Childhood TV: The Next Generation

Oh, my friends, I am getting old.  This isn’t a surprise, per se; I have a really good memory for years and dates, and I can do basic math, so intellectually I know that, say, Full House is a good 25 years old, akin to today’s kids what The Brady Bunch was to me.  But it’s only recently that I’ve begun to personalize this math, to realize that I am part of a specific demographic.

When I was a kid, there was a local chain called Angel’s Diner.  It was all 50s kitsch, poodle skirts and shiny chrome and “Mr. Sandman.”  So the other day, I’m sitting in a burger place and I’m thinking how “cool” it is – funky decor, vintage 80s cartoon merch.  The music playing is everything from The Cure to Radiohead to that song “Flagpole Sitta” that will forever make me think of the movie Disturbing Behavior and suddenly it hits me: I’m sitting in the modern equivalent of Angel’s.  My 80s and 90s memories are the poodle skirts, mod boots and bellbottoms of today.  Creepy.

Further driving this point home is the news of the developing TV show Girl Meets World, a next-generation of Boy Meets World starring the offspring of Corey and Topanga.  No TV super-aging necessary; we’re really all that old.  Since then, various cast members of Saved By the Bell have suggested that they’d be interested in some sort of reunion show (as they’ve been saying for years) and hinting that the excitement over Girl Meets World indicates that the time is right.

It’s not like this is something new; I’ve been watching Degrassi: The Next Generation for years.  There’s a reboot of 90210 that’s been on for several years too.  But I was pretty young when those shows were new, and it just didn’t feel the same.  Now we’re pillaging the years where I learned to put on makeup and bought Bop and Teen Beat magazines.  There are even rumors of interest in a Dawson’s Creek reunion.  Those would be my high school years and I’m just not going to think about that one until it happens.

I freaked out like this for a few days, and then I embraced it.  So maybe I’m part of the middle-aged targeted demographic.  So maybe the Disney Cruise commercials on Hulu are using music from The Little Mermaid and Aladdin because they’re trying to snare the parents (!) by appealing to their generation (!!).  It is what it is and since I’m a big fan of nostalgia, I might as well revel in it.

Honestly, I’m not super-interested in a Saved By the Bell reunion unless they bring back Tori the biker chick.  But there are other shows of my generation whose reunions I’d tune in in a heartbeat to watch.  Let’s imagine the possibilities:

Clarissa Explains It All

Hands-down, this would be my favorite.  Clarissa’s writing seemed so much more real than other shows of the time – she wanted to go to Pearl Jam concerts, for crying out loud.  What would she have grown into?  Would she have ever gotten together with Sam?  Would we really have wanted her to?  And is she still making computer games to solve her internal conflicts?

The Adventures of Pete and Pete

I don’t know if I’d want a straightforward reunion or next-gen on this one – it was a bizarre, surreal show and it would need something equally out there today.  Maybe the adult actors still acting in their original roles?  Nah, maybe that’s a little too odd, but  I’d watch it no matter what it was.  Somehow I feel like it’d be Arrested Development.

Daria

This one’s an easy one, because it’s animated.  The trick, in these shows, is remembering that you’ve skipped over those all-important college years, where all that self-exploration goes on.  I don’t think it’d be as simple as Quinn’s now a PTA mom, Daria’s still cynical and awkward – I’d think she’d have found her niche, whatever it was.  I’d be interested in seeing where they took that.

Roswell

Okay, this one probably isn’t a surprise if you’ve read my ode to this show in the past.  I loved this show, these characters and these actors, and I’d love to see them again.  Sure, you’d probably never get Katherine Heigl, and it’d take some tricky writing to bring back Colin Hanks, but a girl can dream, can’t she?  I think they’d have settled down quietly somewhere, living out their lives in suburbia, hiding their alien powers.  Wait, that’s the plot of The Neighbors, isn’t it.  Maybe I’ll watch The Neighbors and pretend they’re the characters from Roswell.

My So-Called Life

I feel like my mind is blown even thinking about this.  Oh, the angst.  This one demands a new crop of children, of course, because the old one thrived on that generation gap.  Oh, this would be a time.

Now, what about you?  What shows would you like to see rebooted, reunioned or next-gen’d?  And am I the only one feeling positively ancient at the thought of, say, Angela Chase having kids? 

 

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