Nostalgia as a Genre

In the three days after its Netflix release, "Stranger Things" rocketed to number 26 IMDB’s top 250 shows. Marketed across the internet as a well-casted, spooky, nostalgia-perfect program, the description inspired a cross-internet search for movies, television shows, and assorted media that has been marketed for its "nostalgic" value and their close ties to the 80s and 90s. The majority of the hits were produced in the past 20-30 years (Clueless, Grease), but many instead are recent productions taking place in that time period (It Follows, Stranger Things), falling into decades not old enough to be considered "period pieces" but also clearly not modern age.

Examine this category of film and television, its cultural appeal, its widespread success across the western world, and determine whether or not "nostalgia" is being appropriately applied to these very specific decades, or how media of these categories might be alternatively described.

  • Excellent topic! You allow for a multitude of avenues to be explored. I also appreciate your own inquiry into the use of the word "nostalgia" when referring to works from these decades, and the categorization of such titles. Who is to say what is and what is not able to conjure up feelings of nostalgia? Great choice...I look forward to reading this, as I believe someone will pick up this topic. – danielle577 7 years ago
  • This is a great topic and I think many readers will be able to relate to it. I myself find that I am a part of the nostalgia generation and I think it's because there are too many sitcoms out there today. Back in the 90s and early 2000s there were only a handful of sitcoms. You watched Friends, Party of 5, 90210, and you felt a connection with the characters. The shows were simple and offered viewers a place to go and just enjoy the story lines. I think this topic can be picked up with ease and I look forward to commenting on it. – iwrite 7 years ago
  • Love this topic as a fan of "Stranger Things" and the 80s iconography it pays tribute to. Part of the appeal of nostalgia stems from those who grew up during those specific periods as well as those who just have a fondness for those eras in general. I do wonder if younger audiences for "Stranger Things" enjoyed it as much as I know older millennials did. If they did, I suppose the appeal for them is that it has elements they can relate to, i.e. the group of kids and their adventures with Eleven. For teenagers, it had the Nancy, Jonathan and Steve storylines; Gen-Xers have Joyce and Hopper. I thought nostalgia was cleverly applied to "Stranger Things," because, while the show is bursting with 80s love, it also flips 80s tropes on their head at the same time, such as the Final Girl trope and the love triangle twist. Thus, it is upgraded to modern times while still remaining nostalgic. I think nostalgia has such crossover appeal because older people may introduce kids to the things popular in their era, and it gets passed on. I think its appeal is also in part due to an ironic yearning for the pre-Internet life. Interesting questions you have; hope your topic gets picked! – cebalo 7 years ago
  • It's interesting as someone born mid-90's to see such a resurgence of classic "80's" nostalgia. I'm faintly aware, as an observer and less as one who's experience ATARI or the other trials of the 80's, and it's interesting to see how the Duffer brothers brought back to life a world so naturally, despite the ever-changing time and our own modern aesthetic of conscious dystopia. I think this is a very keen topic! – bbartonshaw 7 years ago

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