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Nostalgia – Not All it’s Cracked Up to Be

June 10, 2009

I think there’s a reason why Internet critics do what they do. Let’s take Doug Darien (Nostalgia Critic) for example. He’s often stated that he started doing what he does because he had watched some movies from his childhood as an adult only to realize that what he once loved was actually incredibly poor. I think all of us have come to this realization about something in our lives. You have to admit, as children we were all once very easy to please, and it didn’t exactly take a lot to entertain us. I’ll certainly admit to that. I was a dumb kid, that’s for certain. And you can’t honestly tell me that you weren’t one, too.

I’ll give my first example as that old Mega Man animated series. Remember that? Remember thinking it was cool because you thought the Mega Man games were cool? Well it’s not. I’m sorry, looking back on it, sure, you may have liked it, but honestly? It’s NOT GOOD. The intro animation is as good as it gets and the remainder of the show is severely lacking. And, geez, can’t we go 30 seconds without a severely bad pun?
Cut Man: I’m going to CUT you down to size!
Honestly? Seriously? Geez… And Rush, knock it off with your crappy Scooby Doo impression already!

Some of the same things can even be said about childhood foods. Just look at Lucky Charms. I mean, yeah, you can remember all the shapes and everything (thank you, advertising and soft brain tissues), but does that REALLY make it all that good? Maybe they’ve changed their formula lately. In fact, I’m sure a lot of food companies do this these days. They stuff in more preservatives to make more money. The shapes get smaller, and the marshmallows get harder, and the taste is much less sweet. Heck, what about Sugar Crisp? Remember those? No? Well, maybe it’s because they’re called HONEY Crisp now! Yeah, they got rid of the sugar! Nostalgia doesn’t taste so sweet, does it? In any case, we got all excited over these cereals because if your parents ever bought them for you, you essentially got away with eating candy for breakfast (attempting to avoid a Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs Cereal joke). And yet the taste… it just doesn’t add up to what I remember. Anyone else ever get the same sort of feeling?

Board games, too! Did you ever play Mouse Trap? Did any of you ever have the version that was NOT made of plastic parts? That thing was AWESOME! So, okay, this isn’t exactly the same as the other situations, because the concept behind Mouse Trap truly is awesome. It’s like a Pithagora’s Switch (look it up on YouTube, those things are freaking fantastic) that you can build at home in a single box. But, anyway, the game used to be made out of metal and sharp pointy things. Now it’s made out of plastic and things that don’t work right. See? It’s different now! Memories seem sad and cheapened. Wouldn’t you say? Yeah.

At a later point, I will probably discuss things that actually get BETTER with age. But at this point, I just wanted to bring up the point that we are spoiled by our nostalgia goggles, and if you take a closer look, sometimes you find that you don’t really know why it was that you liked what you did so much.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2009 8:59 AM

    Well I remember shows from my childhood losing something as I rewatch them, Voltron in particular, and same with Silverhawks and Thundercats

    Cereal, well I still eat Cap’n Crunch, it really hasnt seemed to have lost much, just I remember when you could only get red crunchberries, I even remember the commercials where the good Cap’n would have to deal with the Soggies

    Sadly I never got to play with death trap… errrr metal mouse trap, I do remember playing lots of Opperation, and well we had Yard Darts, yeah….. those became weapons fast, mainly seeing who could throw it into the ground the hardest, and throwing it at a sheet of plywood that was stood up and get it to puncture the most

  2. 4n0nym00s3 permalink
    June 11, 2009 3:33 PM

    Penn and Teller had an episode called “Good Old Days,” debunking the myth of nostalgia. You’ll be surprised to know that it occurs within adults 30 and older, not just teens and 20 somethings. In some fashions, the former is actually worse.

    The truth is, when we were alive in “good ol’ days,” we bitched non-stop then.

  3. June 12, 2009 1:25 AM

    That’s exaclty what happened to me when I watched again the He-Man live action movie again as an adult (much worse than Doug’s experience). But fortunetly I’ve been having a strike of luck remembering only the good stuff and look for it at YouTube.
    I think the only thing in my childhood that was, is and will always be is a good bowl of Choco Krispies.

  4. Griffin permalink
    June 17, 2009 10:07 PM

    Hey, I STILL buy “children’s” cereal at age 29! I can go through a box of Fruit Loops in two days easily!

    Recently, I’ve been re-watching all of the old He-Man cartoons. The quality of animation is piss-poor, of course, but the some of the stories are actually pretty good. Unless Orko is involved. Ye GODS that thing needs to die. I think I actually used to LIKE him. So, that’s ONE thing I’ve “grown up” from.

    Stupid Orko.

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