'90s Week, TV Girl Squads

E! Illustration

'90s Nostalgia Week, Theme Week

At first glance, squads seem so 2016. It's all thanks to the proliferation of hashtags, emblazoned T-shirts, Taylor Swift (we said it), and the general squad-ification of Hollywood. But contrary to popular belief, this phenomenon wasn't all Swift's idea. The trend actually got its start on 90's television. 

When most people think of sitcoms of the era, they conjure images of bad hair, loud outfits, overused laugh tracks and cheesy morality-based story lines brought to the audience by Very Special Episodes. It's not a '90s sitcom if there isn't a teachable moment in the third act. 

But when you look beyond the constantly shifting love triangles and will-we-ever-get-tired-of-hearing-them catch phrases, what you'll find is a proliferation of girl squads that are awesome and inspiring enough to reach across decades. Millennials might not realize that they're actually totally copying Donna Martin and Michelle Tanner, but the evidence doesn't lie. 

FriendsMonica Gellar, Phoebe Buffay & Rachel Green

'90s Week, TV Girl Squads, Friends

Warner Bros.

These three friends were perhaps the most inspiring of the girl squads. They blew onto the scene in September, 1994 and took the nation by storm. No offense to Chandler, Ross and Joey, but the ladies were the real draw on this show. (No one was running to their hairdresser and demanding The Chandler, after all.) If we were the kind of people who endorsed the term #FriendshipGoals we would use it to describe the Central Perk three, but instead we'll say that they were always there for each other—they saw each other through the horrors of their twenties (getting fired, being constantly broke, failed date after failed date, failed career path after failed career path) and the realities of their thirties (marriages, babies and moving away).

They were also inherently so different, allowing fans of the show from all walks of life to choose one to identify with. Their was someone for everyone with the Friends squad: You could choose the neurotic type-A woman, the free spirit who refuses to succumb to society's idea of what a young woman's life should look like, or the girl whose life seems perfect but wakes up one day to realize she has no idea what she's doing. It seems heavy for a show that made jokes about things like banana hammocks, but thus was the backbone of its heart.

What's more, Friends was the ultimate meta storyline. The writers knew that they had a squad on their hands, and they had the characters face and discuss the different hardships that come with being a group of female friends. Soon enough one of those damn teachable moments snuck its way into your viewing of your favorite sitcom. Have you ever betrayed another goddess for a lightning bearer?

Beverly Hills, 90210Donna Martin, Kelly Taylor & Brenda Walsh

'90s Week, TV Girl Squads, Beverly Hills, 90210


Okay, so not all girl squads have to exist solely to be inspiring or personally aspirational. 90210 was not the show to find your role model or a realistic picture of what your life should or could look like. Instead, Brenda, Donna and Kelly cemented their place in the landmarks of pop culture history more for the fact that they were super cool and our younger selves totally wanted to be like them. It's called nostalgia, people.

Their lives were endlessly fascinating, their love lives were a sight to behold and all the drama they went through got us mentally out of the proverbial rut of our comparatively boring Midwestern lives. And the girls did offer a few lessons: the insanity of the rich students at West Beverly Hills High taught them all to really appreciate what they had. Plus, their outfits were super enviable.

Full HouseDJ Tanner, Stephanie Tanner & Michelle Tanner

'90s Week, TV Girl Squads, Full House


Tanner squad, assemble! When girl groups are made up of just friends, they'll inevitably drift apart. They'll graduate Beverly Hills High. They'll move out to Westchester and be unable to commute in for morning coffee at Central Perk. They'll get jobs of their own and not have time to show up onstage at the beck and call of the head squad leader who happens to need all her prettiest friends at her concert. But if you need built-in permanence with your girl squads, look no further than a group of sisters.

And thus, enter the Tanner family. Nowadays, sister squads are their own brand of cool—what with the sisters of Haim, Sasha and Malia Obama, the Olsen twins and of course the Kardashians—but DJ and her younger siblings were truly the OGs. They did everything together: They fought, they made up, they learned every life lesson under the book, they hugged all the damn time.

But we're not going to blame these innocent girls for Danny Tanner's shortcomings. We're focusing on the fact that everyone in America was obsessed with their squad. It's scientific fact that bicycle shorts wouldn't have been a trend without the Tanners. 

Dawson's Creek: Joey Potter and Jen Lindley

'90s Week, TV Girl Squads, Dawsons Creek

The WB

Hear us out, people. Jen and Joey may not have been the kind of cute and cuddly friends that we saw on Friends or Full House, but they were an important little twosome in the wild swirl of over-the-top men residing in Capeside, Massachusetts. Jen and Joey are also a great example of how real-life squads aren't always built on picture-perfect qualifiers like looking really good together or all being super successful and rich. Sometimes you're shipped off to a small town and you're stuck with who you're stuck with.

But they made do a little, right? Sure, they were perfect polar opposites, yet somehow still had very similar taste in men. And despite the fact that they seemed to butt heads on pretty much anything, they learned to navigate the oddities of Capeside and help each other out when they could. Fans of Dawson's Creek were subjected to so much back on forth with Joey's love life (Pacey or Dawson? Dawson or Pacey?) that having Jen around the gang was a welcome respite.

And of course, you can't argue with the ladies' fierce cable knit sweaters. 

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