I grew up at the most amazing time.
I know a lot of people would argue that the late 80’s/early 90’s were not a mecca for anything except poor fashion choices, but here are the perks that come with being an ’85 kid.
The Little Mermaid was the Disney movie all my friends knew and loved. Every trip to a pool, lake, or ocean… we were mermaids. I got in trouble more than once for brushing my hair with a fork in public. The sing along potential from that movie is amazing, and who doesn’t want a cranky crab as a sidekick?
I learned about traveling through the digestive track with The Magic School Bus. Ms. Frizzle was my cartoon tutor about all the wonderful things you could explore in life. Though, admittedly, I did have nightmares about shrinking, being swallowed, and getting permanently trapped in a person’s throat.
I also grew up alongside Harry Potter. I was just past the stage where I could hope for a letter from Hogwarts, but I was perfectly placed to revel in the wonder of the wizarding world. When the final books were released, I was an adult who could go to the midnight release and binge the books through the night. I made it through the Harry Potter series spoiler free. That is a feat, my friend.
Teenaged angst? Buffy The Vampire Slayer was right there, not only having way worse dating drama than I could ever cook up, but proving that girls kick butt… seriously.
And an epic bonus, I was old enough to watch all of the Lord of the Rings movies in theatres! I had grown up with a serious crush on Elijah Wood, and though the hobbit feet still freak me out, seeing someone so close to my age succeed on such a massive level was incredible. Also, the movies are just great.
Here comes the part where I sound really old.
Kids today just don’t get the awesomeness that was my youth!
The Little Mermaid has its own ride at Disney World and Disneyland, which is super awesome, but Ariel has been replaced (in general, not on the ride) with the modern princesses. I love that Elsa and Anna save each other, and it’s great that Moana has no love interest at all. Sure, The Little Mermaid might be a little sexist and there are some major plot holes, but it’s still a great movie! I worry that over time this classic will be pushed into the realm of Steamboat Willie where clips will be watched without context on YouTube, and small children will wonder why anyone would want to buy that hat at Disney World.
With the reboot of The Magic School Bus, kids today think they’re the ones to discover the magic of Ms. Frizzle. Don’t let the children convince you of this. Enough said.
It’s sort of the same boat with Harry Potter. Kids don’t understand why an adult would be so obsessed. I’ve been to the theme park (which is amazing, btw), and kids don’t seem to understand why there are so many grown ups who want to get a good view in the windows, or watch Dumbledore speak in his office. I have an interactive wand, and kids glare at you like you’ve stomped on their puppy when you don’t let them cut the line to cast spells. This is my childhood, kid. You can wait in line like the rest of us.
Poor Buffy has been relegated to a dark corner of the TV universe where kids will probably never see it.
I actually had a teenager tell me they didn’t like the Lord of the Rings movies because there wasn’t enough plot. I had to explain the difference between the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.
So, here I am, stuck in a world of swirling nostalgia. On the one hand, it’s nice to love something like Buffy where I don’t have to argue the timeline and validity of a universe to people who can’t drive.
But I do want the next generation to experience the joy and wonder of Harry’s sorting. I want them to know that Sam is the real hero. It’s a balance that’s hard to find.
Maybe we could all agree to just slap an est. sticker on all great media, so kids would know the history of the stories they enjoy.
The new generation can’t steal the joy that was my childhood, but maybe, just maybe, we could teach them why they are just going to have to wait their turn to cast the wingardium leviosa spell on the feather at Flourish and Blotts.