Recently I’ve been re-watching Queer as Folk, since Netflix and Showtime finally got their shit together and have it streaming. Somehow I remembered it being better. (Not the lesbians. I remember them always being terrible.) What I mean is the dialogue and some of the acting is just like watching a high school play. Poor Sunshine especially. Luckily he got a little better, but some of the stuff they wrote for him was part of the problem, like he was delivering some weird extended metaphor as a monologue and everyone around him was totally OK with it.
Brian is all “What the fuck are you talking about, Sunshine?”
Anyway, this made me think about all the things that we once thought ruled that just don’t hold up over time.
So, errybody, what did you used to love that just isn’t as great as you recall?
Kim Hoffmann: My first reaction was to criticize some of my own writing—like when I was an emo 19-year-old and had a Livejournal and would write The Cure lyrics and complain about not having friends, or in another instance would write cryptic poems about my feelings—which I compared once to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book and the board game Dreamphone. (I know it sounds kind of cool in actuality, but I was naive and hardly sober.) HOWEVER, I also totally appreciate that stuff now because a decade has passed and I’m not attached to it.
What I am attached to are Saturday nights of the ’90s, and a few months ago I re-watched a few episodes of Hey Dude and couldn’t believe I tolerated that show by watching every single episode, multiple times, and racing home from school to make sure of it. The dialogue is so campy and weird and Brad (the cool girl with the brown hair) is constantly calling out that one dude who played Kyle, the closeted gay boy in Beverly Hills, 90210 about being such a misogynist. Will I watch it again? Absolutely.
Bridget McManus: I recently re-watched Drop Dead Gorgeous expecting it to be as hilarious as I remembered and, alas, it was slow paced and a little dull.
Jill Guccini: This question is hard for me, because the truth is I actually don’t revisit things a lot, not because I don’t want to but because I am always SUPER STRESSED about finding time to even read/watch/do all the NEW things. And the few things I do find time to revisit—The Cosby Show, The Golden Girls, Gilmore Girls, the Fantasmic light show at Disneyworld—always stand up perfectly.
But something I’ve almost disowned in my mind, even though I haven’t actually re-read it recently, is Catcher in the Rye. Because I obviously loved it when I was an angsty teenager (I just read it myself, it was too “scandalous” to ever be part of my school curriculum), but when I even think about the book now, I know it would annoy the hell out of me if I read it again. And maybe that’s stupid to even say, since I haven’t ACTUALLY re-read it, but whatevs, life is too short to re-read stuff you don’t want to.
Elaine Atwell: When I was growing up, I thought When Harry Met Sally represented the pinnacle of human wit and sophistication. The observations: so observant! The setting: so New York! So when I watched it again recently, I was surprised to find that much of what it had to say about human relationships doesn’t really apply anymore. The perfect example is the lunch date where Carrie Fisher is pulling the names of potential suitors out of a Rolodex(!) that she apparently just carries around everywhere, and Meg Ryan‘s other friend is like, “You need to get married quick because what if the man you are destined for has a disease and dies before he can slip a ring around your finger and justify your entire existence as a human being?” THEY’RE 32 IN THIS SCENE, YOU GUYS. The 32-year-olds I know are in a completely different stage of life than these women. Even the smart things about this movie have been copied so many times by subsequent romantic comedies that it’s not even beating a dead horse anymore. It is beating the patch of grass where the dead horse used to be.
BUT “Promise me I’ll never have to go out there again.” “You will never have to go out there again” is still one of the sweetest exchanges ever written.
Chloe: The Lizzie Mcguire Movie.
Lucy Hallowell: One of the best things about having kids is getting to read books to them that you loved as a kid. The only problem is that often the books just don’t hold up. Some of the magic is contained in the memory of the book and the people who read them to you while you were tucked up in your bunk bed and can’t be recaptured. So far the worst offender has been The Secret Garden. The language is dated (and more than occasionally racist) and has a terrible rhythm for being read aloud. It was a book I loved as a kid but it just doesn’t contain the same luster for me now.
Jenna Lykes: When I was a kid, I was really into this movie called Bingo. It was about a dog and a boy and I think they needed to find each other, or something. Anyway, I was kind of obsessed with it to the point where I would make my parents rent it literally every time we went to the video store. I remember thinking the dog was really cute, but there must have been something else redeeming about it, right? Nope. Holy hell, that movie is an abomination. Here’s a sample plot point: the boy pees on the side of the road whenever the family pulls the car over so the dog can follow his scent. I mean… the fuck? Mom and dad, I am so sorry.
Valerie Anne: I’ve had the hardest time with this, because I feel like everything I’ve ever revisited, I end up being able to tap into the enjoyment I had the first time around. The only one I could come up with was The Craft. It was our go-to sleepover movie when I was in junior high, and the magic and the insanity of it all was thrilling. We were good little Catholic school girls watching a movie about bad little Catholic school girls and it felt so awesome. We would follow the movie up with a game of light-as-a-feather/stiff-as-a-board and sitting in circles trying to change our hair color just by thinking really hard about it. We probably promised our souls to the devil by accident at least once when reenacting scenes from that movie. But a few of my friends and I had a ’90s-themed sleepover a few months ago and we watched it—and it’s a lot more sinister than I remembered it being. Those girls weren’t just mean girls, they were pure evil. And the ending was kind of twisted! I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when I was a youngster.
(But we also watched The Babysitter’s Club movie and THAT, my friends, withstands the test of time.)
Heather Hogan: You know what’s weird? Bea Arthur worried that Golden Girls was a time capsule show that wouldn’t be appreciated even just a few years after they’d filmed it. And Golden Girls has aged better than any show in the history of TV. I’ll bet I have seen every episode 15 times, for real, and the jokes still land and the forward-thinkingness is still relevant and the emotions still punch you in the heartspace. I think in 50 years people will still think it’s the greatest television ever made. So, but I’m saying that because people always compare Sex and the City to Golden Girls, and Girls to Sex and the City, and SATC has aged faster than a glass of milk on a July sidewalk and Girls‘ shelf life has already expired and it’s still on the air. I don’t think it’s the fashion that’s outdated or whatever. I think we’ve just reached our saturation point with shows about wealthy, entitled white people who systematically destroy their lives (and the lives of people around them) while throwing temper tantrums about how hard it is not to be the prettiest, fanciest, most beloved girl at the ball. My nephew has already grown out of that phase of life and he’s seven.
Janelle Sorenson: Shelley Duvall‘s Faerie Tale Theatre was a massive highlight of my childhood. I remember going to Video Update and choosing a new one each Friday after school. Each episode was so magical, yet kind of creepy, and so exciting! I definitely think that curling up in the living room, my mom ordering pizza, and the thrill of a Friday night in second grade was what made it so cool, because when I watched it recently it did not have the same magic I was hoping to find.
Another one: The Babysitters Club TV show! Claudia’s quirkiness, Kristy’s tomboy nature, I loved them! Watching it on Netflix, it definitely fell flat. There is something so fun and charming about late ’80s TV shows, though!
Have you found something you used to love just doesn’t hold up?