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    This Is What Summer Looked Like 20 Years Ago

    It was the summer of Will Smith.

    by ,

    1. Friends wrapped up its second season with "The One With Barry and Mindy's Wedding."

    Warner Bros. Television

    The show was part of NBC's "Must-See TV" alongside The Single Guy, Caroline in the City, and Seinfeld.

    2. And Jennifer Aniston was dating Tate Donovan.

    Getty Images

    Who you probably know best today as Jimmy Cooper from The O.C.

    3. If you had the internet, you were most likely using AOL — and, of course, it was dial-up.

    AOL / Via

    FYI: Only 20 million Americans had the internet that year.

    4. Mariah Carey had the most romantic song of the summer with "Always Be My Baby."

    Sony Music

    * records off radio and puts on mixtape meant for crush *

    5. And a little band called the Spice Girls released a new song in July called "Wannabe."

    Tim Roney / Getty Images

    6. The 1996 Summer Olympics were in full swing down in Atlanta...

    David Taylor / Getty Images

    7. ...and Kerri Strug and the Magnificent Seven took home the gold in gymnastics.

    Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

    Strug landed the vault that helped the team win, despite having a badly injured ankle.

    8. Tom Cruise had one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer with Mission: Impossible...


    It was also the third-highest-grossing movie of the year.

    9. ...and he was also still married to Nicole Kidman.

    Vince Bucci / AFP / Getty Images

    A decade later Tom would marry Katie Holmes!

    10. The Nutty Professor was also one of the biggest movies of that summer.

    Universal Pictures

    The film helped launch Eddie Murphy's comeback.

    11. And Will Smith showed up to the premiere with Jada Pinkett looking truly adorable.

    Albert Ortega / Stringer / Getty Images

    They weren't even married yet!

    12. Speaking of Will Smith, his show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, aired its final episode.


    13. AND he starred in Independence Day. He came to the premiere in his full Captain Steve Hiller getup.

    Jeff Haynes / AFP / Getty Images

    14. Meanwhile, over at the MTV Movie Awards, Ellen DeGeneres rocked suede and sneakers...

    Ron Galella / WireImage

    15. ...and baby Natalie Portman matched her lil' cotton dress with her lil' cotton purse, while David Spade bit his finger.

    Kevin.mazur / WireImage

    16. At The Kids Choice Awards, Elijah Wood hung out with a monkey and a bowl of candy...

    Jim Smeal / WireImage


    Ron Galella / WireImage

    18. A Very Brady Sequel was released, gifting us with this very important shady moment.


    19. And Matilda soared from the pages of Roald Dahl's classic straight into our hearts.

    Via TriStar Pictures

    20. Rosie O’Donnell entered her reign as the “Queen of Nice” after launching her afternoon talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show.

    Frank Micelotta / Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect

    21. But Oprah was, of course, still Queen Supreme.

    Vincent Laforet / AFP / Getty Images

    22. Denzel Washington was named People's Sexiest Man Alive.


    23. Delia's was really pushing those iconic fake flower hair clips.

    24. Like, REALLY pushing them.

    25. And baby Jared Leto graced the cover of the Bible, aka Seventeen magazine.

    Seventeen / Via

    I don't think he's aged in 20 years, TBH.

    26. Kenan and Kel premiered on Nickelodeon in July...


    27. ...and The Secret World of Alex Mack was on its second season.

    28. Tickle Me Elmo hit the shelves in July, and we had NO idea just what we were in for.

    Tyco / Via

    29. And finally, if you attended a wedding, quinceañera, bar/bat mitzvah, sleepover, birthday, and/or backyard party that summer, then you probably danced the Macarena.

    Via BMG U.S. Latin

    "Macarena" was not only the biggest song of summer, but also the biggest song of the year.

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