Right now, I am sitting on the edge of my bed staring at my Powerline T-shirt slipping out of a Hot Topic bag. Even though I pride myself over this purchase, as The Goofy Movie is one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time, I cannot help but to feel a bit conflicted. Recently I have noticed a rise in all things 90’s. The 90’s are back but unfortunately they are not to stay. We have always been a nation that has revolved around nostalgia (we did spend 8 years wondering whatever happened to the milkman, the paperboy and evening tv) but now, perhaps more than ever, we are clutching onto something we cannot hold: time. From the new Tomagotchi models, a toy that taught us about the dangers of negligence early on, to reboots of 90’s sitcoms, I feel like wherever I go, I seem to find something from the 90’s attempting to climb out of a black hole and ground its feet on our present surface.
In fact, I remember how excited I was when Disney announced Girl Meets World, the 2014 sequel to Boys Meets World. Yet instead of being met with the charm that I typically found myself enamored with when catching reruns of the former, I could only find myself saying: My God, they have all aged! after watching the first episode. As if I somehow expected Ben Savage and Danielle Fisher to eternally remain teenagers.
Girl Meets World provided me with a feeling of emptiness (here was the past, yet it was not the past. Ben and Danielle were in their 30’s and I was in my 20’s) rather than the closure that the producers were most likely trying to provide for their older audience members. In addition, the show just did not work, but this was not without reason. Girl Meets World did not work because the producers were trying to replicate their great grandmother’s secret apple pie recipe by using the same exact apples that their great grandmother had used – despite the fact that these apples had aged and become one big blob of mold. It just doesn’t work – not to mention that someone should be highly concerned that the apples had survived that long. Girl Meets World used the same exact formula that Boy Meets World had followed, however, it was made during a different time and, therefore, required a new equation. The Boy Meets World fans, as Ben and Danielle (shockingly) had aged and the replica failed to have the same effect because of this and the fact that fans would constantly compare Girl Meets World to its precursor. Yet Girl Meets World is not the only attempt to revive the 90s, just look at Fuller House, or Raven’s Home.
It is as if the jingle we have heard every Saturday morning during our cartoon binge has brainwashed us: the 90s generation does not want to grow up – we want to stay 90’s babies because growing up – being “all grown up, I want the world to know,” sucks. Our childhood was marked by: countless technological innovations yet we were the last generation to be raised without much of it, the idea that hard work and an education could get us anywhere, and we had a genuine childhood – after all, the most heated debate that most of us took part in was over NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. We grew up during a time where advancements were being made so fast that we did not realize its effect until our childhood had ended – and now we wish to return to, ironically, simpler times. Everything was smooth sailing, yet reality hit many of us in the face at a young age in 2001. We grew up during a time that changed the nation forever – our home-front was attacked and our former bubbles of bliss were popped. Perhaps that is why we desperately clutch onto our childhood. Yet a fountain of youth cannot be obtained through creating a Lisa Frank makeup palette, nor can it be found when wearing an awesomely crafted Powerline concert tee.
At the same time, I suppose that this need for nostalgia has always been around and I am only noticing it now because my generation is currently harboring that feeling. Harboring the feeling of nostalgia in our 20’s – do you see the problem? Perhaps the rise in technology, allowing for an easier access of archival memories, combined with our current state of the world has become a formula for creating a hunger for the past. Nostalgia, however, is a double-edged sword. It reminds us of our childhood yet it does not give us more time, it just reminds us of all the time that we have lost. Furthermore, nostalgia is a simulacrum – nothing we remember is as it was, and it changes the more we look back on it. In fact, the older we get, the past seems to appear better than it was, as if the past was an expensive bottle of wine aging to perfection. I mean, I find myself missing Easy Cheese, but if I were to taste it again, I am sure that there would be nothing easy about it for my digestive system, nor would there be anything remotely cheesy.