History Analysis / TwoDecadesBehind

29th Mar '18 5:17:20 PM naturalironist
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When writers write about young people, they're often motivated by their own NostalgiaFilter. TV writers tend to be busiest in their late 30s and early 40s, and (like everyone else) their tastes and preferences were formed in their teens and early 20s; by the time they reach the big time, what is modern to them is actually 20 years out of date. A desire to WriteWhatYouKnow also plays an important part.

As such, shows that first ran in TheNineties often reminisced TheSeventies, shows in TheEighties carry a lot of cultural baggage from TheSixties, shows that first ran in TheSeventies hark back to TheFifties, and shows in TheFifties and TheSixties had its nostalgic setups between TheGayNineties and TheRoaringTwenties (probably because the '30s and '40s [[TheGreatDepression hadn't featured many things]] [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII people wanted to be nostalgic about]]).In another ten years, this will likely happen with the TurnOfTheMillennium or continue [[TheNewTens the current]] [[NostalgiaGoggles nostalgia surge]] in things from TheNineties (see the altered version of this trope in TheFifties and TheSixties below).

At the start of the 21st century, this can also be seen outside of nostalgia in how some works seem to suggest that they took place in TheEighties and steadily into TheNineties when they are supposed to be set in the present-day or a little earlier, in a misguided attempt at WereStillRelevantDammit, by having the "cool kids" still rap and skateboard and the lingo is still TotallyRadical JiveTurkey (even in works ''from'' TheNineties and TheEighties set in what was then ThePresentDay, where it was [[DeadUnicornTrope not relevant to begin with]]).
This is closely related to the fact that such franchises as ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'', ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'', and ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'' are getting revamped around twenty years after the peaks of their popularity; in fact, ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'' (2009) was a revival of ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeARealAmericanHero'' from the 1980s, which was, in turn, a revamp of the original Joes from the 1960s.

Another reason for this trope is a long tradition of ExecutiveMeddling. Until relatively recently, American entertainment media was heavily censored compared to that of most other cultures, first by UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode (which wasn't relaxed until the mid-1950s at the earliest and not scrapped entirely until 1968) for movies and then by the Federal Communications Commission (whose standards weren't truly liberalized until the mid-1990s) for television. For comics, UsefulNotes/TheComicsCode limped on until 2011. That is why, until about 1996 or so, American entertainment was often behind the times in portraying political, social, or cultural change; sometimes, especially when it came to topics like [[HideYourLesbians homosexuality]], it wasn't even ''[[GetBackInTheCloset allowed]]''.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Analysis.TwoDecadesBehind