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Posts Tagged ‘1980s’

1989It was the late ’80s. Every guy was trying to affect the Don Johnson look, every girl had hair bigger than life, and I was dealing with some serious acne and an identity crisis of my own. As a boy coming of age at the end of that glorious decade it was easy to find role models. They were everywhere: from the graffitied billboards, to the movie stars, to pretty much everyone I came in contact with.

But the ones who were always there for me were those on the small screen, where I could find them once a week when I needed them. Stars from shows like Who’s the Boss, Family Ties, and The Cosby Show showed me exactly what I needed to do, how I should behave, and what advice to follow so I could be a well-rounded human being. And they all did it in just a half hour every week.

The best part was that they weren’t real, but they were at the same time. I could imagine how it would be if I was friends with them, yet I never had to deal with their rejection. I could look up to them, but also judge them from afar, because they were royalty in a kingdom I would never visit.

savedcastMy favorite show back then was Saved By the Bell. It was so overwrought with stock characters and predictable storylines, but it was fun.. Saved By the Bell had it all:

  • The Jock
  • The Cheerleader
  • The Nerd
  • The Fashionista (who doubled as the token black character)
  • The Student Body President
  • Zack Morris

I really wanted to be Zack Morris (and not just because of his bitchin’ cell phone either). He could stop time at any point and offer commentary on his fellow characters. He had amazing blonde hair. He was the cool kid without being too cool, because he made a ton of mistakes and was forced to grow as a character in order to fix them. And the best thing about Zack Morris was the glint in his eye when he had just come up with one of his dastardly plans.

Zack was the king of the swagger, and to a pubescent boy in the late ’80s it was easy to try and imitate that. There was nothing Zack couldn’t do, no lengths to which Zack wouldn’t go, in order to get what he wanted. And yet he was still likeable. Yet he still had a group of friends who were loyal to him even after he had humiliated each and everyone of them at some point. He was redeemable because he was real, because his swagger didn’t make him a villain.

It made him one of us.

Sam

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Heathcliff Huxtable

Ehmagosh! The 1980s was the era of big hair, of the Huxtables, of Bo knowing all sorts of stuff, and of Reaganomics. Ask any two people who were of age during that time period and you’ll get a million different answers about what made the ’80s so special. Now we look back and we can’t help thinking about how cheesy it all seems from a distance, but when we were in the middle of it, the ’80s were breathtaking. My earliest memories took place in 1984 when I was seven years old, and revolved around music. Some of my best memories took place in 1988 when I was eleven years old and I wrote my first short story.

But some of the shared memories were the best because if I bring them up, like the Huxtables above, others will go, “Yeah! I remember that too!” It’s that shared experience that make the ’80s so exciting to revisit (like some kind of hot tub time machine). Some of the biggest shared memories were those ’80s slogans that kept going around and around our heads. They were so catchy! So, here are my top 5 ’80s slogans:

5. “How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S.” (more…)

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