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Friday, February 24, 2012

Shows Of The 1980's.

Ever get tired of everything being about business? Where is the fun in that? Well, this week we're breaking from blogging about writing to discuss something else. Let's discuss and era gone by that had a huge impact on the world of today.

I'm talking about the 1980's.

How many of my readers actually remember the 80's? Probably not many. Chances are you'll still find this post entertaining, or at the very least enlightening. Because most of what you enjoy today has roots that go back to the 1980's.

You're probably asking yourself: "How is that possible?" Am I right?

Ever hear of Thunder Cats? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? How about G.I. Joe? Guess what? The original cartoons of those series are from the 80's. Back then cartoons had a huge following that extends into today's marketing of the modern versions. The same goes for Transformers.

Fun Trivia Fact: Did you know that Hasbro changed the television industry for toy advertisement through G.I. Joe and Transformers? Want to know how? Animated commercials to sell toys were forbidden back then, so they went to Marvel Comics to get them made as comics and then made the cartoons of the comics, which helped sell the toys.

And it was a marketing strategy that worked! Both industries sold billions of toys from those "cartoons" alone. Not to mention they went on to make movies about them and several spin off series, such as the ones kids see today. G.I. Joe Extreme and Transformers Cybertron and Universe and Energon, ect.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Bright, Teddy Ruxbin Adventures, and Care Bears all originate from the 80's. Now a days before a movie even hits DVD and most times before they even hit theaters, there is an entire toy line filling up the shelves.

Personally I miss how wholesome the TV shows were back in the 80's. Like MacGyver. He was a crafty guy and every episode he faced some kind of peril, whether it was saving the few people he let close enough to matter, or saving the world, or a small village. Every episode had a strong life lesson behind it.

What about Dukes of Hazard? It stressed the importance of family values, teamwork, and taking responsibility for you own actions. Each episode instilled a sense of enlightenment and was very entertaining at the same time.

How many of my readers have heard of or seen Gundam Seed or Zoids? Even they have roots in the 80's. How? Simple: they are patterned off of a series called Robotech, which is patterned off of Voltron, both of which are from the 80's.

Sure each series has its own little quirks and different plot lines and various spin offs, but they all involve mechs, often times combining to form more powerful mech. Power rangers {from the 90's} follows this pattern as well, despite the deeper plot lines. All have a group of people working together to save their worlds.

The 80's had a slew of great shows including Alf, Airwolf, The A-Team, Dynasty, Dallas, Knight Rider, Magnum, P.I., Miami Vice, Different Strokes, The Jeffersons, The Facts of Life, The Cosby Show, Murder She Wrote, 21 Jump Street, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Night Court, Who's the Boss?

Family Matters, Quantum Leap, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, Full House, The Golden Girls, Cheers, Growing Pains, Family Ties, Seinfeld, Tales From The Crypt {which lead to tales from the dark side}, Ghost Writer, R.L. Stein's Goosebumps, The Simpsons and Married... with Children.

All were family centric shows that touched on a variety of subjects. Everything from dealing with family stress, peer pressure, to growing up and becoming adults, politics, racial issues, ect. But all had wholesome values behind them and most were kid friendly. Something today's "entertainment" sorely lacks.

Double Dare for instance was a family game show where even the parents participated as part of the team. It really brought parents and their kids {usually young teens or preteens} together. Keeping them a tight knit unit and making them work together to complete the challenges. Family Feud did the same thing, minus the icky slime that Double Dare was famous for.

What about American Gladiators? Now there is a show that really encouraged everyone to stay in shape, because the challenges were all physical activities, like dodging the huge rubber balls, or running in the large metal balls that reminded me of a hamster wheel, or even facing the gladiators themselves, all of which were tough as nails. And what about the obstacle course?

MTV debuted August 1st 1981. It revolutionized how people watch music videos, not to mention it spun off many sister sites. MTV also owns Cartoon Network, which has brought popular animes such as Dragon Ball Z, Inuyasha, Bleach, and Death Note to a wider audience and helped to make them some of the most popular animes in America.

Some of you are probably sitting there thinking enough about the shows already. Right?

Okay, how about music?

Many new genres and sub genres of music were born in the 80's as well. Such as: Pop music, which gave birth to the sub genres of Thrash Metal and Dance music. Rock gave birth to the sub genres of New Wave, Soft Rock, and Glam Metal.

Other less popular genres such as Adult Contemporary, Quiet Storm and Smooth Jazz gained popularity. Several major electronic genres were created in the 80's as well. Such as Electro, Techno, House, Freestyle, Eurodance. It gave us great bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Metallica, Motley Crue, Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, ect.

The 80's gave us talented musical artists such as Michael Jackson, and Madona. Two of pop's biggest stars. It also gave birth to teen pop which gave us the wonderful vocal talents of New Kids on the Block, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Tommy Page, New Edition, Stacey Q, The Bangles, Olivia Newton-John.

Artists like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, Prince and Janet Jackson all went on to receive worldwide fame. The 80's also brought us new talent in the form of Early American alternative bands such as R.E.M. It even gave us very talented guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen. Other older bands like The Beach Boys and The Kinks made large comebacks.

The 80's also gave way for trends like the hair bands, parachute pants, Nintendo, which took over 90% of the American Video Games market. And... you guessed it personal computers.

PC's went from being a toy for electronics hobbyists to a full-fledged industry. By the end of the 80's almost every middle school and high school in America used computers and had classes just for computers.

Granted they weren't nearly as advanced as today's models. Back then a "lap top" was completely unheard of and games were still played in Basic and DOS, where pictures were done by a bunch of boxes and graphics totally sucked.

Ever heard of or used a microwave oven? They were just starting to become a household item in the 80's. Until that point they were too bulky and way too expensive for your average American family to afford.

In fact only 25% of American household had them even in the 80's. These days they are practically how a lot of American eat any food. TV dinners have sky rocketed in popularity today, where as in the 80's home cooked meals were the popular way to eat.

Of course there are some parts of the 80's that aren't as fascinating and in my humble opinion we seriously could have done without.

Like the fact that in 1984 crack cocaine reached American cities and marked the start of the crack epidemic. Which in my opinion, was a major catalyst for the word we see today. I personally think our country would have been much better off without the crap.

Guess what? The 80's is making a huge comeback!

Think I'm crazy? Look at today's popular sales of music, DVD shows, Movies, Books, ect, chances are most of them are from the 80's. Tripp pants are based off a mix of 80's style pants, mainly the parachute pants.

Recycling had a big explosion in the 80's that lasted half way through the 90's and even lingers on today. All that "go green" stuff started with recycling.

Believe it or not most teenagers these days are disgusted by modern music and prefer to listen to the songs from the 80's, if you pay attention to their comments on YouTube videos about today's "music".

More and more teenagers are getting sick of the mindless blood lust and sexual frenzies that infest today's entertainment as well.

They're turning to vampires, werewolves and other paranormal shows to get away from the truly horrific gore fests today's movies have become. Granted there are some decent new shows for teens like The Vampire Diaries, and Merlin, but those are pretty rare.

What are some of your favorites shows, bands, or songs from the 80's? For those readers old enough to remember them, what are some of your favorite moments or memories from the 80's?

Were you teens getting into the Pepsi and Coca-Cola phase? Were you a parent watching your kids play with their chia pets or pet rocks? Or maybe you dragged around a cabbage patch doll while you and your friends fed them those disappearing milk and orange juice bottles? How many readers remember the Easy Bake Oven? What about Glo Worm? How about Light Brite?

Feel free to comment on whether you agree or disagree with what I've said above. Along with any other comments you may have or stories to share. We all enjoy sharing stories at some point.

Reference Materials: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980s and my own childhood memories.


  1. I remember the good old days. I loved to watch Double Dare on Nickolodeon or wait up on Saturday nights to watch SNICK with Clarissa explains it all and are you afraid of the dark. I remember the days of VHS and how we only had 12 channels on our TV. I also remember I could not wait till Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and also thinking a person was so wealthy because they had a Nitendo or a computer!

  2. Okay, this is an awesome post. I had such a crush on MacGyver and Magnum PI. :) And I remember when transformers came out. And commodore 64's! Donkey Kong and Qbert and Pacman. So many great memories. :)

    1. Thank you for taking time to leave a comment and share your insight.

      My Mama had like a HUGE crush on MacGyver. That's one of my clearest memories. Watching MacGyver was one of the only times we had quality mother daughter time, cause she was always working extra shifts.