How Millennials Feel About Melissa Joan Hart’s Many Make-outs, Then and Now

01 Jan 1999 --- Original caption: Adrian Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart. --- Image by ? Bureau L.A. Collection/Sygma/Corbis
Is an Adrian Grenier makeout more interesting pre-Entourage? Photo: 20th Century Fox/Corbis

There are a lot of juicy details scattered throughout Melissa Joan Hart’s new memoir, Melissa Explains it All, from her dalliances with ecstasy and soft-core porno to revealing the number of cats it took to bring Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s Salem to life (seven real, two animatronic, two stuffed). But perhaps the juiciest segments pertain to Melissa’s many celebrity hookups, events she describes with all the gusto and lurid detail of a middle-school diary entry. These anecdotes would thrill a millennial’s younger self: Oh my God, make-out stories with James van Der Beek and Mario Lopez! But in the cold light of 2013, they can elicit a different reaction from this same, now fully grown millennial. Read the following smoochy excerpts and compare how rewarding this gossip would have been twenty years ago versus now.

James van Der Beek or “Van Der Blah” (her first ever onscreen kiss in 1993, on Clarissa Explains it All)
“I’m sorry to say that I don’t remember a lot about the kiss itself. I think I buried that memory in a deep, horrified place reserved for times I passed gas in school and flirted to get out of speeding tickets.”

Millennial’s nineties reaction: Dawson Leery is a bad kisser? This is only kiss one and we’re already beginning to question MJH’s judgment. Katie Holmes never complained.

Millennial’s reaction today: Fire up the crying James Van Der Beek meme!

Danny Masterson, a.k.a Steven Hyde on That 70’s Show (her high-school boyfriend)
“He had a stupid way of flirting where he’d try to surprise me with a quick shove into a pile of trash or a street lamp, and then say, ‘Watch out for that garbage!’ I somehow found it charming, even if it was gross. Being with him was also one of the first times I’d hooked up with an aggressive, hands-y kind of guy, so I dressed in layers to make it more difficult for him to get what he was after.”

Nineties reaction: Hyde always had a certain nonchalant cool to him, so it’s refreshing to learn Masterson was cocky enough to shove girls into piles of garbage even before he got hot.

Reaction now: What a stark reminder of how teenage romance is not romantic at all.

Adrian Grenier (in Drive Me Crazy, 1999)
“As for my best on-screen kiss? … the suave Adrian Grenier (my costar in Drive Me Crazy) tops the list … We had a similar work ethic and sense of humor, so the chemistry we were trying to create on-screen came pretty naturally to us. I did give him a sneak-attack smooch in his trailer, under the guise of rehearsing our kissing scene in the movie, but it meant nothing and we were mostly good friends.”

Nineties reaction: Back then, Grenier was just the schlubby, emo, next-door-neighbor to MJH’s cool popular girl, so we applaud her for jumping on the Adrian wagon early. Her judgment (about men, at least) has clearly improved since the days when Masterson considered a garbage shove “second base.”

Reaction now: This is way too reminiscent of 63 percent of all Entourage episodes.

Nick Carter (offscreen)
“Three years later [after the Backstreet Boys guest starred on Sabrina], Nick and I would end up in a lip-locking session in Sydney, Australia, while I was there producing a film; my sisters started uncontrollably screeching when they saw him kiss me good-bye in the elevator — so embarrassing.”

Nineties reaction: Nick Carter was a total babe. Of all the things in her career to be embarrassed about (posing half-naked on Maxim, perhaps), this is not one of them.

Reaction now: It’s really hard to pretend that a Backstreet Boy crush isn’t a lifetime decision.

Ryan Reynolds (offscreen while shooting Sabrina the Movie, 1996)
“I remember that his lips were pretty wonderful, plus he had these big hands and shoulders that completely swallowed my petite frame. It was a terrific distraction from how strongly he smelled of hair product.”

Nineties reaction: As this was two years before Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, the nineties reaction would be, “I don’t know who this ‘Ryan Reynolds’ person is, but any man who knows the value of a lot of hair gel is okay with me.”

Reaction now: A sad vision of a weeping Reynolds reading this and thinking, “Maybe if I’d just stuck with hair gel, R.I.P.D. would have done better … ”

Mario Lopez (in their 2007 TV movie Holiday in Handcuffs)
“It’s also hard to do a passionate, open-mouthed kiss without tongue, yet scripts call for it all the time. It feels like you’re eating an ice-cream cone with fish lips. Mario Lopez still swears I got frisky trying to do this in the final scene of our movie, Holiday in Handcuffs. When the director yelled ‘Cut!’ Mario jumped around yelling, ‘You slipped me the tongue! She slipped me the tongue!’ The more I protested, the louder he got – not unlike the way my six-year-old throws a tantrum over a candy bar at the grocery store checkout.”

Nineties reaction: Head exploding. Imagine learning that some day in the future, Clarissa would make out with A.C. Slater.

Reaction now: Knowing that Lopez eventually became an Extra and X Factor host really removes the thrill. It’s like the scene in 13 Going on 30 when Jennifer Garner learns what a drag being an adult really is.

Joey Lawrence (on Melissa & Joey, current day)
“Joey Lawrence uses enough lip balm for both of us, creating such a thick barrier that there’s hardly any skin-on-skin contact. It’s hard to get turned on when it feels like you’re kissing one of Madam Tussaud’s wax statues.”

Nineties reaction: Whoa!

Reaction now: Seriously, whoa.

Melissa Joan Hart’s Lifetime in Make-outs