Flashback Friday: 20-Somethings We Thought Were Old When We Were Kids

Last night, while watching my daily dose of Full House on Nick at Nite, I discovered that Uncle Jesse was 25 when the series began. This fact shocked me because 25 seems so… young. And I always thought of him as… old(er). I mean, he took care of three kids, was able to not really work but somehow have absolutely no money problems, and he never really went out drinking. Sure Jesse was supposed to be a stereotypical immature adult stud, but was he really that immature for a 20-something? No. Even though he couldn’t live with roommates and was helping his family get by, he should have been going out and getting black out drunk. He should have been having multiple one night stands. He should have … been older. Even 28. 28 would have been better (will I be saying that at age 26? Probably not… but for now, I’ll think what I want).

After finding this out, I figured John Stamos had to be older than his character Uncle Jesse, since actors are almost always older than the character they play. But… I was wrong. John Stamos was 25 as well when the show began. But… but… how?

Now, I know times have changed and ’30 is the new 20,’ but stuff like this will always baffle me. I always thought 25 was so OLD, but now that I’m less than a year away from said quarter century birthday, I don’t feel old at all.

Here are some past 20-somethings I didn’t realize were 20-somethings (and therefore thought of as ‘old’) as a kid:

The cast of Charmed. But these girls lived in a gorgeous house! And they had jobs! And they were so responsible! Or wait, maybe this was because they had super powers and could pretty much do whatever they wanted… but still. After finding out Prue, Piper, and Phoebe were 20-somethings, I was taken back. Not to mention the actors who played them were also 20-somethings. Shannen Doherty was 28, Holly Marie Combs (better known to me as the MILF from Pretty Little Liars) was 26, and Alyssa Milano (remember when she was Samantha from Who’s The Boss?) was 27.

Keri Russel. I was 10 when Felicity premiered, so perhaps that’s why Felicity seemed so old to me. I watched the show for maybe two seasons because the lives of these old, mature people bored me to death. But now, the fact that I am now OLDER (much older) than Felicity is beyond me. Even with Keri Russel being four years older than the character she played, I’m older than her too. Keri was 22 when Felicity began. I WISH I WAS 22.

Cameron Diaz. Cameron spent the majority of the 90s (and her career) as a 20-something. For some reason, I was recently watching My Best Friend’s Wedding. First of all, this movie is not that good and I have no idea why it was such a big hit (gotta love the 90s). Secondly, Cameron’s character is supposed to be 21. Twenty-one. Like, are you kidding? What kind of 21 year old wants to get married? Lastly, the whole premise of the movie is about 28 being too old to get married. Are you kidding? 28 is not too old to get married. Cameron also plays an orthopedic surgeon in There’s Something About Mary at age 25. What kind of 25 year old has an enough degrees and experience to become an orthopedic surgeon? I mean, come ON.

Julia Roberts: Starring alongside Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding was the lovely and mature Julia Roberts. However, Julia was also a 20-something in the 90s AKA she wasn’t supposed to be so mature! In My Best Friends Wedding, her character was 28. However, the character was also supposed to be a successful food critic. Yes I’m sure there are some successful 20-something food critics out there… but let’s be serious. Julia’s character was WAY too professional to be a 20-something. What was with that suit? And of course we can’t forget Pretty Woman – the movie in which Julia made her entry into Hollywood as a prostitute. Not to mention, she was 22 when the film was released. And 21 when the movie was being filmed. Ummm, did I think she was that young when I first saw the film? No. Does it bother me now that I know? Yes.

Beyonce: Post-Destiny’s Child, Beyonce proved to the world she could do anything and everything by herself. So in 2002, she began to act… as Foxxy Cleopatra… in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Foxxy was super badass in this movie and I have no problem seeing her as a 20-something. But a 20 year old? No thanks. Beyonce was 20 when she filmed this movie. TWENTY. Like, most of us were that age sophomore year of college. But, then again, it’s Beyonce… so we shouldn’t be surprised. Sasha Fierce can do anything. Anything.

Meg Ryan (in When Harry Met Sally). The characters in this movie were so boring. All they wanted to do was live by themselves or with a spouse. They wanted to get married and have kids. And they all had jobs! Little did I know when seeing this 80s classic as a kid, they were 20-somethings! The only 20-something-like thing from this movie is that Meg Ryan faked an orgasm. I mean, seriously.

Basically, realizing these things doesn’t make us old. It just means that we are different than yesterday’s 20-somethings. Today’s 20-somethings try to hold on to their youth for as long as possible. Part of it is due to our non-stop partying habits and our lack of interest in settling down. But the other part is due to education and the economy. Many 20-somethings are still in school and the rest have trouble getting jobs. And when we do get jobs, we certainly don’t get paid enough money to feel like a responsible adult. So what do you expect?

I’m sure this was the case for many 20-somethings back then (I’ve seen St. Elmo’s Fire – those 20-somethings certainly didn’t have their shit together), but television and film didn’t care to show the reality of it all. Nowadays, the media depicts a more accurate version of the lives of 20-somethings. TV shows and movies about 20-somethings usually involve them living in weird places (whether it be at home with the parents or in a not-so-nice apartment with roommates), working at odd jobs (if they can even get a job), and dating multiple people (because the only people settling down are those who fucked up and unwillingly got preggers). Compare a character from Happy Endings or New Girl to a character played by Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz in the 90s. Life is just not the same for 20-somethings today.

So when you realize someone is younger than you thought they were in an old movie or TV show, just remember – times have changed and you should be happy the media is now pressuring you to embrace your youth, rather than try to speed up time. Like I said, 30 is the new 20… and if this is really true, then I am proud to be 14.

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

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