- a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal association
- something done or presented in order to evoke feelings of nostalgia
I get why nostalgia sells. For the most part it just makes people feel good. It is a familiarity taking you back to a time when things were just easier; when you had the best of friends, listened to the greatest music, and your whole life was ahead of you. Manufacturers know this, advertisers know this, and filmmakers know this. And I gotta say I am getting pretty tired of it.
I am not saying I do not fall prey to the nostalgia beast. I am a sucker for 90’s hip hop/pop and a franchise from my childhood. I mean just last year I bought a Rainbow Brite Figurine. What for? Insert shrug here but it does make me smile when I look at it. But I am so over the fact that media seems to be reverting/stuck in the past.
This nostalgia is represented in different ways in the media that is presented to the public.
In advertizing, especially commercials, yes I still watch/see those, they seem to mainly use music that will trigger a connection to the product. This I believe is based on the study of memory by Hermann Ebbinghaus, the music triggers a fond memory which creates and involuntary fondness for the product. (Thanks for doing research for me writers of BBT) That is mental manipulation! …or possibly subliminal messaging… And because of this I always end up having some very fun but utterly random song stuck in my head and I don’t know why…
Like this is in the absolutely ridiculous but hilarious Downy Unstoppables commercial
or Google ensuring that the Flash Gordon theme song is just always in my head.
or this which despite the fact they alter the lyrics to sell Bounce Dryer Sheets
In fashion, which seems to be cyclical, the 80’s and 90’s are a clear influence on what is being presented currently. Last year Marc Jacob re-released a grunge collection he did in the 90’s and just announced a capsule collection that he did with MAD Magazine. Rita Ora just did a makeup campaign with Rimmel London that is completely 80’s inspired referring to the boldness (in colour) of the time. But those bold colours can be seen in many designer collections. My favourite example of this is Greta Constantine. Their clothing reminds me of Dynasty just with a bit of an update, Bold colours, gold accents, big hats.
TV seems to like setting shows in the 80’s. Stranger Things is the biggest example of this using everything from BMX bikes to walkie-talkies to induce a state of nostalgic euphoria. Deadly Class started recently that also happened to be set in the 80’s. The main reminder of this is the synth-filled soundtrack and the fact the main character wants to kill Ronald Reagan. Even shows that appear to be modern like True Detective are mostly reminiscent. Season 1 of the show is mostly the main characters talking about what happened in the 90’s. Season 3 is them going over what happened in 1980 and then 1990. But this is easy to forget as the story is deep, complex, and consuming until you notice that no one has picked up a cell phone and there are no computers on their desks.
Then in film you have movies like Atomic Blonde set as the Berlin Wall is about to fall. The styling and music of the film hits you over the head with the thrill of the tumultuous time; the danger, the oppression, and the impending freedom. Even films that are modern even futuristic like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Thor Ragnarok, and Pitch Perfect rely heavily on soundtracks that connect with the audience to make them work. Thor Ragnarok even utilized very 80’s styling within the film and in its advertising campaign.
Then there is the constant barrage of reboots/imaginings/reinterpretations in both film and television that are out or about to come out including TMNT, Ghostbusters, Transformers, She-Ra, It, Planet of the Apes, Total Recall, The Nutcracker, ThunderCats, Dumbo, Aladdin, Lion King… That is just to name a few. And I didn’t even bring up STAR TREK YET! (I’m not going to, it would be too much)
I am not saying all of these things are bad, I actually enjoyed quite a few of these movies/show, but I am not saying they are all great either. All I am saying is that I really would like to see something new, something fresh, something just different. I get it, the 80’s and 90’s were really cool, I was there I should know. I just think it is time we move forward.