Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nickelodeon's "Fifteen"

(If you don't judge, skip the literature and simply scroll down to the amazing videos posted below. Also, don't read it.)

NOTE: The following preface is an attempt to justify our placement outside of the hipster-friendly 90's-Nickelodeon-nostalgia universe of which we are not interested in joining.

We'd like to hereby state a perspective of understanding the true distinction between "nostalgia" and "viewing from a fresh viewpoint."

Let's quickly describe the difference...

You probably know what nostalgia is... But for the sake of simple explanation, it's the evocation of reliving a sentimental feeling which is sparked after experiencing a sensation. Sometimes it happens after viewing a youtube clip, or hearing a song, or maybe even after eating some weird candy or something that you haven't eaten since you were a kid, or something... (Lots of people say that smells evoke nostalgia, but this only happens for us occasionally.) And often times, even if you initially experienced these sensations under troubled or even miserable circumstances, one may be reminded of these specific feelings with a "rose-colored-glasses" perspective, leading many to (incorrectly) wish they could relive those periods of life.

"Viewing from a fresh viewpoint" entails knowing the difference, and mostly takes place once you don't care about nostalgia anymore, which is pretty much where we're at.

So yeah, nostalgia is bullshit and boring. We're not really into the whole "80's/90's nostalgia" thing... We were at one point, but we're kinda done with it now, as you all should be as well. If you're not over it yet, enjoy nostalgia for a little while longer, and get it the fuck out of your system as quickly as you can. (An important point to note: Nostalgia has very little, if anything, to do with our decisions to post relatively enormous features regarding our favorite 80's songs and our favorite 90's songs.)

Once upon a time, we were 19, and the internet was fresh.. One of the first things we enjoyed locating were old themesongs from Nickelodeon that we hadn't heard in 8 or 9 years.. Danger Mouse and all that fun stuff.. But that was like 12 years ago. It was fun, and now we're over it.

At the time, it wasn't as common to witness such vast nostalgia.

In the 90's, Generation X'ers who grew up in the 70's may have enjoyed an album called Schoolhouse Rock Rocks which was comprised of bands like Blind Melon, Better Than Ezra and Deluxx Folk Implosion covering those ultra-annoying songs that were shown on ABC Saturday mornings in the 70's and early-80's.

In the early 2000's, the internet was younger, but it wasn't uncommon to see message board subjects such as "what are the greatest TV episodes of all time" and witness answers such as "The 'Capture the Flag' Episode of Salute Your Shorts". (P.S. While it's amusingly silly, the 2012-perspective of Salute Your Shorts can pretty much only be enjoyed for nostalgic qualities. Outside of that, it's pretty awful.)

Around 2009/2010, a shit-ton of chillwave bands and reverb-heavy indie-rock bands emerged with names like Ducktales, Golden Girls and Reading Rainbow, seemingly trying their hardest to cash-in on a newly marketable hipster-version of nostalgia.

And it's only gotten worse since then. It's 2012 and so now everyone's opinion matters, and the loudest generation is clearly the ones whose nostalgia is the loudest, that being the kids who used to watch All That, Alex Mack and Legends of the Hidden Temple... Yeah, that's real great.. we get it, you miss being a kid in the 90's. It was so fucking cool, right guys?

The 90's are over, and you're not a child anymore. Grow the fuck up.

With that said, we never really got to watch Pete & Pete during the 90's... For some reason, we missed out on it, and just caught up on its first season throughout the past year. And we're happy to confidently state, without any nostalgic context, that this was a very well written and really fucking funny show. No, really.

All nostalgic context aside, believe it or not, a LOT of these shows were actually really good. Take Ren & Stimpy for instance, a one-of-a-kind landmark in the history of animation with nothing else truly like it before or since... We just took it for granted at the time, but it makes sense to view some of the more inspired current series on Nick and Cartoon Network (such as Flapjack, Adventure Time and Regular Show) and note a lineage that built to this point.

IN THE EXTREME OPPOSITE DIRECTION, our collective cultural viewpoint has grown far more self-aware. Irony and meta-irony are more extreme than ever, which is probably a good thing, because it probably means we're collectively getting smarter. There was a time (not too far from the present) when people seemed more afraid to laugh at themselves, and we are currently FAR removed from that...


Unaware naivety is something that can rarely be faked convincingly. When it's obviously fake, nothing could be lamer. But when it's real, its potential for being immensely compelling is unparalleled, with some of the best recent cases being memes such as "Chocolate Rain" and "Friday."

This wasn't uncommon in the 90's either. It made sense for college students to understand what made shows like the syndicated series Saved By The Bell a required daily viewing ritual.

This is partially why we're surprised that no one has made a bigger deal out of FIFTEEN, a show that we viewed in the early 90's which we've recently re-discovered on Youtube in time to review without any special nostalgic context to cloud our viewpoint.

No fucking around here, people... It's pretty outstanding. We're not entirely sure how it hasn't sourced dozens of internet memes. Honestly, it's not even that funny as much as it's amazing it ever got made.

Whatever, it's actually not that great... But we just wrote that intro for 20 minutes and don't feel like erasing it.... These are the first 2 episodes of Fifteen. They're fucking awful and amazing:

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