swallow the reality pill, read my flappy lips"
- And lastly, was shade king Wyndham, who straight-up called his partner-in-crime Kutz "overpaid [and] spineless."
7. There Was The Very Adult "Stress Helmet" And "Chill Chamber"
As an adult, I still don't even want to know what damage these two things were capable of fixing.
8. Wyndham Offers Zenon A PR Job
When Zenon first meets Wyndham and Kutz while raving about the space station, Wyndham offers her the gig for the future and says, "We could definitely use your services." I had no idea what PR even meant until my sophomore year of college.
9. Codes Were In The Iconic Wingdings Font
I was too busy taking in all of Zenon's badassery to even care, honestly.
10. Nebula Was Obsessed With Sunglasses
Pretty sure she didn't need them up there, in space. So. There's that.
11. Um, Why Was It So Easy To Get Back And Forth From Space?
It was a hop, skip and a jump to get to Earth, but I didn't even think twice about this, ever.
12. The Movie Was Actually Ahead Of Its Time With Chargeable Cars
Check out this solar vehicle recharging port. Pretty slick, eh?
13. The Same Can Be Argued About The Data Zapp
Steve Jobs and every FaceTime user has someone to thank here.
14. Aunt Judy's Oscar-Worthy Line: "The Firmer The Betta!"
We know she's talking about preferring Earth to space, but is there sexual innuendo here or am I just that perverted? Anyone?
15. According To The Brains Behind The Zenon Operation, New Jersey Is The Worst Place On Earth.
Margie tells Zenon she "must be from some viral extreme place like Eastern Jersey." Later, Greg explains that "viral" was slang for nasty. You do the math.
16. Greg Was Baller AF
The 13, maybe 14-year-old kid buys Zenon dinner with money he makes from working at a horse stable. But don't worry: He lets her know it by sticking it to her with how many shifts he'll have to work to afford the meal. OG in the making.
Who else wants a rewatch right about now?!
Images: Disney Channel (7); Simon & Schuster; Giphy (9)