An Open Letter To The Disease Of Nostalgia

Dear Nostalgia,

Congratulations are in order, I suppose, as New York Magazine is reporting that you have won another decisive battle in your war against pop culture via your recent success earlier this week in the Teen Nick throwback ’90s programming block.

According to Nielsen, the midnight-to-1 a.m. combo of All That and Kenan and Kel drew roughly 600,000 viewers (of all ages) Monday, compared to the 374,000 viewers who caught Lopez Tonight on TBS in the same hour. It also bettered the 559,000 viewers who caught an Awkward rerun on MTV at midnight, as well as the roughly 500,000 people who checked out reruns of The New Adventures of Old Christine and HIMYM on Lifetime. Considering Teen Nick doesn’t have anywhere near the profile of those other networks, its after-midnight performance can only be called extraordinary.

Congratulations, Nostalgia, and also fuck you. You are the worst and you are ruining everything. Let me put it this way: it was not until YOU came along that I felt compelled to defend the noble sanctity of Lopez Tonight! At least he is trying to MAKE something. That is how terrible you are, Nostalgia, a blight, a scourge, and you must be destroyed.

People have always enjoyed/struggled with you, Nostalgia. It is literally, like you, nothing new. And in moderation, and depending on the format, around a campfire say, or on a lonely night, indulging in you can be enjoyable (or enjoyably unenjoyable) and meaningful. But lately, Nostalgia, you have mutated like the disease in that movie about diseases. Although it kind of goes against what you are all about, you have become something new. You are far more dangerous and insidious than you have ever been before, and you must be killed before you kill pop culture.

I’m talking, Nostalgia, about your new role as an empty surrogate for actual creativity. There was a time when you were something to hold hands with on a trip down Memory Lane, but now Memory Lane is paving over Today Street. It’s one thing for a movie or a TV show to give a self-aware nod to its influences and those who came before, but now 20 year old TV shows for children that were kind of corny and garbage in the first place are beating out contemporary shows by a margin of 2-to-1? You are behind every remake. You are behind every bad idea being given a second chance. We have abandoned the knowing references (which were become problematic in their own right) for a whole-hog return to the past. But that is no way to build a future!

The more you succeed, Nostalgia, the less inclined people will even be to try anymore. But if no one tries anymore than there won’t be anything contemporary to feel nostalgic for in the future. Ultimately, Nostalgia, you are a poorly imagined virus that will burn itself out along with everything else if left to your own devices. Yikes! Even you would be able to see how this is a serious problem if you weren’t too busy looking backward. (BOOM!)

Enough, Nostalgia. Down here, it’s our time. It’s our time down here. That’s all over the second we ride up Nostalgia Troy’s bucket.

The Cast of Hey Dude.