Great Moments in ’90s TV

We’ll always remember making dozens of jokes about Felicity’s hair, rolling our eyes at Ross’s very Ross gaff at the altar, or trying to guess who shot Mr Burns. How about you?

Felicity’s Hair

So, Felicity, star of the eponymous teenage drama, starts the second season reeling from her breakup with Ben and decides to go from fantastic curls to a not-so-great pixie cut.

And then there was a ratings crash. And fan outrage. And angry letters to the studio. Again, over a haircut.

In an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina quips, “Why is everyone looking at me like I’m the girl who told Felicity to cut her hair?!” That’s how big of a deal Felicity’s shorn locks was. In fact, One Tree Hill, Buffy, Family Guy, 30 Rock, Six Feet Under, and Happy Endings have all made jokes about what may be the most infamous haircut of all time.

Ratings didn’t come back until her hair did. And fans are still arguing about it. Was it star Keri Russell’s fault? Or writer J.J. Abrams? And was it all worth it?

Newhart Wakes from His Dream

Thirty million people tuned in to see the series finale of Newhart, the comedy series about a New York big shot turned Vermont innkeeper who is a sane normal guy surrounded by a small town full of oddballs and weirdos—a formula only partly cribbed by Schitt’s Creek. Then, in the final moments, lead actor Bob Newhart wakes up in bed next to Suzanne Pleshette, who played his wife in his more grounded 1970s show, The Bob Newhart Show. “Honey, wake up, you won’t believe the dream I just had,” he quips. It was a bold ending but one that the audience loved. In fact, this was parodied by Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad, years later.

Bill Clinton on Arsenio

Back in 1992, Arsenio Hall was the coolest talk show host on TV and presidents didn’t do things that were cool or fun. Sure, Nixon tried by going on Laugh-In, but that didn’t work. Then, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton showed up on the coolest talk show in town and played a saxophone rendition of the Elvis classic “Heartbreak Hotel.” Ever since then, presidents have been doing jokes on late night and poking fun at themselves with Zach Galifianakis.

Who Shot Mr. Burns?

The end of The Simpsons, season six, has Mr. Burns finally shot for his many evils. That particular episode is full of clues, and fans spent the summer trying to figure out who the culprit could be. Producers were worried about leaks, so they animated lots of footage of other characters, including Apu and Smithers, pulling the trigger. Ultimately, only one fan on a forum dedicated to the show figured out that it was Maggie—but producers were unable to contact said fan.

Ellen Comes Out

In a 1997 episode of Ellen, Ellen finally admits to herself and her therapist that she can’t sleep with a potential boyfriend because she’s gay. Then, when she goes to an airport to admit this to a gay woman she has a crush on (Laura Dern in one of her best roles), she inadvertently comes out over the PA. It’s a bit of light-hearted sitcom wackiness, but it was also such a big deal.

Elton John at Di’s Funeral

Between two and two and a half billion people tuned in to watch the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, making it one of the most watched events in history. The most memorable part, for many, had to be Elton John’s rendition of “Candle in the Wind,” rewritten as a tribute for Diana, with whom he was good friends. This remains his only performance of the rewritten version; in concert, Elton John only sings the 1973 original “Candle in the Wind.” The song was only ever released as a single sold to benefit Diana’s charities and as part of the BBC’s soundtrack of the funeral. He has vowed never to perform the song live again unless asked by Diana’s sons.

Ross Marries Emily

The season four finale of Friends had a lot going on: a bunch of British guest stars, Chandler and Joey traipsing around London, and Chandler and Monica finally getting together. And then the whole thing goes sideways when Ross says Rachel’s name during the vows instead of Emily. Yep, that’s peak Ross right there.