“Love … It’s a nice little trick if you can find it. We had found it. But now I knew finding love and holding on to it were not the same thing.” – Mary E. Pearson
On the concept of love, children’s author Mary E. Pearson is most definitely correct. However, in many cases, her words can apply to not just who we love but what we love as well.
Currently, we are living through intense cultural shifts and changes. The world has its eyes forward in every way, whether it be in fashion, music or design – except when it comes to the screen, television and film alike.
Roughly around 2014, posts began surfacing online, focusing on 90s culture, trends, and everything else we’d been missing. A resurgence of childhood memories swept over social media and quickly became a joyful, wistful frenzy. Amidst the sudden throwback, Disney came out with Girl Meets World, a spin-off of the classic 90s sitcom, Boy Meets World. And so, the nostalgia storm came in full force.
From Girl Meets World, many shows followed, including Fuller House, Gilmore Girls, Will and Grace, Dynasty, Roseanne and, most recently, American Idol, just to name a few. But that’s only television — in the world of film, Disney, maybe the biggest culprit at the moment, made multiple comebacks, starting with movies like Maleficent (2014), Cinderella (2015), The Jungle Book (2016), Beauty and the Beast (2017) and Mary Poppins (2018). Still yet to be released are classics such as Aladdin, The Lion King and Disney Channel Original TV movie Kim Possible, which is based on the popular 2000s cartoon of the same name. Aside from Disney, the movie industry has brought back films like A Star is Born and Mamma Mia, with still many more to come.
Now, I am not judging anyone’s reasons for supporting reboots or spinoffs or wanting to continue to watch their beloved characters and their stories. As a huge TV/film fan, I have so many shows and movies that I continue to return to because of the comfort and home I have found in them. And yes, a lot of the time I wish that their stories didn’t have to end because I don’t want to leave that comfort and home and love behind.
But I have to. We all do. I want to believe in all these do-overs. I so badly want to be okay with these projects and relive what used to be. But, as we’ve seen at this point, time and time again, you can’t repeat the past. You can’t ever completely retain that same feeling of elation and specialty as you do the first time around, you can only create new feelings and goodness all of its own.
If something is great, it’s lightning in a bottle. There is no recreating or mimicking it. It just is when it is, for however long it is, and that’s good enough, you love it like that. Steve Carell summed it up perfectly when asked about returning to The Office, in his Time interview:
“I think it existed in that time and with those people and it felt right. There was something so special about it, and I guess it’s an odd way to put it, but I love it too much to ever want to do it again. It’s too special to me in my heart in that period of time.”
And that is the very problem with reboots. Everyone is searching for that same magic and beauty that they felt from the original, but we all just walk away empty handed and disappointed. We think the next one will be better, but it hardly ever is. Lackluster and mediocre at best, simply because we were satisfied the first time around and we don’t really want or need another ending. That’s kind of the point.
For too long we’ve taken two steps back. The entertainment industry cannot keep recycling stories, because it’s easier. Because they already know they’re a hit.
We’re overdue for some new beginnings. There are magnificent, untold stories of fiction and fact, humans and creatures, romance and adventures, bravery and betrayal, pain and hope – all waiting or still in the making. Stories that one day will become classics and legendary and timeless. Stories that future generations will want to re-tell and reboot over and over because they found comfort and home in them. But, we have to find them, think of them and have the courage to create them first. I think we’re up for the challenge.
I know that it isn’t all bad and that many beautiful, new and original projects have emerged over the past few years and I do not invalidate them at all. I don’t even think badly of the reboots and spinoffs because I know why they were and are made. I know the simple happiness and excitement they’ve sparked in so many.
I’m just reminding myself, and all of you, that we can’t turn back and we don’t want to. Our artistic and cultural triumphs as human beings have been unique and exquisite and we continue to enjoy and appreciate the goodness of them, without having to tell the same exact story over and over again. As Ms. Pearson said, finding them and holding onto them, are not the same thing. And that’s okay because letting go doesn’t mean saying goodbye – it just means moving forward.
Featured Image via Zimbio