List-O-Rama: Top Five Dated Things I Still Love

Yep, it's another response to the latest episode of Major Spoilers' Top Five, this time addressing dated things you can't help but love, even if they don't hold up in the light of the modern day.  I've spoken before about how I find nostalgia to be somewhat poisonous, but that is because I don't look back at things & think "This sucked! Why did I like this?" to "What about this still appeals to me, even though my tastes have changed?"  All of these things are stuff that I loved unironically & without any meta-knowledge as a kid but now have to approach with weird to define mental caveats.  So here are my Top Five Dated Things I Still Love

5. Cadbury Crème Eggs:  Ah, every dentist's favorite Easter treat.  I used to inhale these things as a kid, but some time in the last decade they just became unbearably sweet to me.  The flavored varieties like the chocolate cream & the dearly-missed orange cream weren't as much of an instant toothache as the original, but every Easter I will get one & eat it.  And love it.  Then immediately regret it.  Stupid adult flavor palette.

4. Chris Claremont's X-books:  I am not shy about letting people know that reading Claremont's back issues in Classic X-Men made me want to be a writer more than anything.  I wanted to tell stories about amazing people facing steep odds to simply justify their existence, just like him.  Now, you can't help but notice some of his tics like the deliberate cadences of his dialogue ("I hope - I pray - that this works!") or some of the fetish stuff.  But hey, you know what one of his oh-so-mockery-worthy fetishes was?  Kick-ass, interesting heroines.  Most female comics fans I knew in college could trace their fandom back to his work because he gave us amazing heroines, and while a few are victims of power creep (Ms. Pryde & Ms. Moonstar, looking at you), they were all distinct & interesting & entertaining.  It's still a rarity to get that in comics today, so I'll take all the sing-song dialogue & leather clothes he wanted to use if it means I get heroines & stories worth a damn.

3. SNES-era RPGs:  I'm not shy about telling people that pixels are beautiful, either.  The modern RPG genre seems to thrive only when combined with another genre (anymore with FPS elements), or else it is treated as little more than an interactive movie.  I miss the SNES-era RPGs (note: this includes non-Nintendo series like Phantasy Star, but I'm using the console best known for the genre) where you had to plan ahead, explore, manage equipment & skills, and most painful to modern players, level grind.  It's a genre that died once graphical engines evolved, but it's one of my favorites & unlike fighting games, it can't be adapted anywhere near as well.

2. X-Men TAS:  We're back to X-Men, with the show that made me the nerd I am today.  It has not aged well in the slightest.  The busy designs from the 90s comics don't translate well to animation, especially animation as erratic & glitchy as this had.  The voice acting had some spot-on roles, but it also had wooden & stagey ones.  The writers included creators from the comics and frequently adapted works that were important comic storylines that felt like they could never be made to fit Saturday morning.  But they worked with all of those weaknesses and gave us a series that was both one of the earliest Western cartoons with episode-to-episode continuity that mattered & surprisingly loyal to the source material.  Because of this, my folks subscribed to Classic X-Men for me, where I started right around the time of the crazy Kulan Gath story, and I never looked back.  Without this show, I wouldn't be the near-broke trainwreck of a geek I am, and I will always love it for that.

1. The entire Filmation catalog:  Filmation is the kicking boy of the animation fandom.  Yes, they did a lot of licensed stuff, and yes, their originals tended to be derived from something familiar.  Yes, they did very cheesy live-action shows on a budget most people would use for lunch.  Yes, they had stiff, rotoscoped, recycled animation.  But y'know what?  I loved it.  I still love it.  Knowing what I know about their history has made me love them.  They were little more than a family business that bluffed their way into National Publications & Archie's good graces thanks to some strategically placed friends & neighbors in the office?  That's chutzpah.  Hiring a college child-psych professor who was & still is genuinely enthused to be using a creative medium to teach life lessons instead of having a wet blanket foisted onto them?  That's smarts (and if you've seen this guy's interviews on BCI, he is so different from the typical BS&P rodent it's amazing).  Taking a quality hit because you don't want to fire your ink & paint staff to save a buck with overseas work?  That's loyalty.  Being bought out by L'Oreal just for a tax write-off & being unceremoniously shuttered before a law requiring proper notice could go into effect just because L'Oreal is historically a company full of bastards?  That's tragedy.  Hiring good writers because you know the actual animation of your work needs to be buoyed from behind?  That's honesty.  The end result might be somewhat eye-rolling at best, but when I look at the full history of Filmation, I see a little guy that got to run with the big boys & got capped right when he finally could start to match their stride.  So while I'll never be able to check my brain at the door & enjoy Orko's antics like I did as a kid, I can appreciate all they did in an entirely different way.

Comments

  1. Wow, I didn't really know anything about Filmation, but I'd love to read a history of the company based on your comments.

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    1. Newsarama did a series of interviews w/former employees a few years back recounting the studio's history, but I'm not sure if they're still out there. Tom Sito's book "Drawing the Line" (which is technically about unions in animation, a surprisingly historically important topic) has a lot on their role in the "runaway wars" of the 80s when animation started being exported. Two Morrows has a company history/autobiography from Lou Scheimer that's good, too. And if you can get the BCI Eclipse DVDs of their shows (which are probably out of print, sadly) the interviews on there give you a lot of history, including the one with the psych professor who was so amusing. I love animation history, and since it's rare to find a lot of TV animation history that doesn't just gloss it all over as worthless, I like to share it.

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  2. His more recent work is obviously somewhat cringe-worthy, but I will always, always, ALWAYS admire & appreciate Claremont for giving us my favorite comic book superhero of all time: Storm. I know he didn't create her, but he's her "real daddy."

    Also, I still think it's a shame that Marvel nixed his idea to reveal that Mystique & Destiny were Nightcrawler's biological parents.

    Also, he wrote the X-Men for seventeen freaking years. Has anyone else ever even come close to breaking that record?

    . . . So, yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Lately the main opinion you hear anymore is "Claremont's new stuff sucks, so therefore ALL of his stuff sucks", which a simple quick read would show is just not true. I'm always glad to hear there are other people who appreciate his work.

      And as far as I'm concerned, he's the "real daddy" of my childhood role model, Kitty Pryde.

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    2. Heh. I did not get an email notifying me that you had replied, so this was a pleasant surprise. But I came back to say that, if you're so inclined, I would thoroughly enjoy it if you wrote a list of your top five (or ten, or fifteen, or however many) X-Men.

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    3. I've been wanting to do a top 10 X-characters list, along with a top 10 Legion characters list. I'll mark that one as a to-do.

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    4. Hey, where did you go? I miss reading your posts!

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  3. Some people find the history of Filmation's behind-the-scenes antics more interesting than anything they produced, like that "OZ" sequel that they kicked back and forth before any animation began, "Pinnochio In Outer Space", the launch of "the half-hour toy conmercial" boom with "He-Man" and saving children'stelevision for three decades simply by attaching a moral at the end of an episode, qualifying it as "educational content" - a loophole that needs to be exploited again. Saturday morning television is a thing of the past.

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  4. I've just been stupidly busy. I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things with the next Omnicommentary by the end of the month.

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