Top 12 reasons why I love the 80s

Published by siroutlier_tt2i6p on

The decade of the 80s is one of those, “If you were there, you know” kinda deals. But even if you’re one of those time period tourists, you realize there’s just something special about the 80s. It was truly the last decade of innocence, or to be more precise, naivety. We weren’t constantly bombarded with the negativity of humanity, but the stage was being set. If you think about it, everything you love (whether it’s the internet, ESPN, or spandex) or are addicted to (whether it’s your cell phone, video game, or crack) was either born or skyrocketed into the mainstream in the good old US of 80s.

Now, I do realize my experience is not universal and some of this nostalgia comes from a certain place of privilege. So, as always, I can only speak for myself unlike everyone else on the ‘net who believes their opinions, beliefs, preferences, and entitlements are gospel. I like to think Darth MeMaw would tell the webtrolls to, “Stop being such a you and be more of an us.” Just like we all were back in the 80s (winkyface). Speaking of, here are the twelve reasons I’m glad I was an 80s kid.

12. Ain’t no icon like an 80s icon – I’ll put the 80s icons up against any decades in a Thunderdome style celebrity death match any day. What team could beat Mr. T, Madonna, Eddie Murphy, The Boss, Grace Jones, Hulk Hogan, Michael J. Fox, Whitney Houston, and Teddy Ruxpin? The answer is simple—NONE. And yes, I’m leaving off the problematic ones like the Cos and Michael Jackson.

Why am I always Pee-wee Herman or Max Headroom?

11. Cartoons became cosmopolitan – In the 80s, American cartoons were still kinda hokey, one-dimensional, and basically 20-minute toy commercials. And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing—G.I. Joe, Transformers, the Super Friends, Voltron, and Jem and the Holograms rocked! But along with that, we got introduced to some amazing Japanimation like Star Blazers, Battle of the Planets, and Robotech which offered more of a mature flair even after being watered down by US censors.

There’s something so charming about subliminally indoctrinating children into consumerism. I dubbed it sublimanimation.

10. Cable wormed its way into our homes – If you can remember relying on antennas capturing line-of-sight radio waves for your viewing pleasure…you might be a Neanderthal (JK). When we went from 6 fuzzy channels to 60 crystal clear ones, it about blew my still developing mind. Do I watch wrestling on TBS, Headbangers Ball on MTV, or USA Up All Night? And how is my impressionable cerebrum supposed to absorb all that mediocre content? Come to think of it, that probably explains a lot—thanks for nothing Dr. Nostrum!

This magic box opened me up an entirely new world of prosaic entertainment.

9. Movies took our breath away – Maybe it was a backlash from all the gritty realism of 70s cinema, but 80s movies leaned heavily into the colorful world of escapist fantasy. Allow me to show my work: E.T., Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, The Goonies, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, BeetleJuice, The Lost Boys, Field of Dreams, and, of course, the seminal classic Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. It was all about those loveable underdogs overcoming long odds, their own foibles, and the evil establishment to save themselves, their loved ones, and the day.

1982 is the greatest single year in movie history!

8. The fashion was bold – Maybe it was a backlash from all the polyester, tight corduroy, and brown of 70s clothing, but 80s fashion was a baggy explosion of colors and new wave style. Full disclosure, outside of a few pairs of Jam shorts, a pair of Reebok shoes, and a used Swatch, I didn’t participate in the fashion of the day. I had neither the money, the courage, nor the sense to live that avant-garde life. But I was there, and I saw firsthand all those neon colors, ridiculous leg warmers, and unfettered shirts and pants.

The 80s was basically one giant denim on denim fashion crime.

7. Sports went from pastime to primetime – What the hell am I talking about? I got four letters for you: ESPN. “He shoots, he scores.” “From way downtown, BANG!” “Booyah!” Sorry, anyway, we’ve always been a sport-oriented society, but thanks to cable and ESPN, it turned from a recreation into an obsession. Every sport, from basketball to septic tank diving, grew exponentially during this athletic Renaissance. We no longer had to wait till midnight for some semi-drunken, fast-talking local sportscaster named Buck or Fuzzy to bumble through the day’s highlights. We had an entire channel dedicated to the games people play, just as God intended back in 1st Corinthians Chapter 9, verse 26.

He could…go…all…the…way! is going on my tombstone.

6. Computers came home – “Pop Pop, tell us about the time before home computers.” Well, even I can barely remember that dark period in human history. When I got my Commodore 64, I felt like the next Bill Gates or Steve Wozniak. Okay, maybe more like Matthew Broderick from WarGames, cause I had no idea who the real computer nerds were back then. But instead of creating my own programs that would lead to a job with Microsoft or Google, I wasted all my time playing Congo Bongo and Telengard.

Can you believe that there was a time when computers were porn and virus free?

5. The toy revolution was televised – Toys certainly upped their game during the 80s, whether we’re talking about G.I. Joe and their wonderful vehicles or Transformers who were wonderful vehicles. Everyone immediately thinks about the Cabbage Patch craze, but there were so much more to 80s toys than those creepy-ass veggie babies. We had treasured playthings like Madballs, Rubik’s Cubes, Care Bears, Micro Machines, My Little Pony, and the steroid-y He-Man action figures. And Kenner’s Star Wars may have started in 1978, but with Empire and Jedi, the figures, ships, and playsets were the chef’s kiss of toys.

In the 80s, every home had to have at least one California Raisin. It wasn’t just a state mandate, but a federal law.

4. You could unplug – Yes, we had home computers and home video game systems, but let’s be honest, they were rudimentary compared to todays. And that’s a point for the 80s. You didn’t get sucked into a rabbit hole of online gaming, social media, and porn from which there is no escape. After playing Pitfall or using our dial up modem to say hi to a classmate across town, you actually went outside and played. The only social networking we did was at a skating or pool party. Or so I was told, the only parties I was ever invited to were my grandparents’ Bridge Club soirees. But, they could be wild affairs, especially when Agnes forgot her medication.

Since I didn’t have many friends outside of the retirement home, I was called the “lone rider.” Or “the loser no one liked.”

3. Let’s go to the mall… today – Ah, the mall—that environmentally controlled shopping oasis. It was THE 80s generation destination. Whether you had money or not, and it was primarily not, you could always waste the day strolling along the porcelain tile pathways, window shopping or sitting on the wooden benches while people watching. At least until the mall security told you to, “move along you dirty, penniless mallrats.”

Every mall had an arcade, Orange Julius, flavored popcorn kiosk, RadioShack, Sears as an anchor, and a Fotomat outside.

2. Pop, pop, pop music – Listen, I realize music has always been huge. From Bach to Beethoven to Boxcar Willie, every period has their geniuses. Maybe I’m partial (and if you’ve read this list, then #DUH!), but 80s music stands out from the crowd. Kinda like me at a BTS concert, but not in a disturbing way. This is when rap hit the mainstream, new wave crashed all over pop culture, and metal became, well metal. The proof is in the Jello pudding pops—i.e., I don’t even need to list any artists or their songs because no matter your age, you already know them.

The 80s is where disco went to die.

1. Video games invade – Sure, video games started in the 70s, but come on—Pong? Really… freaking PONG? I guess you could say video games graduated from preschool and grew the hell up during the 80s. I don’t even have to mention the Mount Rushmore of egames, but I will— Pac Man, Mario, Zelda, and Mike Tyson. Okay, so gaming went to college in the 90s, got their masters in the 00s, and is now working on its PhD, but give me the simple brilliance of Tetris, which I could play for an hour, then go outside and ride my bike.

I will die on the ‘NES is the undisputed champion of video gaming consoles’ hill. And then respawn.


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