In partnership with Warner Bros.
This week, iconic time-travelling duo Bill and Ted – stars of 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey – return to cinemas in Bill & Ted Face The Music, marking the long-awaited return of the good-hearted, rock-loving pre-bro dudes.
Though they technically arrived at the tail end of the ‘80s, Bill & Ted are as ‘90s as Zach Morris drinking Tab Clear at a Spin Doctors concert, and helped set the cultural agenda for the entire decade. So to celebrate, we thought we’d remember some iconic ‘90s pop culture duos, beginning – of course – with their Excellencies themselves.
Bill & Ted
As seen in: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures (cartoon series, 1990), Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Who? Loveable underachievers whose can-do attitude and positivity was against the Gen-X grain.
What? Deemed humanity’s only hope due to the unifying power of the music they will one day make in their band Wyld Stallyns – once they learn to play – the hapless pair from San Dimas, California, are thrust into time-travelling and hell-and-back adventures.
Where are they now? Having inspired countless dumb buddy films since, from Dude, Where’s My Car? to Superbad, the pair are back as late-middle-aged family men in Bill & Ted Face The Music, in cinemas and on demand now.
Ren and Stimpy
As seen on: The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991-1996), Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon (2003)
Who? The big red one is Stimpy, a dim-witted but good hearted cat. The skinny beige thing is Ren, a foul-tempered, selfish chihuahua.
What? The product of renegade cartoonist John Krikfalusi (think Walt Disney with Borderline Personality Disorder), Ren and Stimpy were the gross-out kings whose acid-trip adventures ushered in an era of oddball cartoons – albeit in more child-friendly iterations.
Where are they now? Kricfalusi’s rocky, on-off relationship with Nickelodeon meant the quality of the show suffered. Kricfalusi proved his freaky-creep creds when he issued a collection of X-rated episodes in 2003, one of a number of unsuccessful revival attempts.
Beavis & Butthead
As seen on: Beavis & Butthead (1992-1997, 2011, 2020), Beavis & Butthead Do America (1996)
Who? Giggling gen-X low-life simpletons with a penchant for rock music
What? The duo – the creation of animator Mike Judge, who later went on to the sublime King Of The Hill – were the iconic figureheads of 1990s MTV, at a time when Nirvana et al had reshaped youth culture in the image of a too-cool-to-care grunger.
Where are they now? Back like Ant & Dec, baby. A revival of Beavis & Butthead is coming very soon, but online reaction has thus far suggested most people reckon they should – unlike the time-travelling twosome Bill & Ted – stay in the past.
Tia and Tamera
As seen on: Sister, Sister (1994-1999)
Who? The real-life Mowry sisters, who found a lucrative niche playing, er, sisters.
What? The sisters’ sitcom, in which they kept their own first names but played twins who’d been separated at birth and sent to very different families, was a fixture of teatime telly for the Nickelodeon generation. Bet you’re singing the theme tune to yourself right now.
Where are they now? The duo, who had their own reality series, Tia & Tamera, in the early 2010s, can still be found on US TV and on the Hallmark/Lifetime movie treadmill.
Kenan and Kel
As seen on: Kenan and Kel (1996 to 2000), All That (1994-), Good Burger (1997)
Who? The scheming Kenan (Kenan Thompson) and his hapless orange soda-guzzling friend Kel (Kel Mitchell).
What? Where we in the UK had Byker Grove and The Chuckle Brothers, the US was sending us superior tween comedy shows like Kenan and Kel’s knockabout sitcom, a spin-off from the sketch show All That. Check out the episode where Britney Spears puts in a guest appearance for a full ’90s bingo card.
Where are they now? Kenan, still a regular on Saturday Night Live, finds plenty of TV and film work; Kel, not as successful so far, was a runner up on last year’s Dancing With The Stars.
Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane
As seen on: Daria (1997-2002)
Who? Sardonic overthinker Daria and her ice-cool friend Jane
What? Created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis for MTV, Daria was the belated female answer to Beavis & Butthead – cleverer, funnier and less exhausting.
Where are they now? A couple of years ago, there was plenty of buzz about a spin-off series, Jodie, which would pick up the characters’ stories 20 years on. The show, named for Jodie Landon, Daria’s friend at Lawndale High, hasn’t yet appeared.
Zig & Zag
As seen on: The Big Breakfast (1992-1998), The Zig and Zag Show (1994–1995, 1998)
Who? Aliens from the planet Zog, of course.
What? In reality, puppets, whose accents suggest Zog is somewhere between Dublin and Belfast. Born on Ireland’s RTE network and poached by Channel 4, Zig and Zag’s off-colour questioning and hangover-unfriendly energy was a staple of ‘90s morning telly. They even had a hit single in the then-popular ‘raggamuffin’ style with 1994’s ‘Them Girls Them Girls’.
Where are they now? Last seen being revived as a kids cartoon, which is a bit like Dennis The Menace reappearing on a Sunday night costume drama.
Wayne and Garth
As seen on: Saturday Night Live, Wayne’s World / II (1992 / 3)
Who? Irrepressible Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and timid Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), rock fans in a state of arrested development, who film their public access TV show, Wayne’s World, in Wayne’s basement digs.
What? The duo’s adventures spawned two huge hit films in the ‘90s, and would be Bill & Ted’s biggest cinematic rivals were it not for that whole ‘be excellent to each other’ philosophy.
Where are they now? Mike Myers went on to become one of the biggest screen properties of the ‘90s thanks to Austin Powers and Shrek. Carvey has focused more on stand-up. The pair reunited in character – to much delight in the room – at the 2019 Oscars ceremony.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is in cinemas now. Find cinema tickets here. ©ORION RELEASING LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.