Hope I Die Before I Get Old

Posted on by MarcusB and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

It is of culturally historical importance when you have a show that spans years and still retains its same audience while upholding the “feel” that it started out with (Not jumping the shark and turning into a mess, etc.) The particular generation that grew up with that show infers many things about culture and “the times” from that show. As a result of this, there is an emotional bond with the characters. Children and households literally grow up with some of these characters. There is context placed into this, and as it has been pointed out numerous times before on this site, it’s an influencing force on prevailing thoughts and ideas of the time.

So what happens NOW that there are a lot of shows that may last only a few seasons? There’s big competition for a primetime spot, so any show that doesn’t deliver is in danger of getting booted, so any new shows must run their course FAST and must get the audience to be emotionally invested right away. The character development must happen fast, and anything exciting must happen this episode or at least the next. Characters must grow, NOW.

Sure there are still shows that have been/are going to span years while still remaining faithful to their audience and having drawn out character development such as How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs, but to explain why I feel this way about current television, (I don’t watch much TV so I feel like I’m way off.) I’ll show it with this comparison:
How I Met Your Mother and Scrubs are different from older shows such as King of the Hill, Three’s Company, Seinfeld, and the Simpsons because in the latter shows, the characters aren’t moving as fast through life. The characters spend most of their time doing nothing, literally. Contrast it with How I Met Your Mother, where the characters are reaching their 30s and have to figure out where they’re going in life and where Ted Moseby has to hurry up and meet Your Mother.

So if it’s the writer’s intention to keep the emotional captivation of the audience, maybe it’s having an effect on the psyche of people GROWING UP with these shows. I don’t think people have noticed that even kids feel *rushed.* Never before has there been such a large “gap” of experience between the ages of 22 and 18. I know it’s always been like this, but freshman are a lot different than seniors these days. It’s not like the 70s where kids went into high school listening to records and smoking weed and exited high school doing the same exact thing with the only difference was either going to college or taking after whatever job their fathers did.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that kids feel like they are having to growing up fast. The cultural context in which they are being placed in may be a part of it if it’s one where music, TV, and news gets recycled incredibly fast with the help of facebook, twitter and the internet.

I know you won’t believe me, and I’m just talking from my own experience, but I’ve seen early 20s kids who are reaching that 25 year mark talk about how they’re FEELING OLD. Early 20s college kids who miss Pokemon and Cartoon Network and Malcolm in the Middle and The Simpsons who think that these “children” in high school who listen to Lil’ Wayne instead of Radiohead don’t get it. Notice that those shows I just mentioned are from the 1990s. And I thouht you’re not supposed to start feeling old until you’re 40.

Or, maybe they’re just reflecting what the generation above them is saying about getting older.  

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9 Responses to Hope I Die Before I Get Old

  1. inarticulateinthecity says:

    “Never before has there been such a large “gap” of experience between the ages of 22 and 18. I know it’s always been like this, but freshman are a lot different than seniors these days. It’s not like the 70s where kids went into high school listening to records and smoking weed and exited high school doing the same exact thing with the only difference was either going to college or taking after whatever job their fathers did.”

    I stopped reading there. Sorry, but surely you live in another planet, or I do. It’s exactly the opposite, in my point of view.

    • MarcusB says:

      Hey inarticulateinthecity, thanks for pointing this out. I conveyed what I’m thinking really bad, (I guess I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say still) what I meant was that I feel like there has been a larger accumulation of experiences (please read: NOT MATURITY or even necessarily experiences that make you grow as a person, just experience in people, television, culture) in this generation compared to earlier generations.

      Looking back at what I wrote, it does seem kind of ridiculous now that I think about it, but if I had to sum up what I’m trying to say, it would be: People are surrounded with a lot of people, tv, and culture and this might be related to why people are feeling older at younger ages.

      Sorry, I don’t have a good basis for what I’m saying, just trying to relate what I see.

      • MarcusB says:

        Also, I don’t believe there is a larger gap in maturity between seniors and freshman in high school, but seniors FEEL like they HAVE TO BE older than freshman; they are acting that way.

        E.G. : “You like Lil’ Wayne? I feel like I was born in the wrong generation, kids these days can’t even appreciate Pink Floyd.” (Says the senior who doesn’t understand that defining yourself by the music you listen to makes you a child.)

        And current pop culture is related to that, I believe.

  2. Guy Fox says:

    It’s also sad that you reckon kids, of whatever generation, are being reared principally by TV. You might be right, but it’s a slightly startling idea.

    So what counts as growing up anyway? Let’s take parenthood as an indicator, because that’s when spending more on your car stereo and pot than food starts to have real consequences. That’s when tough choices really start. I suspected that people would probably be waiting longer to have kids than they used to, implying that they’re staying kids longer than before, and this seems to bear that out – at least going back to 1990.

    Social media might sure play a role there, if my other (harder to check) hunch is right, which is that people starting their careers used to have to audition cold more, whereas now tons of first jobs in all kinds of fields come from asking that facebook friend you used to party with whose dad has that sweet gig at… Of course, this might be bullsh!t: I’ve got one word for you, son: plastics.

    And the feeling old phenomenon seems to start early and move with you as you get older, but that makes total sense. If you’re 22, you feel so mature compared to those freshmen, and then comes the immediate realization that you used to be just like that. You can only compare how you feel to your younger self, so of course you’re always going to feel old. It’s really hard to feel young, because you can’t really fast forward to the nursing home and then back to how you are now to realize how virile or whatever you are now.

    Take one of these and one of these and carpe some diem.

  3. Nachlasse says:

    i might agree with you there OP.

  4. HP says:

    Character development in Scrubs? Really?

    It’s an entire show based on the observations of a selfish womanly man-child, about a whole bunch of people who go EIGHT YEARS and through many significant dramatic life events…without learning a single thing or getting any better.

  5. Eipa says:

    You see it on websites like 9gag.com, where this “whole generation” in a range of perhaps 5 years indulges in nostalgia about the cartoons from their childhood, feeling old.

  6. GOTO10 says:

    I’ll admit it. I’m part of the problem here. I’m 27 years old and occasionally get upset because a good 1/3 of my life is gone. One third because life expectancy for a male is about 75 years, personally 65 because my health is below average, and some amount of childhood “doesn’t count”.

    If I sum my life to this point and multiply by 3, it becomes obvious that i’m not going to grow up to be a genius, or go to space, or whatever other nonsense childhood dream you’re holding on to. So then i FEEL OLD. Where feeling old means that the future has become predictable.

    Please keep in mind that (a wife, 2 kids, a dog, and a suburban patch of Kentucky Blue) is something that I at least am rebelling against; if not something my generation rebels against. Nor can I internalize my eventual kids accomplishments to boost my ego. So if I personally don’t accomplish anything, i’m nothing. And doing significant things takes precious years.

    Does it make a bit more sense now?

    • operator says:

      Where feeling old means that the future has become predictable.

      It sounds like you’re not really looking at the future, just your future identity (within the bounds of the narrative you anticipate).

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