That’s it eight­ies, we’re done with you, fi­nally

The Timaru Herald - - ENTERTAINMENT - Kate Robert­son

Ari­ana Grande has sin­gle-hand­edly con­firmed a ma­jor pop cul­ture par­a­digm shift. In the re­cently re­leased video for thank u, next Grande per­fectly recre­ated scenes from Clue­less, Legally Blonde, Mean Girls and 13 Go­ing On 30.

The nostal­gia-fu­elled video broke the record for the most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours. We wanted that era and we wanted it in­jected straight into our veins – the tiny sun­glasses, fluffy mules and all.

The pace at which the video ex­ploded says, once and for all, pop cul­ture is done with the 1980s. We’ll never be done with the mu­sic (hello, box of­fice smash Bo­hemian Rhap­sody), but our ob­ses­sion with re­liv­ing that point in his­tory can fi­nally be laid to rest.

Ten years ago, cloth­ing stores were loaded with pieces rem­i­nis­cent of the 1980s. There were block let­ter slo­gan tees a la Wake Me Up Be­fore You Go Go, ev­ery­thing was flu­oro (gross), and even the hum­ble leg-warmer man­aged a fleet­ing mo­ment back in the spot­light.

The 80s strong­hold started to loosen about 2014 when jelly san­dals and crop tops reemerged. We were shocked at the prospect of bar­ing our midriffs again and vowed it wouldn’t last, but four years later, we’re reg­u­larly show­ing about 2 cen­time­tres of midriff skin be­tween our tiny T-shirts and high-waisted Mom jeans.

The spe­cific pe­riod that pop cul­ture is now lust­ing after is 1995-2004. Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone in Clue­less to Lind­say Lo­han in Mean Girls, if you will.

Be­fore Ari dipped into the nostal­gia game, Anne-Marie was do­ing it in her video for 2002. Two months ago, Charli XCX and Troye Si­van went full Steve Jobs in their video for 1999 ,a song that has Charli long­ing for a long gone era, ‘‘I just wanna go back, back to 1999 / Take a ride to my old neigh­bour­hood / I just wanna go back, sing, ‘Hit me, baby, one more time’.’’

Net­flix is build­ing a mi­croem­pire of rom-coms rooted in the re-hash­ing of tropes we loved so much in Richard Cur­tis’ screen­plays (Brid­get Jones’s Di­ary, Not­ting Hill, Four Wed­dings and a Fu­neral, and Love Ac­tu­ally).

At the West­field down the road, a Vin­tage Vin­tage pop-up store will sell you a boot­leg Tommy Hil­figer jumper for $250. At a global level, Hai­ley Bieber has sin­gle-hand­edly con­vinced all of us that ugly sneak­ers, branded dou­ble denim and over­sized coats are a look.

The harsh re­al­ity that a lot of 80s films we placed on a pedestal haven’t aged well makes cut­ting ties eas­ier again.

Ear­lier this year The Break­fast Club’s Molly Ring­wald wrote about the un­com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence of re-watch­ing the film with her 10-year-old

We wanted that era in­jected straight into our veins – the tiny sun­glasses, fluffy mules and all.

daugh­ter. In par­tic­u­lar, the scene where John Ben­der hides un­der a ta­ble, and it’s im­plied he touched her in­ap­pro­pri­ately, with­out con­sent.

No­body in to­day’s so­cial and po­lit­i­cal cli­mate wants to see that on telly. Con­sumers now want to rem­i­nisce about fierce Elle Woods ris­ing above her haters in Legally Blonde; Diane Keaton, Bette Mi­dler and Goldie Hawn open­ing a non-profit cri­sis cen­tre for women in First Wives Club; and Ju­lia Roberts as the strong, suc­cess­ful, per­fectly flawed ac­tress in Not­ting Hill.

This isn’t to say the 90s and early-00s get off scot-free – all four of the films Grande threw to are es­sen­tially void of di­ver­sity – but some progress is bet­ter than none. I’ll take the strong fe­male rom-com leads of 1995 to 2004 over the ro­man­ti­cis­ing of the ma­nip­u­la­tive, jeal­ous, abu­sive men in St Elmo’s Fire any day.

Pop cul­ture will al­ways have an ob­ses­sion with his­tory – the two years of Gatsby-themed par­ties we all en­dured 2013-2015 speak for them­selves.

But for those strug­gling to process the fact it’s been 14 whole years since Mean Girl Regina snapped at Gretchen, ‘‘Stop try­ing to make fetch hap­pen!’’, don’t fret, this era has a good few years left in it yet.

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