1. LION KING HITS DIFFERENT
Nostalgia is a free trip to a different mood. A time of “no worries” when you were blissfully unaware of the proverbial dumpster fires surrounding you. Call it mental lithium or escapism, but the recent Disney avalanche of remakes like The Lion King and Aladdin are $banking$ on a generation’s yearning for a better, simpler, and less messed up time. But then there are those that roar that the “new” Lion King is just another example of “toxic nostalgia.”
2. THE FACES OF THE FUTURE
Last month, our 2050 self paid us an unexpected visit from the Russians. Considering our culture’s obsession with discovering the fountain of youth (see the 1000 articles titled: “36 Easy Ways to Look Younger!”), the FaceApp phenomena proved the sinister appeal to peer into one’s decline – call it reverse nostalgia. The facial recognition shock value provided was a direct counterattack on our resistance to age. Maybe stronger than our firm grip on the precipice of youth, is our twisted curiosity about the unknown. So much so, that we’re swiping through the fine print and voluntarily becoming players in an insinuated global conspiracy.
3. COMFORT TV
The reasons why we’re still watching Seinfeld 30 years later are deeply rooted in psychology, as experts reveal: watching old favorites has proven benefits related to our mental health. In an age of infinite content, it’s no wonder why we keep going back to the shows we know. Bringing back classics is like hanging out with familiar friends, especially if you’re rewatching Friends.
4. LONGING FOR THE DAYS OF SECRETS
The hype around the Area 51 raid isn’t just because it’s highly memeable (which it is); it’s rooted in our deeper need to revisit forgone eras as a way of escaping the present. With two million people already signed up to raid Area 51 on Sept 20, it’s a sign that, in a day when political atrocities candidly flood our social feeds, maybe it’s better to think of a time when government acted like they had something to hide.
5. ALL THE THINGS
Stranger Things Season 3 not only helped ensure a record-breaking premier, it also benefited the 100+ partners involved, like Coca Cola, with product placements valued over $15M in marketing dollars. Even if the nostalgic marketing was too obvious, the series proved that it’s more than just a show, it’s become a platform that renowned brands, old and new, from Schwinn to Fortnite, are eager to be a part of. What happens when the entertainment we’re watching evolves into 60 min ads?
As all the big movie studios get swallowed up by bigger movie studios, we’re witnessing the continued monopolization of our childhood memories. The power shift is on full display at Comic-Con where reboots and sequels now run the show. Much like the paradoxical centralization of content, “Comic-Con feels like it’s expanding and contracting at the same time.” Have the Hollywood conglomerates run out of new ideas? Or are they just giving us what we want?
Our nostalgic desires may be as old as time itself. Thinking of the past is so pleasant because it has already happened, it’s over, there’s no uncertainty. So when we’re feeling stressed and anxious by the complexities of the world, going back to simpler times seems like medicine that soothes the soul. Only thing is, now nostalgia has become the vice of a generation. And if we’re addicted to looking back, does it make it more difficult to move forward?