Millennials love nostalgia. The question is why? We invite our guest blogger, a Millennial, to share her thoughts on this.
Guest Contributor | Caitlyn Waldman
"Only 90's kids will get this" says a post shared on Facebook. It references old tv shows, toys, and phrases that were "lost" in the 2000's. As if being born in another decade erased what once was.
So, the current trend is "kickin' it old school". Some older than others.
At the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party at the Governor’s Island in New York Bay, hipsters dress closer to the 1920's fashion with ladies in flapper dresses, and men in tweed vests over fitted button-up shirts; handlebar mustache stretched across their upper lips. The embodiment of an old-timey gentleman without the 20's social issues.
There is the idea that the past was a "simpler time" with a focus on the "Roaring 20's", a time of jazz music and flapper girls. But during this decade, prohibition was in effect leading to a rise in organized crime, immigration was restricted, and racism was rampant with Ku Klux Klan membership at an all-time high.
Glorifying the past is common. People throw 20's, 80's, 90's themed parties recreating the excitement of the past. Some say they were "born in the wrong generation" as if 2017 weren't the best time to be alive, especially in the US (regardless of what your political stance may be).
The past is – ironically - the newest trend for the entertainment business. Instead of creating fresh ideas, production companies are churning out sequels and reboots of classic franchises. Around the time Tomorrowland released their teaser, people were somewhat excited at the prospect of an original idea. To their dismay, it wasn't a very good movie.
Recently, the Star Wars saga was brought back with new characters, and sprinkled with call backs to the original trilogy. I sat in the packed theater at The Force Awakens midnight showing. The crowd cheered when Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher appeared on screen. They clapped when the intro began to scroll and again when the movie ended.
There is an expectation that comes with nostalgic entertainment. For example, Bill Nye "The Science Guy", a prominent teacher in many children's lives recently came out with a new show on Netflix. Bill Nye Saves the World was meant to bring viewers back to when they were young, while introducing a new audience to the past. It didn't go quite as planned.
Even the former love of Nye couldn't save the show in the end.
When people re-watch things from their childhood, it rarely lives up to what they remember. In Nye's case, he was always the awkward, loud, nerd who threw out corny jokes. But to re-watch it, it felt preachy and – quite frankly – "cringey".
The new-old doesn't end with films. A slew of oldies but goodies like The X-Files, Twin Peaks, Gillmore Girls, Arrested Development etc. have been brought back to our screens to introduce the new generation of our past. Some shows like Will & Grace chose to continue their series without re-introducing old characters or exposition. It's the one program that you watch and know it's made for the fans, not newcomers.
"The original was better," is the war-cry of the past.
Who is this nostalgia for? To bring together generations, or to fuel the sense of superiority that "only 90's kids will get"?
Banner Image Credit: Jamakassi on Unsplash
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