’80s and ’90s Things The World Desperately Needs to Come Back
In case you’ve been blissfully enjoying your summer in a lake or ashram or some other non-Internet place, we are here to tell you that Weird Al Yankovic is having A MAJOR MOMENT right now. The parody singer is topping Spotify charts with his new album, Mandatory Fun (it contains the single “Tacky,” which is a parody of Pharrell’s “Happy,” which begs the question: which is worse to have stuck in your head? But I digress.) Mandatory Fun is the first number one comedy album on the Billboard chart since Allan Sherman’s My Son, the Nut in 1963, according to Rolling Stone. Can we all give a collective “Hooray!” for Weird Al? The dude who brought us “Eat It” deserves all the success.
Weird Al’s unexpected summer triumph made me start pondering: Which other ’80s-’90s phenomenons do I want to comeback? Here are the top I would definitely love to see.
How great was Gak? It was the weirdest toy. You couldn’t really do much with it; it looked way more fun in the commercials. Once you had Gak, all it did was collect hair and dust and would get stuck in the carpet causing your poor mom to yell at you, and she had every right. What kind of diabolical toy was this? But oh man, I’d love some Gak right now. When I’d get stressed instead of doing something stupid, like binge-eat, I’d just take out some Gak and play with it, staring off into space, like a Bond villain. Bring on the Gak!
2. Rick Moranis
Rick Moranis ruled the ’80s and ’90s with films like Ghostbusters, Space Balls, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. And then he, sadly, disappeared. Moranis’s wife died unexpectedly of breast cancer in 1991 and, after making a few films as a single dad, in 1997, he decided to focus on his kids full-time, and quit filmmaking for good:
“Stuff happens to people everyday, and they make adjustments to their lives for all kinds of reasons. There was nothing unusual about what happened or what I did, I think the reason that people were intrigued by the decisions I was making and sometimes seem to have almost admiration for it had less to do with the fact that I was doing what I was doing and more to do with what they thought I was walking away from, as if what I was walking away from had far greater value than anything else that one might have. The decision in my case to become a stay-at-home-Dad, which people do all the time, I guess wouldn’t have meant as much to people if I had had a very simple kind of make-a-living existence and decided I needed to spend more time at home. Nobody would pay attention to it, but because I came from celebrity and fame and what was the peak of a career, that was intriguing to people. To me, it wasn’t that. I didn’t have anything to do with that. It was work, and it was just time to make an adjustment.”
However, for hard-core Moranis fans, he does have a comedy album out, My Mother’s Brisket and Other Love Songs, which you can purchase through his website and iTunes. If he’s ever ready to return to film, I’ll welcome him with open arms.
3. Double Dare
“On your mark…get set. . .go!” And bring on the slime. Double Dare was kind of an addictive show. Families would compete against each other in trivia and then have to do “physical challenges” that involved lots of gross Nickelodeon stuff, like oozes of slime. Marc Summers was the host. It returned in the year 2000 with Double Dare 2000 but it just wasn’t the same. Maybe we should try for Double Dare 2014. Did you know that Marc Summers has OCD and yet still managed to cope with being the DD host and having to be on that insane set? He wrote a book about it (Everything in Its Place: My Trials and Triumphs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). If we’re going to bring back DD, I demand we bring back Marc Summers as well—it wouldn’t be the same without him.
4. The Baby-Sitters Club
I want The Baby-Sitters Club to return, but only with the characters having aged and their stories reflecting that age difference. I want to read about a 30-something Claudia Kishi and the cool hipster outfits she’s wearing. I want to know about how Dawn’s doing with her musician boyfriend in Silver Lake. I want to hear about Stacey and her family in Brooklyn. I could care less about Kristy, sorry. The truth is, I miss these girls, and I miss Ann M. Martin’s writing. Those books were so wonderfully comforting. I would always skip past the baby-sitting parts (I know, I know, how sacrilegious) and get right to the good stuff, like the saga of Mary Anne and Logan or the descriptions of Claudia’s clothes. I want to know what they’re up to now, and I want Ann M. Martin to write it. Can we make this happen?
5. Hall & Oates
Rich Girl. Kiss On My List. You Make My Dreams Come True. Maneater. Private Eyes. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do). The hits just don’t stop with Hall & Oates. So why haven’t they exploded into the mainstream again? So many good songs! I will not rest until Hall & Oates plays at the Hollywood Bowl! Sure, they’re playing at the Greek in October (yes, they’re on tour, you can check it out here) but I need them at the Bowl, so that we can call it the Bowl & Oates. Yes, that’s certainly not as good as when Billy Joel played the Hollywood Bowl and we could call it the Joel Bowl, but it’s something. Maybe this tour will bring them the comeback they deserve!
6. Are You Afraid Of The Dark?
Yes, it’s more Nickelodeon fandom, and if you think I’m going to apologize, you’re wrong. I will never apologize for my love of Nickelodeon (classic Nickelodeon, not that new-fangled Nick garbage.) Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was like The Twilight Zone for kids. It was a spooky show, but watching them back as an adult, you’re like, “Wow, this show is so. . .Canadian.” They filmed in Canada, but as a kid, you don’t realize how low budget and well, Canadian, it is. You’re just freaking out over the episode in which the kids put on glasses and see people in hoods without faces. And when they take the glasses off, the hooded people are gone. But they’re always there, just watching you. That show was seriously messed up. My friend Katie slept over at my house and I insisted we watch it and she cried. I think she’s okay now, but I still feel bad. That’s how hardcore this show was. And why we need to bring it back. So that we can make Katie cry all over again. No, I kid, I love her, she’s good people.
7. Sanrio mini backpacks
I’m showing my age here, but when I was in middle school, Sanrio mini backpacks were it. If you didn’t have one, you may as well have not gone to school. I had Pekkle. And by had, I do mean have. Getting that backpack was such a big freakin’ deal that I still have it. (I can’t find it, but I have it.) It even has my Tamagotchi attached to it, on the zipper. So because getting this backpack, was such a big deal, I insist we bring them back into high fashion. And I don’t mean the new, fashion-y backpacks from Urban Outfitters, I mean the simple, old-school nylon and suede ones. I will not budge on this.
8. Molly Ringwald
I know Molly Ringwald was on The Secret Life of the American Teenager and did a great AMA for Reddit, but I really want to see more mainstream success for America’s favorite redhead. I wanna see her bust out in a cool indie film in the starring role. Maybe written by Diablo Cody. Can someone please make this happen? I’m just an idea woman. Thanks.
9. Bret Easton Ellis
Do ya like Bret Easton Ellis? Bret Easton Ellis is the celebrated author of such books as American Psycho and Less Than Zero. In 2010, after a five-year break, he came out with Imperial Bedrooms.. . . and honestly, it was kind of a disappointment. But not as great of a disappointment as The Canyons, the 2013 film he wrote directed by Paul Schrader starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen. I want to see this guy make a real, solid, cannot-be-denied comeback. Preferably with a book. His novels are my favorite and I want a book I can really sink my teeth into. (Patrick Bateman joke here.)
10. Board Games
Mousetrap. Don’t Wake Daddy. 13 Dead End Drive. Girl Talk. Eat At Ralph’s. Mall Madness. These were REAL games. I want board games to make a roaring comeback. I think gone are the days when kids would put board games on their Christmas lists, and that makes me sad. I remember playing Mall Madness like it was yesterday. Actually, I played it about a year ago, as I still have it (of course I do). It still holds up. I urge everyone to hop on eBay and find their favorite childhood board game, buy it, and host board game night. “ATTENTION MALL SHOPPERS” is forever stuck in my head. And I want it to be in your head, too