Sunday night’s Super Bowl saw a lot of things: an acquitted murderer won another trophy, Budweiser decided to market their new beer with weird “Eyes Wide Shut parties” and our government spending was metaphorically depicted in a 35 minute blackout that followed a million dollar halftime show. And about that halftime show – many Americans were wondering/hoping that Beyoncé would be joined by her former group members Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for the first official Destiny’s Child reunion since 2006. This leads me to beg the question: Why do we need a Destiny’s Child reunion so badly? Rowland and Williams always played second fiddle to Beyoncé, and even though they have tried to make their own careers, it seems that America always wants a comeback. All of this is very true with my generation “The Millennials” (hell of a name) – we need so badly to relive the past, even if that past is no older than 30 years.
Take for instance the latest buzz from the “Flashback Pack”: Disney has ordered a pilot for a Boy Meets World spinoff, Girl Meets World. This cleverly-titled series will follow the daughter of Corey and Topanga Matthews, who will once again be portrayed by Ben Savage and Danielle Fischel. Since that news hit, fans of the series have sprung to the interwebs asking Savage, Fischel and series creator Michael Jacobs if anyone else from the original cast will be joining the cast of Girl Meets World, or at least make a cameo appearance. This is another facet of the problem, though not entirely unrelated. We can’t seem to let actors move on. Truly talented actors will always find the scripts and roles to transcends their stereotypes. Other performers realize in hindsight that their iconic roles might’ve actually been a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For the majority of last year, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had been promoting Fallon’s campaign to host a Saved By The Bell reunion on his show, even bringing former stars like Zack Morris himself (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) in character. Just the other day, Tiffani Thiessen (who played Kelly Kapowski) was surprised on the Today show with a Saved By The Bell themed trivia set and even Dennis Haskins, who played Principal Belding. Let’s just say that Thiessen was less than amused. And why should she be? I’m not going to argue for or against her acting talents, but she has made a career for herself on shows like White Collar and Beverly Hills, 90210. But like parents who refuse to see their grown sons and daughters as adults, we maintain a time capsule image of certain actors and actresses.
You might argue that this phenomenon of “barely legal” nostalgia isn’t specifically unique to “Millenials,” but our generation certainly perfected it. To no fault of our own, we have had increasing amounts of technology at our disposal from the VCR all the way to present day with DVR and YouTube. We can relive events over and over again through the wonder of technology – and if I’m being honest, in the absence one of those technological developments I probably wouldn’t even be writing this blog. We live in a culture of self awareness, sarcasm and irony; T-shirt companies across the world thrive on this reality. You may be smug in wearing your ironic Full House shirt (I know I would be) but your own sarcasm defeats you my friend. Corny sitcoms of the 90’s aren’t the only ones at fault, but right now they are apparently the focal point of our sequel/reboot/resurrection cycle. Naturally there is a business and marketing structure to all of this. Studios know that they can rake in the ratings and royalties from these types of projects but only because there is a demand for it. So why can’t we demand something new?
P.S. I am building my way to my personal thoughts on Hollywood reboots, prequels and sequels. Don’t worry. It is a delicate baking process in which the water of my work must be at the precise temperature for my writing yeast and sugars to react. Metaphors!