Friday, January 23, 2009

1980s Redux

The Big Boo over at Child of the 1980s has shared some disturbing news, which I had not yet realized.  It turns out that Madballs are making a comeback.  Their official website shows the full lineup, which is a reworking of the classic 80s Madballs.  They've even added a Madballs 'Sick Series' in which you squeeze the balls to watch brains or mucous or other goo come oozing out of the Madballs' heads.

Now, in theory, I'm in favour of this.  I believe in warping our childrens' minds with the same kinds of popular culture that we were warped with.  But there is a part of me that groans when more 80s nostalgia starts turning into 'nowstalgia'.  Look at all the reworkings, revisionings and rebootings of 80s films, sitcoms, cartoons and pop culture that keep coming out every year.  Can no one come up with anything new?

I understand what's going on here.  People like Tobey Maguire, raised (if not born) in the 1980s, are coming into their own now.  They suddenly have all kinds of money and Hollywood clout, and when Maguire decides he wants to make a live-action version of the anime series Robotech, there's no reason why he shouldn't.  On one level, it's homage.  On another level, it's just taking what someone else was creative enough to come up with, remarketing it for a new generation, and getting all the credit.

The question I can't overlook is this:  What does this say about our society?  Does this mean that North American art and culture reached its perfection in the 1980s, and that everything else is a pale imitation?  Or does it mean that in the 21st century, we're so creatively bankrupt that we're left raiding our own childhoods just so we can make movies, toys and TV?


  1. Firslty, thanks for the mention of my Madballs post Jonathan! Much obliged.

    Whilst I love things from the eighties I do tend to agree with your sentiments that things should stay in the past. For example, I loved Ghostbusters as a kid, tolerated Ghostbusters 2 at the time and am personally dreading the possibility of a Ghostbusters 3 ever being made...

  2. Amen, BigBoo!
    Once upon a time, when I first knew that Aykroyd et al had an idea for a third Ghostbusters film, I was excited about the idea, but the more I think about it, and knowing that it will be animated, seems to make it an even worse idea...