’90s Teen TV Characters: Where Are They Now?


All your friends are getting married. Some of them are having kids. And now, in case you didn’t already feel like an overgrown child whose life is passing him by, Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence have a preteen daughter. Yes, for the past week, the internet has been abuzz with the news that a Boy Meets World sequel is in the works. Called Girl Meets World, it will focus on young Riley Matthews and her “edgy friend,” Maya. While we’re not sure that revisiting ABC’s TGIF lineup is the best idea, the update on Cory and Topanga has made us wonder what some of our other favorite ’90s teen TV characters might be up to in 2012. After the jump, we check in on (by which we mean, “we imagine”) what they’ve done since last we saw them.

Zack Morris, Saved by the Bell

The last time we saw Zack (well, except for that one Jimmy Fallon appearance), he had just managed to marry his one true love, Kelly Kapowski, despite a disastrous wedding trip to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, after a few years and the birth of a beautiful daughter, the couple called it quits. We’re sure you recall how hot-and-cold they were in high school, and how many girls Zack dated when they were on the outs. So did you really think he’d be ready to settle down before his 20th birthday?

These days, fast-talking Zack is the head of sales at a very important international electronics brand (he was an early mobile phone adopter, after all). He’s been married two more times and fathered at least eight more children, but he’d like to call a “time out” on this post to inform you that what he has with his latest 22-year-old girlfriend is the real thing. Rumor has it he’s reuniting Zack Attack for next spring’s 20-year Bayside reunion — if he can get Kelly to take his phone calls, that is.

Brenda Walsh, Beverly Hills, 90210

If you kept up with her on the 90210 reboot, you know that Brenda — despite being a very important theater actress and director — took the time to direct Spring Awakening at West Bev, became frenemies with Kelly again, and was finally ready to delete Dylan’s number from her phone. Also, Brenda can’t have babies, so she adopted a little girl from China that she promptly dumped on good ol’ Jim and Cindy.

Of course, the whole truth is that Brenda’s career is on the rocks because she has a reputation for throwing too many backstage temper tantrums. Surely you didn’t think she did Spring Awakening purely as a favor to her old school? Meanwhile, our psychic sources tell us that in 90210 version 3.0, Brenda’s teenage daughter will fall in love with Dylan’s teenage son, and we’ll have to endure some kind of Rufus-and-Lily-from-GossipGirl type shit.

Steve Urkel, Family Matters

When you’ve already built a human cloning machine and been to outer space before most kids finish college, what’s left? Well, there’s marrying your one true love, for one thing. Steve and Laura tied the knot less than a year after he returned from outer space, and their marriage couldn’t be happier (but, yes, she does sometimes make him dress up as Stefan for anniversaries). They’ve got a mess of kids who combine Laura’s beauty and wit with Urkel’s intelligence. And every once in a while, just for fun, Steve launches a billion-dollar tech company and uses the proceeds to fund education or scientific discovery. (He always did have a big heart!) Oh, and he’s rumored to be considering a return to TV.

Lindsay Weir, Freaks and Geeks

Lindsay Weir, we hardly knew ye, and only witnessed the beginning of your transformation from geek to freak! Future rebellions involved hard drugs, angular haircuts (hey, it was the ’80s), and ex-con boyfriends who made Daniel Desario look like Bill Haverchuck. To be totally honest, her entire senior year of high school is lost to her.

At her very core, though, Lindsay is a good girl. Thrust into the real world — and kicked out of her long-suffering parents’ home — she cleaned up fast. In fact, she made it to a perfectly good state university before her 20th birthday and got a degree in education. Now, she’s a cool high-school guidance counselor who’s thinking about writing a self-help book for smart, weird teenagers. She’s never quite gotten over her thing for bad boys, though.

Will Smith, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

When last we saw Will, he and the Banks family were in the midst of some geographic role reversal. While Uncle Phil, Aunt Viv, and the kids all headed to the East Coast, the Fresh Prince was sticking around in California to finish college. But things were never the same for Will with the family gone. Oh, he knew he’d have trouble saying good-bye to little Ashley — she was always his favorite. What he never expected to miss was Uncle Phil’s incessant bellowing. And how about Carlton, the polar opposite who had slowly become his best friend (sorry, Jazz)?

So, the minute he finished school, Will made his mom very happy by hopping back on a plane to Philadelphia, where he got an apartment with Carlton. (Don’t worry — the Bankses made sure they found a place in a very safe neighborhood.) With Will’s sense of style and C’s business sense, they co-founded what is now Philly’s most successful high-end menswear boutique, mixing classic preppy designs with flamboyant neon accents. Ask anyone: American Apparel stole their look.

Daria Morgendorffer, Daria

Don’t worry, guys — Daria and Jane Lane are still best friends. Living through Lawndale High was like fighting in a war together, and in the decade that’s passed since they graduated, they’ve only become closer and more tolerant of each other’s faults. After college in Boston — where Daria got in with a literary crowd, Jane bonded with artists, and both discovered that adult life is much less like high school than they feared — the pals became roommates in New York. While Daria began writing for TV (look for her Sick Sad World reboot next fall), Jane’s free-spirited paintings made her the toast of Bushwick. And, yes, Is It College Yet? fans, their flexible schedules allow them to host a morning show together. It’s a pretty lo-fi, just-for-fun affair that airs on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network and has elevated the friends to local-celebrity status.

As for Daria’s relationship with Tom, well, it didn’t really stand a chance. With the world finally open to her, she realized she could do a whole lot better than “that one guy in Lawndale who doesn’t totally suck,” and despite deciding to stay friends after their post-high-school breakup, they’d lost touch by the end of her freshman year. Daria didn’t exactly play the field after that, but she’s had a few great boyfriends (and one great girlfriend — although she’s pretty sure that was just a one-time thing) since. She’s been with her current squeeze for a few years now, and although he looks deceptively Trent-like and plays in a grunge-revival band, we’re pleased to report that he’s also gainfully employed.

Bobby Budnick, Salute Your Shorts

Sorry to confirm your worst fears, but, yes, Budnick spent some time in prison. For years, he’d try to go straight to impress some classy Dina-like woman, only to find that when the time came to cut his lustrous ginger locks, he just couldn’t go through with it. But eventually his impulse to scheme would take over and he’d be on to his next crazy debacle: an ice-cream heist, a scam cologne that turns your face blue, fixing basketball games.

But just before his 30th birthday, Budnick decided to shape up, once and for all. And he knew there was only one man who could help him: Ug. Through a regimen of tough love and merciless calisthenics, the counselor — who took over Camp Anawanna after the death of Dr. Khan — transformed his former charge into a productive member of society. These days, Bobby Budnick goes by “Robert” and has become the most feared counselor at the camp. He’s also talking about writing a Zeke the Plumber screenplay.

Kimmy Gibbler, Full House


Rickie Vasquez, My So-Called Life

He always had a knack for sewing and an eye for eyeliner application, so it may not surprise you to learn that Rickie has been so successful in the fashion industry that he’s now known solely by his first name. It took him over a decade to break through, but his runway shows have been Fashion Week’s hottest ticket ever since the ’90s revival hit. We’ve heard rumors that he’ll be part of Project Runway’s judging panel next season.

In his spare time, Rickie mentors homeless and abused LGBT teens; you’ve probably already seen his “It Gets Better” video. And of course, he’s always got time for his old friends. He’s the one who keeps the high-school misfit crew together, hosting a big, glittery annual Thanksgiving dinner and visiting Rayanne whenever she’s in rehab.

Blossom Russo, Blossom

Smart, stubborn, and good at everything she tries, Blossom spent a few years acting. Her look and personality were never particularly well-suited for Hollywood, so she mostly stuck with indie films and Off-Broadway plays. (We heard great things about her St. Joan.) But after a few years, a serious heart-to-heart with Six, and a whirlwind viewing of Mad Men Season 1, she rediscovered her love for advertising. Her eclectic fashion sense and argumentative prowess have made her a hit in the boardroom. Just last week, she worked “opinionation” into her copy.