Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Time Is An Arrow: On Nostalgic Revival

Yaaaaay Hey Arnold is back.

What could possibly go wrong?

Okay, seriously my instinct is to be thrilled that I'll get to see a little more of the old gang. Hey Arnold is one of those shows that does hold up on rewatches, (due largely to a killer jazz score). The episodes are short and easy to stream during downtime and like a lot of kids media the show has a sense of fun not found in more mature TV shows. I love Jessica Jones and The Wire, but happy fun time they ain't.  But it is still yet another nostalgia revival and those tend to be hit or miss.

First of let me say that I'm not one of those guys boohooing that every television show or movie seems to be a part of some preexisting franchise or property. I'll admit in the long run that may pose a problem but I also don't believe in the zero-sum proposition of a lot of those hot takes. There are enough people with enough diverse interests that almost everything that deserves an audience (providing that it can get funding) will find an audience.

Nope, what concerns me more is on an individual level why are so many of these things unfulfilling despite the merit of the material.

And my general answer is that these pieces of media are a consequence of their culture and time, even if an audience can mentally rewind the clock many of the show's creative stakeholders can't. Regardless of their intentions to remain true to the spirit of the original, they can't recreate the circumstances that inspired the work in the first place.

I love Boy Meets World.

It is my 90's sitcom of choice, but I'll be the first to acknowledge that, especially the first few seasons, are pretty average even for back then. What made Boy Meets World notable is that it more or less (sitcom time is weird) covered these characters lives in real time as they went from middle school to college. Because of that, the status quo of the series was at least superficially always in flux.

Girl Meets World pretty accurately captured the spirit of the first few seasons but that's not what fans of the original wanted to see. But what they want to see is something they couldn't have at least not right away, the emotional attachment to characters they had watched grow up with them.

Back to Hey Arnold though, the show is very 1960's New York. The show doesn't make a big deal out of it but the P.S. in the school name is a dead give away.  While I have an obsession with both the 1960's and New York I can't help but feel that if the movie is going to be more than an extended episode of the show for its own sake (which in all honesty I would be fine with) it would need to change.

And that's the dilemma. These revivals can't change enough to justify their own existence in a new context thus appealing to a new audience without alienating their old ones.

To that end, I do not know what a modern day kidcom looks like. While kidcoms are written for children they are written by adults who are often utilizing their own nostalgia as inspiration. These shows have benifited from the relatively similar cultural experiences of middle-class Americans since the 1960s.

Bur for a lot of reasons that dynamic is breaking down. More and more audiences are diverging in their experiences and exposing differences that already existed. That's not a bad thing but it does mean that more and more movies and TV shows utilizing and/or appealing to the nostalgia of ubiquitous experiences are less and less able to count on audiences having a context to put them in.

Up until Girl Meets World most of the nostalgia revivals were for stuff that I had no real experience with. And while some of them could be fun most of them were obviously not made for me. (I'm sorry MST3K) And now I'm on the other end of it my opinion hasn't really changed all that much.

P.S. I'm sorry. The first two Power Rangers movies were not as bad as everybody makes them out to be. They gave me what I paid to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook Comments

Note: These Comments are from all across this blog.