A wave of nostalgic TV shows bring us back to childhood

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Photo courtesy of Nick Jr.

Do you ever sit down and remember the good old days? The times when you would meet up with your classmates in the morning to discuss important topics like who was the strongest Avenger, the identity of the Green Ninja and what snacks to trade that day.

If you were to look at popular media today, it seems that those days are not that far behind us. Old media from the late ‘90s and the early ‘00s is back in ways we never expected, but is this really something to celebrate, or are we holding onto the ghosts of our past? 

Late into 2019, Paramount pulled a smart move and put out older shows like iCarly and Victorious on Netflix in what seemed like a counterplay to Disney’s launch of their Disney+ service. This adjoined the announcement that iCarly had been picked up for a revival with a new, adult twist to it, receiving mixed reviews and appreciation for being able to touch on more adult material.

Of course, I can’t mention Nickelodeon without also mentioning Nick Jr. taking the world by storm with the heartfelt return of Steve from Blues Clues. Steve Burns had left the show because he was starting to get older with his character abruptly moving off to college, leaving the show in Joe’s hands. 

Steve’s return came with a short video saying that he never forgot us and how amazing it is that we all have overcome the struggles in our life. It immediately went viral, amassing over 37.8 million views on Twitter as the world rejoiced to see their old friend again.

Additionally, comebacks don’t even have to be presented in these million-dollar packages. A surprising comeback was made when Genevieve Goings, former star conductor of Choo Choo Soul, surfaced on people’s TikTok “For You” pages. 

Choo Choo Soul involved an unconventional series of music videos that was a part of the Playhouse Disney block of shows and later Disney Junior. Both Genevieve and Constantine “DC” Abramson, the beatboxing engineer, have made a return in their old uniforms after seeing how beloved the show was to its fans.

However, this surge in nostalgia really begs the question: is this good for us? Have we made progress since those days of not knowing what “8/7 central” means? A popular perspective is that companies just want to profit off our memories and that these revivals are strictly business decisions. 

UNLV student Nashay Call provided their perspective, noting, “These shows are essential for people who grew up watching them. However, I do think that most companies are willing to reboot anything that has mass appeal since nostalgia sells.”

A separate issue was highlighted by fellow student Patrena Allen who said, “I think they try to copy from the ‘90s shows too much, and it was different back then when we were watching TV.” 

Trying to bring back old formulas is a sure-fire way to alienate current audiences not familiar with how older TV shows were presented and how it worked. While it can be harmful to hold onto these pieces of the past, there is still something good to take away from it. 

Steve returning to Blue’s Clues is probably the closure a lot of people needed. Watching iCarly in an adult setting, struggling to find direction in life is a struggle that a lot of college students can probably relate to. Choo Choo Soul, given how niche of a show it was, is a reminder that we can all make a change in people’s lives no matter how small.

Students that struggle with the changes of growing up can find solace in seeing that things they grew up with inevitably change, reminding us of who we used to be as kids versus who we are now. It is not a mark of immaturity, but rather a sign of learning and appreciating the simple things that helped you grow up.

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