"Remember When..." is a weekly feature every (#Throwback)Thursday where we look back on a moment that changed the world of pop culture forever. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the reminder that you are getting SO OLD.
What Happened: The date was...sometime in 1994. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen had come off a string of direct-to-video hits (1992's To Grandmother's House We Go, 1993's How the West Was Fun). To continue their success, they started a new direct-to-video series The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley. First up: The Case of Thorn Mansion.
They sang, they danced, the solved The Case of the Christmas Caper and The Case of the U.S. Space Camp Mission, among others. Their adventures continued on, in book form, in The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, while the Olsens moved on to another series (You're Invited to Mary-Kate & Ashley's Party, 1995-2000).
The golden years of their direct-to-video empire were from 1999-2001 (from Passport to Paris to Holiday in the Sun). In 2004, their direct-to-video reign ended when New York Minute hit theaters. It would be Ashley's last role.
But the mysteries came first. And these two sleuths could solve any crime by dinnertime.
What Else Was Happening: When The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley first began in 1994, Tonya Harding's ex-husband was clubbing ice-skating rival Nancy Kerrigan and, later that year, Russian troops moved out of the Baltic states. It was also the year Friends began to air.
Their second series, You're Invited, concluded in 2000, the same year that Lindsay Lohan shone bright and shone far, like a star, in the TV movie Life-Size, and a year before Lizzie McGuire arrived on The Disney Channel.
In 2004, the year of their film film, New York Minute, Mary-Kate entered rehab for anorexia.
How We Remember It
Tierney Bricker, TV Scoop Editor: "Confession: There is no greater MK&A fan than I. Actually, that's not a confession. It's a declaration of pride. I have seen every single straight-to-video masterpiece those perfect humans released and re-watched them all dozens of times. The mysteries, the parties, the holiday-themed movies featuring the twins hanging with wildly inappropriate and slightly offensive adults (lookin' at you, Mr. N in Double, Double, Toil and Trouble).
"What I really remember are the ones when the Olsens were a bit older and traveled all over the world in ridiculously preposterous set-ups. (They were in the witness protection program! Their grandfather was the U.S. ambassador to France! They were the stars of their Model U.N. team!)
"One came out every year, starting with Passport to Paris in 1999 (which featured their first on-screen kisses—and Mary-Kate's first-ever kiss!). Every time a movie came out, my cousin Jacqui and I would watch it and then call each other to discuss. You can't imagine the conversation after Ashley, that little hussy, full-on made out with her love interest in an air vent in Winning London.
"I'd like to say we grew out of that phase, but no, we still called each other and lost our s--t over many of the straight-to-video love interests returning at the end of 2003's The Challenge, and we still quote Holiday in the Sun, their best work IMNSHO (in my not so humble opinion) on the reg."
John Boone, E! Loves Editor: "My childhood is just a blur of Mary-Kate and Ashley memories. I remember The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley for the songs, mostly. I think I could still sing every word to that ‘Bravery! Three cheers for bravery!" song. The actual mysteries I couldn't tell one from the other though. I think there was one with bees? And I remember they went to Sea World, because at the time my dream job was to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World (this was a pre-Blackfish world, people).
"Of everything that happened in those series, for some reason I remember being obsessed with their dog, his name was Clue, and knowing who their siblings were (their siblings in the movies were their siblings in real life!). I still remember the episodes with Elizabeth (then: Lizzie) Olsen. It's funny watching her play a superhero now.
"I wanted to join the fan club, but I wasn't allowed to. THANKS FOR NOTHING, MOM.
"I've seen almost all the other movies too (loved Billboard Dad and Holiday in the Sun, but my favorite Mary-Katy and Ashley movie of all time was It Takes Two. I had a "can't-eat, can't-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff" love for Kirstie Alley.) But, I admit I have not seen The Challenge. I don't remember why."
What was your favorite Mary-Kate and Ashley movie? Tell us in the comments.