My so-called generation

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My so-called generation

Post by Sascha » Dec 28th 2004, 6:43 am

Here's a really interesting article about how MSCL could have maybe defined a generation --- if it had lasted for more than 19 episodes.

Maybe the new Bedford Falls show "1/4life" can fill this void the author is speaking of.


My so-called generation
The forgotten twentysomething generation demands more role models than just Claire Danes

Group between Gen X and Millennials never got a shot at pop culture glory, writes Cynthia Cheng

Every generation gets a pop culture identity. But what about those of us who are currently in our mid to late 20s?

We don't seem to fit in anywhere. Are we some sort of bridge in between two "great" generations?

We aren't quite Generation X, because we were too young to enjoy the early and definitive hits by singers such as Madonna or Prince, and also too young to have enjoyed Brat Pack movies such as The Breakfast Club or Sixteen Candles.

However, we were certainly old enough to enjoy the Grunge era of the early '90s. We were, after all, between Grade 7 and Grade 12 — meaning that we were born between 1976 and 1981 — when we heard about Kurt Cobain's death.

But while most of us can pinpoint where we were when we found out he died, do we really know who he was and what he meant?

At the same time, we aren't "Millennials," the latest media darling and focus of all things advertising. Bridges especially don't like to be lumped together with them.

We recall much that Millennials do not. They say the current young generation is the first to grow up after the fall of the Iron Curtain. But most of us remember watching the fall of the Berlin Wall on television. If we were old enough to watch it on TV, then we certainly aren't Millennials.

Millennials have never known a world without computers. But most Bridges never had access to a computer in their early years — and will be the last generation to be born without a mouse in its hand.

Yes, what computers we had were mouse-free, machines like Apple IIe's and 640K DOS machines. Waterloo's Lisa Smith, 24, recalls her first computer, a Vic30. "There were large cartridges that contained games, and a tape drive you could use to save your work. I used to program on it all the time."

Toronto's Emily Austin, also 24, believes Bridges are like the middle child, caught between two generations. We are simply ignored by the media.

Ten years ago, the target group was Generation X. However, in the '90s, they became grownups and were ready for the working world. Pop culture followed suit. A good example was 1994's Reality Bites, a movie about university grads who were moving into the real world. They also had Friends, the show that young singles watched every Thursday night.

The formerly twentysomething singles are now in their 30s and ready to settle down. And the current batch of 25-year-olds is left with re-runs. The world has just skipped over Bridges as if we do not exist.

The pop culture focus now is on the Millennials. Millennials like to listen to music by Ashlee Simpson and Hilary Duff, and watch movies such as A Cinderella Story and What a Girl Wants. But what does this girl want? I want my own version of the Cinderella story.

When it comes to music, slightly older Millennials might like Britney Spears or The Backstreet Boys (both singers that Bridges might like, but aren't open to telling people). But Millennials are the market. We certainly aren't the target audience.

There were a few teen movies that came out in the late '90s starring Bridge-aged actors, but they weren't big hits. Does anyone remember Boys And Girls? Was Freddie Prinze, Jr. supposed to be our Keanu Reeves? Where's our Degrassi? GenX had one — and so do Millennials.

We almost had the critically acclaimed My So-Called Life to grow up with. The show premiered in the fall of 1994, but only lasted 19 episodes. If the show lasted longer, would Bridges have had some sort of definitive icon?

Austin believes that it would have helped, but it wasn't the "pivotal event that defined our generation." She also believes that it wasn't given a chance to succeed. "If (the show) had been (given the chance), I do think that the media would have paid more attention to our generation."

So, does this mean that we have an icon or not? Is the show's star, Claire Danes, our pop culture representative?

"I can't say that there are any celebrities, in my mind, that represent us and our age group properly," says Jason Law, 24 of North York.

North York's Sandra Perlstein, 25, agrees. "I'm having a hard time coming up with a person that represents our generation, unlike today's generation and Generation X."

Of course, our generation can always be defined by what we played with as young children. The definitive toy for girls growing up in the '80s was probably the Cabbage Patch doll. Every little girl had one. For the boys, it was action figures, such as He-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all part of Law's toy collection as a kid. Of course, there were the classics such as Barbie for the girls and G.I. Joe for the boys.

Later, both Bridge boys and girls saw first generation Nintendo systems. North York's Ken Leung, now 26, owned a first generation Game Boy, — almost twice the size of a modern PDA and three times as thick. It was also, unlike the regular Nintendo system, black and white. But it was still cooler than having to go to the arcade to play.

But do we want to be defined by the toys we played with as kids? It sure seems as if that's all we're going to get. Icons for a generation aren't usually about the toys they played with as children, but what they strive to emulate as they reach their teens and twenties.

Our baby-boomer parents had early television and rock 'n' roll. Our older Generation X siblings have the early hits of singers such as Madonna and Michael Jackson. The younger Millennials have the Olsen twins.

We deserve at least that. We, as a group, need pop culture to help us define ourselves properly, and not just be some middle sibling that no one cares about.

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Re: My so-called generation

Post by TooCool4Skool » Dec 28th 2004, 1:59 pm

Sascha (sab) wrote:
The pop culture focus now is on the Millennials. Millennials like to listen to music by Ashlee Simpson and Hilary Duff, and watch movies such as A Cinderella Story and What a Girl Wants.
Although this is true for most of my generation... it still hurts! Sometimes I feel like (I know this sounds like the "baby" talking) it's better to not have a person to represent you. That way, you aren't stero-typed under something you aren't. But, then again, I don't know how it feels to be "skipped over".

Other than that, really interesting article.
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Thom- ...No.
Space Goast- Cuz it sounds like a good idea... so do it.

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Post by Nostradamus » Dec 28th 2004, 10:27 pm

I agree that too much attention is given to generational stereotypes, but as far as the "bridges" go, wouldn't Buffy the Vampire Slayer be a fair representative?
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Post by CanyonCrow » Apr 6th 2005, 9:35 am

I was 7 when MSCL premiered, and I loved it, but I was too young to understand it. Now, 11 years later, I can finally relate to the characters and what they go through, but it's too late. I mean, I hate pop music like Jessica/Ashlee Simpson, and I hate "Friends". Still, us "Bridges" had to grow up with heroes like Joe Strummer and Bob Dylan because our parents, "Generation X" listened to them. Now we're adults, and still we're a cross between the preceeding and proceeding generations, so people either ignore us or they group us in one or the other. We're screwed.

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Post by SanDeE* » Apr 6th 2005, 1:03 pm

What about someone like me? I'm in my early 20s, I certainly remember before computers were everyday life. I remember hearing about Kurt Cobain's death. I remember hearing about the Gulf War. I guess that makes me a young Bridge, since I really really am not a Millenial. I'd say every 10 - 15 years or so, the generation changes.

So, generally speaking, if you were born between:
1945 - 1960: BABY BOOMERS
1961 - 1975: GEN X
1976 - 1985: BRIDGE
1986 - 2000: MILLENIAL

What is GEN Y then? I've heard that classification before. Is BRIDGE the same as GEN Y?

I liked that article. I can't believe didn't see this thread before today.
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Post by Gilly » Apr 6th 2005, 6:47 pm

I'm a Bridge too. I think I've latched on to some of Gen X's stuff though. I identify my generation with the rebellion of Grunge against consumerism. I've always thought of my generation as a throwback to the hippies of the 60s, though a much less rebellious and active, but I'm starting to think it's just the people I associate with and that there really is no identity for my generation. I teach the Millenials who don't remember or understand the Cold War and the importance of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR. I'm definately NOT a part of that generation!

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Post by SanDeE* » Apr 6th 2005, 7:27 pm

Well, no one thing can identify an entire generation. It's the human mind that requires order and classification - it can't handle chaos and undefined things, so it has to label. I know people who are exactly the same age as me, but have completely different opinions and values from mine - different politics, religious beliefs, etc.
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Post by Gilly » Apr 16th 2005, 8:35 pm

I agree that you cannot identify a generation by their beliefs because we're all so different but I do think that my generation was the last generation of the Cold War and we do remember the polarization. It was almost like we were taught in school that Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union were evil or something. Maybe it's just me though.

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Post by emmie » Apr 17th 2005, 12:52 am

I was born in '79, and I remember being taught that Russia was evil. funny how I've forgotten about that. I also remember we had a computer in my kindergarten class and that was such a huge deal! ha ha.

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Re: My so-called generation

Post by Jody Barsch* » Apr 18th 2009, 9:20 pm

I'm watching Jeneane Garofalo's Comedy Hour on HBO (1997?) and she just compared Brad and Gwenyth's break up to the heartbreak of Angela getting in Jordan Catalano's car leaving Brian Krakow with his bike. The crowd went wild (for the MSCL part).

I didn't know exactly where to post this, but I figured that Jeneane Garofalo was a big fixture in the 90's and ths was a statement about those times... I like that the DVD essay wasn't her only public statement about the show.
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