Every era and every age group has its own archetypal character that sort of sums up the creative ideas of the time.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, this character was Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) on Saved by the Bell. Zack was an overconfident, smooth-talking kid with a slightly used salesman con artist veneer. He had a good heart, but it wasn’t always on the surface.
Zack to the Future (2020 to 2021) is a rewatch podcast in which Gosselaar sits down with co-host Dashiell Driscoll to watch the program with adult eyes. Having never watched the show, it is an opportunity for the cast, crew, and fans to reminisce about the gang at Bayside High.
I looked forward to this podcast every week. Gosselaar’s insight provides a unique perspective on his time playing one of television’s most well-known teenage characters. Unfortunately, it has since been canceled. But like its small screen predecessor, there are always returns.
Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can take you back to who you were at the moment in time. But there is also an element of understanding how the passage of time can change your perspective.
The new podcast Pod Meets World stars three actors from the 1990’s sitcomBoy Meets World. In the same vein as Zack to the Future, Danielle Fishel (Topanga), Rider Strong (Shawn), and Will Friedle (Eric) talk about their memories of making the show, watching it through adult eyes, and interviewing their costars.
This podcast is so much fun to listen to. I remember watching it as a kid and loving the program. Growing up with these characters, the experiences of my teenage years was perfectly reflected through Corey’s eyes. It was the perfect mixture of reminiscing and having the understanding of now being an adult.
What made me feel quite old was the episode with William Russ, who played the father. At the time of the show, Russ was the same age that Strong is now. Where have the last thirty years gone?
Do I recommend it? Yes.
New episodes of Pod Meet World are released every Monday and Thursday.
In short, this show was Saved by the Bell on the basketball court. Other than the sports angle, the only thing that made this show stand out was that the team consisted of both male and female players. I can recall watching an episode or two, but I was not a regular viewer. Obviously, there was enough of an audience to keep the series on the air for five years. I was not among them.
There seems to be a rule that in every generation, Hollywood looks to the past and uses nostalgia as a reason to reinvigorate old IPs.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is one of the newest releases from DisneyPlus.Thirty years after the original series has ended, they are living far from the limelight. Chip (John Mulaney) has a desk job. Dale (Andy Samberg) is still trying to cling to his past. When their old teammate Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is kidnapped, they have to put their animosity aside to work together. Assisting them is Ellie (KiKi Layne), a cop who is determined to solve the case.
First of all, shoutout to the homage to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is a subtle touch, but if you know, you know. I loved that Chip, who is the straight man is still in traditional 2D animation while out there Dale is in the form of modern animation.
The best thing about the film is that it appeals to both adults and kids. For those of us who remember the cartoon back in the day, there is humor that the grownups will get but might go over the heads of younger audiences. There are also easter eggs and cameos that may require repeat viewing to catch. It has the flavor of its predecessor while also standing on its own as a sequel.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.
P.S. The show’s theme song is a total earworm. Just an FYI in case it gets into your head as it is now in mine.
There is no one way to become a parent. While many go the traditional route, others choose either fostering or adoption.
The NBC1990s series, One World (1998-2001), followed a married couple Dave and Karen Blake (Michael Toland and Elizabeth Morehead) as they do their best to raise their six kids, who all come from various backgrounds.
Unlike other shows of this era (i.e. Saved by the Bell) that focused solely on the kids in the school setting, I like that the younger characters were seen both at home and on campus. I also appreciate that the creators went through the extra efforts to create a world with diversity as the backbone.
The fish out of water story is one of the oldest stories in the human literary canon. When we are in a place in which we are a stranger in a strange land, we have to either go along with the change or remain rooted in the past.
In the Nickelodeon television series, Hey Dude (1989-1991), Ben Ernst (David Brisbin) is a divorced father who has left his East coast, high-stress job behind with his young son Buddy (Josh Tygiel). Purchasing the fictional Bar None Dude Ranch out west, he has good intentions. But like any fish out of water, his vision does always gel with reality. He has four teenagers working for him. Melody (Christine Taylor) is the girl next door who works as a lifeguard and dance instructor. Bradley “Brad” Taylor (Kelly Brown) is a riding instructor who comes from a wealthy family in the Midwest. Danny Lightfoot (Joe Torres), hails from the Hopi Indian tribe and just wants to get along with everyone. Ted McGriff (David Lascher) is always looking for the next scheme. In between Ben and the kids is Lucy (Debra Kalman), who is the ranch hand forewoman and supervisor.
I remember watching this show as a kid. What was appealing was that it was set in a world that was and still is completely different from my own. And like any young person, you look up to those who are older than you.
These days, we talk about diversity and representation on screen. Having a Native American character who is not relegated to a stereotype or a background character was back then and unfortunately, still is revolutionary.
These days, technology changes in blink of an eye. What was cutting edge quickly becomes outdated.
In the 1992 Nickelodeon show, Nick Arcade, contestants competed in virtual video world. Hosted by Phil Moore, the game started with two different teams in the first round. The winner then moved into the “Video Zone”. Their goal was to win against the “Video Game Wizard” of that particular episode and ultimately, walk away the winner.
Almost thirty years on, the technology looks primitive, if not straight out of the stone age. But back then, it was top of the line and absolutely fascinating to watch.
Love triangles have for the most part, been a staple of the romantic comedy or romantic drama. For this narrative to succeed, the screenwriter(s) have to make this very basic and predictable story their own.
The 1999 movie Three to Tango stars three 1990’s television stars in the lead roles. Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott) is a businessman who asks Oscar Novak (Matthew Perry) to be a companion of sorts for his mistress, Amy Post (Neve Campbell). Charles thinks that Oscar is gay. But Oscar is straight. As Oscar spends more time with Amy, he begins to fall in love with her.
As rom-coms go, there is almost nothing revolutionary about this film. Charles is a dick, Oscar is a nice guy, and Amy is the woman in between them. I certainly appreciate that it is a small step in the direction of a realistic portrayal of LGBTQ characters. But in 2021 terms, its not exactly the ground breaking moment it could have been. My major issue is that Amy has no agency or life other than being a figure of romantic and sexual attraction. Granted, this movie is twenty two years old, but it has not aged well in my opinion.
There are two ways to create children’s television. The first is to talk down to the audience while advertising an inordinate amount of merchandise. The second is reach the children on their level and respect them as human beings.
The documentary,The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story, was released in 2018. The movie tells the story of the children television network, Nickelodeon, from its inception in the late 1970’s to the powerhouse it became in the 1990’s. Interviewing execs, writers, creators, and actors, it is the story of a channel that was ahead of its time and continues to push boundaries today.
World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.