701: Favorite TV

A Thousand Things to Talk About
701: Favorite TV

Today’s question: What was your favorite tv show growing up?

The 80s and 90s are haunting us. Everything from the comic books that kids of those years read to the TV shows that hundreds of thousands of people watched are being constantly resurrected, re-worked, or re-built. For shows that aren’t being reworked for the modern world, there are also shows being set in those worlds.

The favorite TV shows we have growing up are the favorite TV shows being created again, much to the viewership joy of advertisers and both joy and frustration of fans who loved those shows growing up.

And this isn’t a new phenomena. In the 70s, shows like Happy Days tried to re-create the shows and feeling of the 1950s,

Our favorite shows are, in many ways, coming back to haunt us. But they may be more literally haunting us than we realize. In an article for Buzzfeed News, Sara Tatyana Bernstein writes, quote:

Nostalgia is only one way of looking at history; it functions, essentially, to make the past a safe place to play. The ’80s are over, so GLOW can tell stories about sexual harassment and the danger of stereotypes, and Stranger Things can deliver horror stories about government conspiracies. These stories are disturbing in the present, but nostalgia provides a sort of protective shield between now and then. In other words, even if we’re using these shows to work out contemporary issues, a nostalgic story requires the past to stay put. But revivals in which a show’s original characters are unearthed to exist in the present are inherently unsettling; they are hauntings. And because of that, they can offer us a way to see how we got from There to Here — and maybe even help us deal with the consequences of our history. Nostalgia also enables us to rewrite the past so it looks more like we wish it had been.

So be it She-ra or Pokemon, Rosanne or Full House, the shows that were our favorites growing up may just be a useful lens through which to look at our current experience.

After all, it is entirely possible to both acknowledge that something is problematic, and enjoy it. Especially when we recognize that we’re doing exactly that.