The Connector
The Connector

By Melina Barbuto

Illustration by Emily Keniston

Turn on the television. There are the usual movies and shows, but now there’s something that seems familiar and yet leaves a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth.

Nostalgia is something that invades not only our minds, but also our screens and lately it’s become a bigger topic and a bigger problem. It’s not that television has come to a halt and started thinking only on the commercial value of what the past brings to our minds, but rather that it’s become a large bulk of what channels are focusing on, and more so in the animation world. With Cartoon Network’s revival of classic (and by classic, they meant more like the 90s) cartoons like “The Powerpuff Girls,” an entire sub-generation found that they could return to their ancient sanctuary of cartoon-based channels.

But, with the announcements that the original cast, animators and writers, wouldn’t be returning, the worry began. When the actual show started, there was disappointment. This was not what they promised. There was no substance, no hidden meaning in the narrative like what it used to have. Instead, what we found was mindless slush that was very different from the substantial show that we once knew. One-by-one, other shows, such as “Teen Titans Go,” also followed in the missteps of “The Powerpuff Girls” and have left a disappointing end to our search for that nostalgia kick.

Not everything is bad news though, and there are many shows that have been successful in their nostalgic trip. What makes these shows so successful? To me, it’s the fact that they stay true to the original sense of the storyline, of the heart and the messages that were snuck into the writing. But more importantly, it’s the return of the original writers, or storyboardists that made these shows great in the first place. By returning to the old style, while still including the nuances of the new world that they’re trying to attract, these shows have come up with a successful concept to survive in this new world of television. With the rise of shows like “Ducktales”, or the revival of the television movie for “Hey Arnold!”, there is some hope for the future of nostalgia and its relationship with the television universe.