We all have our own nostalgias. Maybe you remember Full House well enough to let your TV spray diarrhea into your brain for the first season of Fuller House. You can't help it. When you have vague, pleasant memories associated with a thing, that nostalgia can cloud perceptions for the rest of your life. It's why you miss the laughter of Full House the same way North Carolinians miss unaltered genitals in their restrooms.
Warner Bros. Television
One difference: We eventually did away with archaic tragedies like woman-less caucuses
and "no coloreds" toilets, but Netflix is making a second season of Fuller House.
So sorry if you went into this article thinking, "I remember liking that mediocre '90s show," and now you've discovered you're worse than racism. Well, you're not going to like this either: The X-Files isn't very good, and here are five other pop culture properties who don't deserve any of our nostalgia.
#5. Final Fantasy VII
In the summer of last year, Square Enix announced a remake of the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII. What followed was a nostalgia explosion. The internet reacted like it found an old shoebox of police reports from the first woman it publicly destroyed. They couldn't wait to relive such beautiful memories. Some people even filmed themselves crying, which I bring up only because that kind of reckless wonderment becomes a public health issue. No scientist will be brave enough prove this, but whenever a person cries over Final Fantasy, a piece of Sonic The Hedgehog fan art magically comes to life and devours the troubled boy who drew it.
It's very nearly the sexiest way to die.
So why are people so nostalgic for this game? The obvious explanation is that Final Fantasy was the backdrop for their least-embarrassing puberty moments. But you could also argue it helped establish an entire genre. Before Final Fantasy VII, RPGs as a genre were about as popular as colonoscopy diagnostic software and sex-offender databases. You couldn't even buy RPGs in stores. They were exclusively delivered to households who checked multiple "asexual" boxes on their government census. The only way to get Virtual Hydlide tips was if one of your classmates met you at the school nurse while you waited for your moms to bring you clean pants.
If you all knew the soul-crushing horrors we endured in Virtual Hydlide, you'd call us heroes.
So, yes, Final Fantasy VII demonstrated to a generation that RPGs could be more than a pile of statistics and 12 colors of the same shitty cave bat. It had those, but there's something else it established -- video games should have stories no matter what the cost. It might be terrible and boring, but none of your buttons work until it's done being told. Final Fantasy VII made that standard. It's insane anyone would want to revisit this game. It's a dull cyberpunk adventure told entirely through unwanted interruptions. One quest starts with you being sexually assaulted by gay bodybuilders in a hot tub and ends with an extended cross-dressing joke. That's not how you make gamers laugh anymore. That's how you make gamers ruin Twitter for an hour.
Wait, this happened in Final Fantasy VII? Why do I remember this from church camp?
The main character, Cloud, shouldn't be the starting point for an outrageous flipping of gender stereotypes. Cloud Strife looks like a scientist hit the "fuckably smooth" button on his cloner and forgot to select a sex. He's what a bleached asshole thinks the rest of itself looks like.
Did enough people see Cloud Atlas for this joke to work? He looks like Halle Berry would look
if Cloud Atlas had an amyl nitrate dealer character? No?
These words you're reading right now have never worked, but before anyone heads to the comments to explain how I just didn't get FFVII, or how it's so obviously not cyberpunk, or how gender is a beautiful spectrum and Cloud's lady clothes are courageous, ask yourself this: Are you defending this story because it was good? Or is it easier to convince yourself Final Fantasy VII is a masterpiece than admit you were bullied by a PlayStation into reading its garbage screenplay for 60 hours? Final Fantasy VII's plot is like Donald Trump's penis. It's a thin, pointless, twisted thing, and anyone who tells you differently is an insecure shithead.
At its core, Final Fantasy VII is a love story.
When it came out, FFVII boasted about the length of its rendered videos as if "longest running time" was everyone's favorite Oscar category. But length is something you brag about only when you're Donald Trump's penis or a guinea worm crawling out of a Third World rash, which is a stupid sentence to type since they're the same thing. What I'm trying to say is that if you took the last crumbs from an empty bag of Cheetos, Donald Trump's penis could hide among them and start a new life. It would finally be free ... its master's tiny, moist hands never to touch it again.
If you could stop reading about tiny dongs for a second, there was a spell in Final Fantasy VII called Knights of the Round. Every time you cast it, which was probably often, it took 140 unskippable seconds to complete. That's no exaggeration. One hundred fucking forty seconds. If we really had Jedis, the release of Final Fantasy VII would have made them gasp, "It's as if a billion hours suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly erased from children's lives." When you were a kid, did you beat the Emerald WEAPON? Fantastic! That means you spent more time watching the same spell animation than you did showing your grandparents you loved them!
All this indulgence made non-interactive spectacle a standard feature in games. A triple-A title is now obligated to spend an extra $50 million to smash a bad cartoon into their game. Destiny would be a perfect and amazing experience if they hadn't felt compelled to staple unskippable dogshit to the front and back of every gunfight. Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid 5 would be the greatest achievement in fun history if it wasn't chained to the insane dumpster fire of Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid movies.
So if FFVII makes you nostalgic for anything, it should be the days before it existed, when video games were about crappy movies, not filled with them. To be honest, I don't know how any Final Fantasy nostalgia still survives. Every seven seconds, Square Enix takes an existing game, adds characters with ridiculous haircuts, puts its name on it, and leaves it a little bit worse. The Final Fantasy brand is the "Guy Fieri Ate Here" sticker of software.
Hey, kids! Guy Fieri says, "Snowboarding has never been as bomb-ass gangsta as it is with Cloud
and the Final Fantasy homeslicers!"
There are so many goddamn Final Fantasies, even they can't keep them straight. While getting pictures for that earth-shattering Guy Fieri joke, I found some Taiwanese company who said "fuck it" and gave their app the exact title of a popular Final Fantasy game. It's about some blue zebra jumping up a tree, it's been there for months, and no one seems to care. It is straight-up crazy and almost certainly illegal. And for nothing! It's an act as fruitlessly criminal as renaming your restaurant "Guy Fieri's Rockin' Rape Convictions: 27, Wait 28."
This is what your Final Fantasy nostalgia has wrought, you monsters.
The X-Men were superheroes designed to appeal to misfits and weirdos, which meant if you were the kind of person who read comic books, they had a good chance of resonating with you. The X-Men idea of embracing "the different" wobbled out of control almost immediately, and the writers were soon including every fringe science, foreign culture, and ridiculous power they could think of. It was like watching Steven Seagal movies from 1980 until now. Each new adventure led to a bit more insanity, a bit more bloat, and several new kinds of barely explainable fluids.
Also, these are the kinds of scenes written for the women.
The most popular X-Men storyline, The Dark Phoenix Saga, was a thousand pages of incoherent, aggressively pointless dream battles. And every X-Man character after 1975 was created by picking a random country and asking a mildly educated person to list everything they can remember about it. I mentioned in another article how the Irish one had a drinking problem and grew up in a leprechaun castle. The Chinese one made fireworks. The Japanese one is a samurai and also covered in goddamn atomic fire. I guarantee you if they made an Alaskan X-Man, his moose powers would have manifested by punching his pregnant wife in a canoe.
Unfortunately, Captain Costa Rica and his Chiquita Blade never caught on with readers.
Honestly, I don't care if the X-Men are vaguely racist. Vaguely racist is my comfort zone; it's how I order barbecue sides, speak Spanish, and accentuate a point with a gong strike. The problem I have with the X-Men is the contempt they had for their readers' intelligence. Classic X-Men were written for children, but never in our lives were we dumb enough to require all the explanation screamed out loud by the X-Men as they did obvious shit.
They treated the reader as if they were as stupid as Jean Grey as she jumped out a window
and forgot she could fly at the exact same time.
Well-written characters find ways to slip exposition into their dialog, but X-Men stopped every fight to perform a one-man show about their powers and origin stories. They explained every attack they ever dodged and every optic blast they ever fired. Did you ever hear how Storm grew up a thief in Cairo before being worshiped as a goddess in her native Kenya? You will, every time she ever shoots anything ever with a lightning bolt. You know what people used to call a leaping man with six knives before Wolverine? Explanation enough. In an X-Men comic, it's just a backdrop for a mid-air symposium on bionics and adamantium.
An X-Man can find a way to explain his or her powers even with half a person's face in their mouth.
Most comics are written with new readers in mind. X-Men were written for people who have never seen metal or wings or even a simple blade made out of the focused totality of a ninja's telepathy. The point is, if you need a word bubble, a thought bubble, and a narrator's explanation to make sense of a superhero shooting eye lasers, maybe you don't deserve eye lasers?
Maybe no one does.
And it wasn't only the comic that was intolerable. Before Fred Durst's sex tape, X-Men on the Nintendo was the most terrible thing you could do to your TV. And like Fred Durst's sex tape, it starred undersized, underpowered creatures no one could properly control, and only the worst possible people completed it. Nintendo Colossus couldn't jump, Nintendo Cyclops died if you used his eye beams, and Nintendo Wolverine didn't even have claws. I promise I mean this as an insult, but if a group of fun-size candy bars ever came to life in the garbage and awkwardly learned how to roller skate, video evidence of it would be dismissed as gameplay from X-Men on Nintendo.
Obviously, the kind of madman who'd be nostalgic for the X-Men Nintendo game is probably just associating it with the happy memories of his first pet mutilation. But there are perfectly normal people who enjoyed the X-Men movies, and those movies hated superheroes more than a child reading his 45th explanation of optic blasts. Bryan Singer took everything silly and fun about the comics and threw it out, replacing it with the kind of "cool" you'd find on a cartoon cat.
"Call a production design meeting. I think I found the look for that Z-Men picture."
You might remember the moment in the first movie where leather daddy Wolverine and Cyclops almost sprain their faces trying not to wink at the camera during, "Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?" Let's ignore how that's a first draft for the world's laziest superhero joke -- isn't it a strange thing to bring up? I mean, if yellow spandex is so crazy, why did Bryan Singer make a movie about people who wear yellow spandex? Make a movie about Nazis in a basement if spandex is so embarrassing. Who would expect this kind of insecurity from a director who's talked so many stubborn teenage boys into sitting on his fingers?
Solid burn, bro. And happy Muharram to the COOLEST nephew.
Dressing superheroes like sex toys is the kind of thing we thought we had to do in the early 2000s. There was this desperate need to un-nerd their source material, and it created an artificial gap between comics and movies. The "cool" precedent set by X-Men is why movie Galactus was a cloud of CGI nothing instead of an awesome 30-story man dressed like a pink placemat maze. It's why League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen was adapted from a brilliant comic adventure into an instructional video for eating asshole. It's why Elektra is 90 minutes of sloshing afterbirth screaming from a bucket. If you watched Batman V Superman and thought, "This filmmaker sure seems to despise his subject matter and audience," just remember: The X-Men invented that.
Ironically, being terrible at making fun of costumes was very much X-Men canon.
#3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
You probably knew there would be some turtle ninjas or transforming robots in here when you saw the title of this article. And it's that genius that makes us such great friends. Though, pal, I think we can agree Transformers nostalgia has been dead for years. The only reason they still make those movies is because they're popular in China, and that's only because watching dull swarms of metal shapes get assembled into things is terrific job training for their children. So I wouldn't call the lingering presence of Transformers in our lives "nostalgia." Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, on the other hand, remains this magical unkillable relic from our childhoods, despite decades of insufferable sucking.
I guess you could say I'm more of a "New Style Ninja Tortoise" guy.
Even if 1 percent of Ninja Turtle products were atrocious, that still accounts for more atrocity than any other thing in the history of civilization. And the actual percentage is much higher than that. If you can put a product on or into a human child, you can buy a lower-quality version of it covered in Ninja Turtles. When aliens dig through our remains, the artifacts from this era will convince them our society revolved entirely around torturing and poisoning each other with barbaric turtle sorcery.
20th Century Fox
Sorry, history! You know, again.
The original idea for the turtles started almost as an accident. A man doodled a turtle holding weapons and labeled it "NINJA TURTLE." His friend added the words "TEENAGE MUTANT" to create, of course, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. This gag of using way too many silly words to describe something is attempted by thousands of people every day, and simple probability suggests the joke may even one day land. But something about that particular chain of silly words inspired Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. They decided to turn TMNT into an original comic. Well, not exactly original. They took the plot, setting, and characters of Daredevil and added animals. If this idea happened today, it would be called "Wow. Just Wow. Two Artists Reimagined Daredevil As Four Turtles, And It's Stunning."
TriStar Pictures, Paramount Pictures
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THESE ADORABLE CHILD STARS GREW UP TO BE F*****G REPTILES
So this was a spoof with an absurd name that somehow ended up being taken seriously. It was so successful it sold out and immediately shot up in value. This led to others trying to copy its success, often almost exactly. A spoof came out called Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, which had all the wit of a robot doing a spot check of its Thesaurus systems. There was also Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos, which seems more like a scientific study on the theoretical limits of uncleverness. The influx of these Ninja Turtle spoofs and copycats was so widely unwanted people actually credit them with bursting the indie-comic bubble. So, in a way, through its own unexplainable success, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles led to the destruction of its own industry. It didn't matter, though; right as that industry was giving out, some cartoon executives took Eastman and Laird's idea, added pizza and a space brain driving a nude roboman, and made it one of the raddest shows of the '80s.
Group W Productions
"Because I didn't WANT a battle tank! I wanted to look like one of them, while reminding them
of each physical and mental disability their Earth medicine hasn't eradicated!"
So this absurd spoof that was taken seriously got adapted to be absurd again, and from there it spawned six feature films, 40 video games, and a toyline for every concept and adjective. The Turtles even had a traveling sex fetish stage show for toddlers called the "Coming Out Of Their Shells" tour. The show starred what were obvious strippers in Turtle costumes pelvic-thrusting through songs like "Walk Straight" and "Tubin'." It was almost certainly the work of a genius looking to prove he could get parents to bring their kids to a 90-minute gay joke.
20th Century Fox
To its credit, the show did give four at-risk teens a job outside the sex industry, if only just barely.
As their numbers approached the thousands, each TMNT product was worse than the last. It formed a surplus of unwanted garbage that is today more likely to kill ocean life than make a child happy. "Ninja Turtle" is like a neutral color now. When you're at the store, "Ninja Turtle" is the kind of shirt or microwaveable meal or underpants you select instead of "gray." It's the pop culture equivalent of "I really don't care; just pick something."
"Here's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cheese stencil."
This caption was taken from the last words of a Nabisco marketer as he leapt from a window in 1991.