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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Reflections on the Varieties of Televisual Nostalgia
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elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: January 18th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Interesting. I did grow up watching both Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, but haven't done too much re-watching--and I don't know that I was watching it quite as early as that. Perhaps by the time my brother was in pre-school, when I would have been more like 4-5, but what I do remember is getting chastised by the cousin three years older than I am at some point--probably when I was about Skylar's age--for confessing that I enjoyed both when I was younger.

You know I'm prone to watch shows I never watched in their heyday--with an enthusiasm that borders on nostalgia but lacks its grounding in personal experience. I wonder about that a lot. Sure, I'll rail that spy and detective shows from the 60s to 80s are just plain good television. But I wonder nonetheless why I like living through something as if I'm reliving it when I know I'm not. The Avengers is my most recent case in point. But Rockford, MacGyver, and Remington Steele are all favorites. I think I may remember *reruns* of Rockford fondly. Maybe MacGyver. But if it's a re-run (and/or given that all TV begins with the potential to be re-run) how does that affect experiences of identification and later nostalgia?

And finally (because this comment is seriously long already), J and I recently finished Netflixing the entire run of My So-Called Life, which I *did* watch in entirety when it first aired. But I wasn't a child. It's my high school self I'm revisiting. And I loved watching it but not always--the show is painful but so is that return (very Didion with her selves at the back door, if you know what I mean). J had no memories--and no co-ed high school--but it still affected him profoundly too. I'm still thinking about that and you've given me much to think about. So thank you--very much.

I hope Skylar's already on the mend.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: January 18th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh! And because this is too great not to mention, there's this scene you would have loved at the end of one of the My So-Called Life episodes where the characters wax poetic on Sesame Street and their youth and then one breaks into that song, dancing up and down the street in her 90s flannel.

And 2) I've heard more than one person in my age bracket swear that they're buying the box set of MSL to save for infants they do or do not presently have, but who they swear will one day grow up and therefore need precisely this show, complete with its flannel, replete with their nostalgia. Thoughts?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 19th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I somehow managed to miss the entirety of that show, though I had a number of friends that watched it. I really need to check it out, in part for the reasons you suggest. Great point about folks buying it for children-yet-to-be.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: January 19th, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It really is quite good and worth seeing if you have a chance ABC didn't know how to spin the show but the fact that it aired weekly on an non-cable network even if just for one season really was the something you've likely heard tell of. I encountered _Freaks and Geeks_ for the first time much more recently but it's also quite good, in case you were wondering.

I love and yet don't quite understand the insistence by older 20somethings that they're buying such shows for the children they may or may not have already or in the future. They're watching it themselves in the immediate and extended present, I imagine--the same way I'm watching them now. Would my own children really respond the same way that I do to seeing someone else at the same age I was once (the same age I was then, when it aired) folding and rolling herself into the folds of an oversized flannel shirt while something insane like the Cranberries plays on the stereo in her TV bedroom? Is all teen angst really the same? Or will my children swear otherwise as they burrow into some other fabric in search of themselves? And will they be right even though I swore the same thing myself--even though the flannel I loved best I'd stolen from my mother's closet? God these reflections are dizzying. But will I remember to let my children believe that I don't understand at least sometimes, if only so that when/if they arrive at opinions I already hold they'll believe them their own?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 19th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
She's doing better, thanks.

I also have that nostalgia for what I haven't experienced myself, a topic I want to muse on as well. In particular, I have an intense nostalgia for the few years prior to my birth, 1965-1967. A lot of that has to do with the way the Sixties are narrated. But I think it also might have to do with the way I used to watch slide shows of my parents' trips prior to my arrival on the scene.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: January 19th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I can understand that. And I had the 60s narrative-based nostalgia, too--most severe around the time I hit high school, I think. But my love for some of the music and shows that I love isn't entirely reducible to that, so yes, more musing is needed.
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