This Week In Pop Culture History: May 26-June 1, 1993

During this week in 1993, the world said goodbye to some television icons, hip hop dominated, and Jose Canseco tried using his head for a change.

Here are some of the biggest events everyone was talking about around this time twenty-one years ago.

Television Rating Leaders

Of all the great benchmarks to recall here, TV has plenty. While David Letterman’s last appearance as a late-night talk show with NBC was just around the corner (he would resume with CBS later that August and be replaced by Conan O’Brien), other comedies were in transition.

Seinfeld wrapped season #4 on May 20th that year in a one-hour finale focused on Jerry and George’s pilot finally coming to fruition only to be shot down by executives at NBC. The entire season centered around the pitch for a show about nothing.

That same night, more than 80 million people tuned in to watch the final episode of Cheers–one of the all-time greatest sitcoms.

Another show saying goodbye, at least for a minute, was Saved by the Bell as the Bayside legends graduated. Three months later they all went off to college together because that’s how real life works.

Nobody ugly cries like Jessie Spano you guys.

Music Chart Toppers

Janet Jackson dominated the charts in the spring of May 1993. She was in the midst of an eight week run at numero uno with That’s the Way Love Goes.

Janet edged out Freak Me by Silk which deluded adolescent boys everywhere into thinking they had game and/or dance moves involving hip movements.

Hip hop’s halcyon days also featured Knockin Da Boots by H-Town at #3 and Weak by SWV at #4. Fans of music who preferred musicians who could actually play instruments missed all of Billboard’s dry humping and chimes as they were busy listening to bands from Seattle.

From the Sports Desk

This happened to Jose Canseco’s roid-riddled noggin.

They didn’t have Twitter back then, but #You’reDoingItWrong

Speaking of steroids, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson would get caught cheating again in early 1993 and banned for life from the sport.

The #1 Movie in America

Cliffhanger became the #1 movie in the country with something like a $16 million dollar take. Spoiler: movies didn’t cost as much back then.

The previous week had been led by Sliver, mostly because people wanted to see Billy Baldwin and Sharon Stone naked. Hollywood still focused on movies with a lot of sex scenes by their stars back then before they realized that teens were a huge market and making R-rated movies locked out millions of dollars. Coming in behind Sliver in 1993? Hot Shots: Part Deux. Guess which of those last two movies actually warrants a video clip here.

Okay, so it’s one of the most ridonkulous flicks of all time, but Lloyd Bridges makes everything better. Also, Valeria Golino. Cliffhanger finished ahead of Made in America (#2), Dave (#3), and Super Mario Bros (#4).

Best-Selling Books

A quick peek at the New York Times best-seller list:

#1 THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY by Robert James Waller.
#2 THE CLIENT by John Grisham.

the client

Comics are Books too

Todd MacFarlane’s SPAWN was celebrating its 1 year anniversary. Macfarlane picked back up as writer at #12 from his most recent guest writer, Frank Miller.

But DC drove much of the conversation in the spring of ’93. After famously killing Superman a few months earlier, a new series launched called Reign of the Supermen or The Return of Superman. Fans split time between speculating how they would bring the Man of Steel back and bristling over the fact that he wasn’t even dead a year and it was pretty publicity stunty.

return of superman

Relevant Sean Astin Kate Beckinsale Brad Pitt Elisabeth Shue sighting of 1993

We’ll give the nod to Sean Astin in this round of The TWIPCH Four because 1993 featured him as Notre Dame football player Rudy.

Entertainment Weekly Cover

Issue #172 was the summer movie preview edition promising an early look at Jurassic Park, The Firm, Sleepless in Seattle, and Coneheads.

Excuse to try to use the word Zeitgeist in a sentence

While Beanie Babies were first released into circulation, they would, like poison into a water supply, take some time to infect the population.

So we’ll consider the early weeks of newly elected president Bill Clinton here. The first chief executive in over four decades to not have to fight the Cold War with Russia, he took the presidency to new pop culture places. Like the time he played sax on Arsenio Hall (who amazingly is actually back again).

Clinton will do as a definer of the times, especially when you consider how much fodder his second term would provide for entertainers.

Something Christians were side hugging and high fiving about

Free at Last by dc TALK which owned the charts for nearly half the year.

Anybody else remember May 1993?

Author: Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.

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