Cue existential crisis, for the win.
Consider this a first: We’re at a complete loss for words. We don’t know whether to hang ourselves in a desperate attempt to rid our bleeding consciousness of abject reality, or to embrace our overwhelming feelings of nostalgia against all better judgment. We’re stuck because Nickelodeon is probably launching a channel dedicated to ‘90s-era cartoons. It will likely be called The Splat, and it’s either the worst idea ever, or the best … we’re struggling.
Because we love us some “Ren & Stimpy,” and got super high-school-high to “Rocko’s Modern Life.” We even allegedly drank too much cough syrup while staring blankly at that football head in “Hey Arnold.” These were all a part of our formative years. Shouldn’t it stay that way? In the past?
We get it, nostalgia works. That’s why songs all sound the same now and why there’s almost fifteen different Transformers movies. It's also why Hollywood won’t touch anything except remakes / sequels, and why the ‘90s are coming back with a force in the teenosphere. Creative thought is dead anywhere now because nostalgic repetition works. We love it, everyone loves it; but we also hate it, everyone should hate it.
The world has things like photo albums and history lessons and museums for a reason. We look at the past and marvel at different times, wondering how one person could think this way or why that person wore those pants that way — it’s how culture has always been. Forward moving. Take what you enjoy from the past — like sampling life — but incorporate it into a unique style, remaking it on your own terms. That’s what younger generations did, and what they should continue to do.
But it isn’t that way right now. Anywhere pop culture thrives it has more than just inspirational traits looped in to its current creations. Sometimes its downright theft, others it’s just a blatant attempt to recreate that which already was. Electronic music isn’t new, tattoos aren’t new, crazy hairstyles aren’t new, celebrity gossip isn’t new, made-up words aren’t new, half the fashion in style now isn’t new … this shit happened already.
The fuck do we want to keep going backwards for?
Is the artistic realm so devoid of talent that we have to continue to cherry-pick from the past? Or are we suffering from a Peter Pan Complex, where everyone who is now supposed to be well into their 30s really do want to just sit around eating Dunkaroos while Butthead-laughing to old ”Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” memories? We doubt The Splat was made for anyone under 25. The "Lost Boys" are their demographic. The idea of it actually sounds pretty pathetic.
Herein lies the struggle: It’s no different than the old running of Nick at Night showcasing shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Happy Days” and “I Love Lucy” — it was television for old people who didn’t go out. The Splat is just a reincarnation of something that worked back then …
Are we considered the old people who don’t go out now? Cue existential crisis, for the win.
Yet here we are, trying to find fault in something that has no genuine bearing on whether or not we wake up tomorrow. Or where we plan on going today. A late-night (or streamed online) Nickelodeon outlet is either going to sink or swim, and it will be the market that chooses which way it goes. If it works, maybe we are just a bunch of man-children willing to let time cruise by while subjectively locked in the past — or maybe it won’t, and there’s hope for our generation after all.