Over the last few years, people born in the ‘80s and ‘90s have seen their childhoods flash before their eyes, brighter and shinier than ever. Hollywood and greater corporate America have discovered that adults brought up in those relatively peaceful and prosperous years love nothing more than to be re-served the pop culture they voraciously consumed as children, which has led to an onslaught of reboots and unlikely sequels.
The rebirth of old TV shows and movies, once confined to ironic t-shirts, has become an everyday occurrence. Here’s just a small sampling of the pop culture that’s been recycled, or had a remake announced, in just the last year: Star Wars, Pee-wee Herman, Ducktales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Independence Day, Godzilla, Ghostbusters, Ecto-cooler, Paddington Bear, Peanuts, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Space Jam, Voltron, The BFG, Power Rangers, and the O.J. Simpson trial.
All of those things make me feel warm and safe inside, protected from a real world that is super duper confusing and scary these days. And so I am calling on Hollywood to double down even harder on bringing back more things from my childhood, so that I never have to worry about the present day. Here’s some strong suggestions for this initiative.
This show was aired on the Disney Channel early every morning when I was a little kid, and really inspired me to better myself. Childhood obesity has skyrocketed, so it can only be a good thing to bring this day-brightener back.
Welcome to Pooh Corner
We somehow got free Disney Channel for a few years when I was really little, and before the cable company figured it out, I watched this sometimes. I’m thinking they could go motion capture for the reboot, with Andy Serkis playing Eeyore and Kevin James as Pooh. Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be the perfect Tigger.
2-XL the Robot
This was a robot toy that taught you history and other lessons through immersive audio experiences that simulated crazy stuff like time travel. It ran on cassette tapes and I’m still baffled by the technology involved in the interactive portion. I think he was sassy, which was funny. What if he was in the next Star Wars movie, and then got his own spinoff? It’d be fun if he had a newly recognizable voice from a rising star, like maybe the guy from (500) Days of Summer.
Spoiler alert: To my great surprise, they actually shot these on sound stages, not meadows in England. It’d be pretty awesome if they shot on location this time, and maybe provided some sort of live stream on Facebook during production, so you really feel like you’re there. I’d love that.
An American Tail
I only saw the sequel, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, so I had no idea that this was a movie about Jewish mice escaping the marauding Cossacks in late 19th century Russia. It’s pretty much my own family’s story, except we’re not mice, so I’d love to be involved in rebooting this. It would probably bring me closer to my grandparents. Joseph Gordon-Levitt could voice Fievel!
Heathcliff the Cat
I always felt like ‘cliff got lost in Garfield’s considerable shadow, but he was a much funnier than that lazy, one-note fat cat. Alt-comedy is huge these days, so Heathcliff, with the right voice (JGL?), could be a sensation. Obviously it’d have to be CGI, like the Peanuts movie, but times are a-changing and Heathcliff is progressive.
The Knicks winning
The last time I cried was when the Knicks lost the 1994 NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets. They’ve spent the last 15 years shooting themselves in the foot with terrible trades and bad contracts and it’s making me feel like a loser. Remember how JGL aged up like Bruce Willis in Looper? It’d be cool if he did that for the role of legendary coach Pat Riley, too.
These Mt. Airy Lodge commercials
This commercial used to be on TV a lot when I was a kid living in New Jersey. It looked like a lot of fun to visit Mt. Airy Lodge, but my family never went. I drove by there a few years ago, and it’s a casino now.
When my dad got us Burger King on Saturday nights
I always looked forward to this. Just survive the week and get to Saturday, and a double cheeseburger and fries would make everything better. I was a member of the Kids Club for several years, too. I actually liked McDonalds better, but this was a good compromise since I had two brothers.
That one year I was pretty decent at Little League
As a sickly kid, sports didn’t come all that easy, but I tried. And for one glorious spring in fifth grade, on a baseball team coached by my best friend’s dad who never took me out of the lineup, I actually had a pretty good season. It was kind of like I was Tony Danza in the classic Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie, Angels in the Outfield. I’d like that feeling again.
Regular opportunities to make new friends
The one cool thing about school is that every year, you’d meet new kids, and have a chance to make lots of new pals. I’m 30 and that doesn’t happen anymore. I’m afraid to call people I know because I think it will seem creepy and needy.
My family was never McDuck rich, not by a long shot, but it was cool to not have to worry about rent or how much the fruit at the bodega costs. So if Hollywood could manufacture that for me, I’d really appreciate it.