Emerging Evidence: New Nostalgia

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Can you believe they’re still making movies about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? We’re talking about a comic that started in the late 80s that featured violent, ninja mutant turtles that somehow transcended to become one of the biggest children’s and young adult properties of the 90s. Toymaker Hasbro is even creating a shared cinematic universe—featuring G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., Micronauts, Visionaries and ROM. This is the entertainment that Millennials have wrought, dredging up the zombie-like husks of our childhoods in order to set nostalgic hooks in our wallets, hoping that in our ever-present quest to figure out who we are we drop some money on remembering who we were.

So if Millennial nostalgia is all superheroes, terrible movies made about toys, endless remakes and movies about theme park rides, what will the next generation’s nostalgia be? For that generation who grew up with the internet, touchscreens and smartphones, nostalgia is online.

Memes, videos and “internet folklore” have already begun resurfacing in pop culture, right when Gen Z is starting to make its way out into the workforce and out into the real world. Will we be getting treated to an epic, sci-fi adventure called All Your Base Are Belong to Us? It seems like we would, given that we already have a movie based on a smartphone game about throwing angry birds at pigs.

The speed of the life cycle of pop culture on the internet is incredibly fast, so it’s no wonder that we’re already coming full circle on things that would have been mainstream even just a few years ago. Maybe Sandra Bullock can do a feel-good summer movie about the ice bucket challenge (hey, remember when that was a thing?) while Guillermo Del Toro can tackle the lord of creepy pasta itself, Zalgo.

Either way, the internet is going to start leaking into the real world more than ever.

Adam Hails

Senior insights officer and cultural/behavioral analyst at Culturewaves.

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