Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Lego Dimensions: 1) cute, 2) duh?

At risk of starting a habit of posting dorky and nostalgic video clips, I want to leave a brief comment about this promotion for “Lego Dimensions.” (Thanks to The Outhouse for the pointer.)

This is a hoot, obviously. Doc Brown doesn’t seem exactly as I remember him, but 1) neither does 2015, 2) a whole lot of fun is had here, all the same.*

Watching for a second time today, though, I gave a bit more attention to the 20 seconds or so of super-quick-cuts near the end which promote “Lego Dimensions” more directly. For the video-allergic, this is basically a CGI visit to Mashup City, featuring Batman, Gandalf, Sauron, the Old West and, naturally, Dr. Brown, among others. And it occurred to me: isn’t this, at a basic level, much of the point of playing with Legos?

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“Is it Fall Yet” at 15

After 15 years, I think I have finally come to a rounded appreciation of the Daria sub-epic which climaxes in “Is it Fall Yet.”

I hated this story when it was new. I know that I was not alone, either. “The whole Tom thing,” i.e. the soap-opera romantic triangle of Daria, Jane Lane and Tom Sloane, upset more than a few fans. Who was this tosspot, what about Trent, and most of all, what happened to the cool Daria who mocked life’s absurdities rather than becoming a performer in them? I considered this departure from the early seasons’ approach to be a sellout and a travesty.

Gradually my opinion has shifted, particularly since I acquired the complete series on DVD a few years ago. I think I have mellowed a bit toward fiction, generally, for one thing. With an opportunity to reexamine later seasons at leisure, I also found more quality writing than I had remembered from spotty exposure during the initial broadcasts. I think “Fizz Ed” merits inclusion among a discussion of the series’ best, in particular.

As it happens, that was also the episode which finally persuaded me that Tom has redeeming qualities; at her insulted best, Daria is meta-complaining about how everyone thinks she does nothing but complain, upon which Tom looks up from the TV and very casually asks “…what are you bitching about now?” That’s just too perfect. For that alone, Tom could probably be forgiven for intruding upon everything after all.

So I kind of settled to the swerve of season four, and I think I began to feel that this whole storyline was part of the characters, and the canon, and that its absence would feel wrong, now, if only because of the nostalgia that the series has accrued for me. After watching “Is it Fall Yet” once more (along with its lead-in episode), however, I have as noted found a deeper appreciation of the story and its place.

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Transformers after three decades

A few weeks ago, the always observant xkcd introduced the instantly familiar concept of the “Timeghost.” These things have been haunting me for years, now, long before I had a name for them. I think the most consistently strange one year in and year out, so far, must however be Transformers: The Movie.

Get back to me in several more years, when Hill Valley of 2015 has also slid into the past, and it may have taken over. But at this point, the 20-years-from-now “two thousand fiiiiive” of my childhood has been behind me for most of a decade. As I probably watch this movie about once per year, I saw this weird reality creeping up even before that… and yet, viewing the movie again last night, I was still surprised by this most familiar Timeghost showing off a whole new trick. I’ve got to guestimate his age in TFTM, but it occurs to me that at this point, the Autobots’ boy sidekick Daniel Witwicky may very well be old enough to drink. Yeeesh. Pass that bottle over here Danny.

Meanwhile, this got me thinking yet again about how and why it is that at 36 years old, I’m still a fan of Transformers.

Section of Transformers toy catalog from 1985

I’ve go that guy in the upper-left, yes.

There are bigger fans out there, certainly. I haven’t bought a Transformer since the last century. But, I’ve been tempted, and I still have three or four of the things around here. I’ve got more than 100 Transformers comics, and those I occasionally still buy. I’ve got a Transformer web site bookmarked, and I still watch the flipping movie (which I must have seen two dozen times by now) once per year at least. At age 36. Can I account for this?

In one sense it isn’t difficult. The quick answer is “shameless, trashy nostalgia for happy associations with childhood” and that’s by no means wrong. If anyone has read this far but wants to bail out now, you won’t be missing any key points. That said, I feel like there has to be a bit more going on, if only to explain “why Transformers and why not other fascinations of my early life?”

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