5 Things Adults Should Stop Being Nostalgic For
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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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.
"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.
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.
This is going to sound like I stormed into a room to tell you your favorite band sucks, but James Bond has been lazily coasting on nostalgia for at least 40 years. The character began as such an iconic karate-chopping, panty-dropping death machine that we hardly noticed when the people making his movies lost their minds.
You're talking about the time they used a fake third nipple as the entirety of my disguise, aren't you?
Roger Moore would do things like dress himself like a crocodile or dress a machine gun like a Mexican.
Those were not nonsense words I chained together out of silliness.
He once, almost magically, turned a man into a balloon by stuffing an air capsule into his mouth.
Obviously, I don't have a problem with any of this rampant lunacy. Who would? He exploded that man like a powerlifter blowing into a hot-water bottle, demonstrating all things are possible through the power of Christ. That's nothing but awesome. However, Bond's nonsense started to get decidedly less fun as the years went by. Pierce Brosnan was tortured by Koreans for years, which at least happened mostly off-camera. They zoom right in on Daniel Craig as he sits in a bottomless chair and had his nuts smashed with a rope. In Spectre, he gets strapped to another chair while Blofeld drills a hole into his skull. If they made Goldfinger today, Goldfinger would stay in the room and watch as the laser slowly crept toward Bond's crotch. Then, at the very last moment, the laser would linger on 007's groin for 40 seconds of searing testicle shrieks.
"Pity you became a Bond in this grim modern world, Mr. Craig. In 1975, this ball-smashing rope
would have been a slowly-filling water tank or a bowl of bored scorpions."
The fact that 007 movies are now cranky torture films might say more about us than it does about him, but even when James Bond was silly, he never seemed to be silly at the right time. For an action star, he forgets to make a joke after he murders someone way too often, yet he is always fucking around during mission briefings. Whenever Q tries to show him state-of-the-art -- sometimes highly explosive -- spy gadgets, Bond will be slapping random buttons like a stock photo girl playing video games.
They lose three or four 007s to mission briefings every day.
I guess when you are legally allowed to kill whoever you want, you don't worry so much about playing with explosives. If James Bond accidentally kills a room of technicians with a bomb, he can use his remaining fingers to flip off the police when they're cleaning up the corpses. He has the same attitude when it comes to his dick. He will meet a girl and know nothing about her except that she dates bio-terrorists and doesn't mind when strangers grab her by the neck and ram their tongues into her mouth. I'm surprised he can even smooth-talk all those women over the sounds of their coughing vaginas.
I think of all Bond's flaws, the one that bothers me the most is how, after all his training, he is always helpless in a fistfight. I don't mean choreography-wise. For instance, Bill Shatner may have moved like a chocolate Santa left in the sun, but Captain Kirk and T.J. Hooker could fight. By contrast, as soon as a battle starts, James Bond goes from suave secret agent to punching bag. He fights like a RealDoll being industrially tested for safe usage. It doesn't seem like this should be real, but if you go back and watch any Bond movie, he wins all fistfights by way of bumbling luck or a woman coming to his rescue. James Bond doesn't stick it into every woman he meets because of some kind of gland problem. He does it to make sure there's someone in his hotel room who can fight in case a 70-year-old maid bursts in and kicks the shit out of him.
Again, those are not nonsense words I chained together out of silliness.
Sex And The City
Hi, ladies. You might look back on Sex And The City as the trendsetting show that helped you find your place in the grand spectrum of femininity. Are you a prude? A Carrie? A slut? The other one? Well, this may be hard to hear, but those nice memories you have of Sex And The City are like the talking goats at your nude daycare. They never happened; it's simply your brain trying to make sense of Satan's Great Power.
Satan is such a Charlotte.
You're probably wondering what makes me think I know anything about women and their TVs. And that's fair. I normally only think about women's feelings when I'm posting their family's address to protect the integrity of my video games. The closest I ever came to being a feminist was when I wrote The Outrageous Rack And Everyway Rebellion Of Gloryhole Hymen, a poorly received Gloria Steinem porn parody. But even I recognize Sex And The City as an irresponsible, condescending mess. A SATC script was a child's idea of wisdom, dumbed down for an idiot's idea of a woman. Let me give an example.
In one episode, the homely one was complaining about a date that ended without cock. Ron Livingston heard the story and offered, "He's just not that into you." You might remember the line since it spun off into an entire book and feature film. That dumb-ass sentence had a bigger post-Sex And The City career than any of the principle cast. This is a show about the wisdom and intuition of four sex-positive women, and some random guy blows their mind with an observation just rude enough to not be called obvious. He might as well have said, "I don't know the dude, but did your shitty tits look that sad on your date?" There's a difference between "simple" and "stupid," but Sex And The City wouldn't know. Those walking contraceptive sponges ate up condescending advice like drowning children in a G.I. Joe cartoon.
In the year 2000, an episode of Sex And The City aired that changed the face of stupid forever. The main drama was Kim Cattrall's character was dating a black man, and his sister disapproved. When Kim finally confronted her about it, the reason for her disapproval was dumber than you could possibly imagine. It wasn't because of a subtle minefield of unspoken rules black people need to navigate that whites will never understand. It wasn't because Caucasians avoid washcloths yet seek out sorcery, or because her harvest pumpkin body beads might create a toxic paste when they touch cocoa butter. His sister explained, and I quote, "I'm sure you're a very nice person, but ... you're white."
Do you understand this delicate racial issue now? What the second-ever black character on Sex And The City was saying is: Whites and blacks don't belong together, and it's because they're different colors. I know it's confusing, so let me see if I can explain it more clearly: Say a Sex And The City writer accidentally got invited to an emergency U.N. summit. He would interrupt to say, "Oh, I see the problem! Some of these guys speak Mexican or something! Allow me to explain: People in other countries have different languages. And Israel and Palestine? You guys are overthinking it -- just, like, stop fighting."
Sex And The City writers weren't exactly imbeciles, but they were supernaturally uncomplicated. They attacked problems with the child-like simplicity of cyborg soldiers, ones that never went haywire from flashes of their human memories. In other words, the show was written by perfect killing machines. The kind of remorseless monsters who can jump into a feminist debate and instantly win it by pointing out the unspoken physical differences between men and women.
You guys still arguing about equal pay? Well, I'll just come right out and say it.
Women bleed out of their gonads and can't do pull-ups. The end.
Sex And The City tried to dumb down issues for a female audience and accidentally overshot it into "horse audience." I've never met a woman stupid enough for this show, and the top hobby on my Tinder profile is "politicol debaits. ;)" Let me give you another example. In the very same episode in which all interracial relationships are reduced to a dingbat identifying colors, Sex And The City tackled gay issues. I have to warn you: It's incredible.
While Kim Cattrall was experiencing her own little Apartheid, the show's B-plot involved Carrie's gay friend seeing a new man. The SATC writers knew they had to get these fellas into some authentically gay trouble, but what could that be? Coming out to parents? Trapped in Phil Collins' mouth? No, you're thinking too complicated. What happened was, Carrie's friend went home with a man who collected porcelain dolls. It sounds pretty gay already, but wait until you hear this: When they started fucking, his dolls fell over and broke! I know! Grown men typed that and a Golden Globe Award-winning crew filmed it! Maybe I'm just jealous because I'll never write anything so efficient, but that seems like it came from the imagination of an ancient time traveler who just had "gay" explained to him.
Did they accidentally film the sarcastic suggestions from the Entourage writers room? And while we're all here trying to solve this mystery: If "doll collection ruined by anal" was the gay plot they picked, what were the rejected ones? Mario Cantone loses bread maker auction to Kathy Griffin at charity event? Mix-up leaves beautiful cake in bathroom stall while nude stranger served to wedding? Jesus fucking Christ, Sex And The City. Even I know more about gay people than you do, and the top hobby on my Grindr profile is "Ask God for strength to chainge. jock 9 inches cut ;)"
I feel like all this butt stuff is making it hard to get my point across. I'll try to explain it a different way. You know when you're watching a crime procedural related to one of your hobbies and the writers just get fucking everything wrong? Ice T will be talking about rave culture or coin collecting or whatever, and you'd swear they went out of their way to avoid even reading a Wikipedia entry on the subject.
I bet it pisses off Law & Order: SVU knowing it can't talk like me but I absolutely can talk like it.
Anyone with a TV is used to seeing clumsy TV writers invade their culture. You'll be relaxing in front of a show when a clueless detective starts interviewing witnesses at a hobby convention and they reduce everything important in your life to three moronic, error-filled sentences. You'll scream something like, "What is this bullshit?! That's not, snaarf, how real furries talk!! Snaaarf!!" Well, Sex And The City was exactly like that, only all the time and for entire races and genders of people. This may sound like a total Miranda thing to say, but we are all dumber for having shared a world with it.
Seanbaby is a professional delight and game designer. Play his acclaimed game Calculords or enjoy him on Twitter.
Learn why nostalgia is dead as we know it in 6 Ways You Remember The Past (That Will Baffle Your Kids), and you'll quit whining about mom-and-pop stores after you read 5 Things We Need To Stop Feeling Nostalgic For.
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Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, moral codes, and private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful that we can't help but proselytize about it to the world. In the next live episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!