Younger and Hipper
"Nowadays, we're about appealing to a different kind of audience, an audience that is young, diverse, youngly diverse, diversely young, ethnically youthful, and homosexually young. And we think that that audience wants us to bring back NumberWang in a way that retains all of its original features but is basically like 'Skins."When a work is revamped, relaunched, or reconceived with a young (or younger, at any rate) cast, despite the ages of the characters in the original source material. This happens because it is commonly believed that no one in the audience wants to watch "old people" (defined as anyone over the age of 40 or thereabouts). Often, this happens to supposedly allow Character Development, because the older character has "nowhere to go" and thus making him young again "opens up story possibilities" or, putting it bluntly, just makes him "relevant". Whether or not this is true is open to interpretation. Occasionally, this trope will be inverted when the characters are young children in the source material. The characters will be aged to their teens in order to fit the "younger and hipper" ("older and hipper?") mindset. This is a type of Tone Shift. The moral opposite of Dawson Casting. Spin-Off Babies is a subtrope. If done poorly, can result in Totally Radical. Parallel to Darker and Edgier, Lighter and Softer, Denser and Wackier, Bloodier and Gorier, and Hotter and Sexier.
— Head of Programming, That Mitchell and Webb Look
open/close all folders
- Younger And Hipper is practically the religion worshiped by every advertising agency around, who have this strange idea that a consumer's money loses all its value once he turns 35. Unless the product in question is directly aimed at "senior citizens" (read: anyone on the long end of the 18-34 demographic), expect the people in commercials to all be young.
- This may have something to do with the fact that 35-year-olds typically have better things to do with their money than to buy luxury goods advertised on TV (such as taking care of their children). When they become senior citizens, they no longer have dependent families and can buy useless luxuries again (if they have a generous retirement), and often have failing health, which means that they must buy very expensive (and profitable) medical supplies.
- Newer Than They Think: Even in the 90's, it wasn't uncommon to see seniors advertise products ranging from potato chips to lawnmowers. Today, you'd be hard pressed to find a senior in a television commercial advertising anything other than medication (unless, perhaps, he/she is advertising some kind of family run business).
- The resurrection of Wendy's "Where's the Beef" slogan. In the original ads an old lady screams this angrily at servers of Brand X burger joints, in the new version a twentysomething hipster finds a vintage T-shirt with the slogan and various strangers repeat it until they've pointed him to a Wendy's.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken also played with this. First came the initialisms from the full name to "KFC" in 1991. Next, many ad campaigns designed to target young and racial demographics. Remember the animated Colonel Sanders in 2000? That campaign lasted only a year, perhaps because animating a beloved founder still fresh and alive in the minds of many was a bit exploitive.
- Even McDonald's is not immune to this trope. In April 2014, they unveiled a new look◊ for their iconic mascot Ronald McDonald, giving him a fashion sense that's meant to resonate with the millennial crowd, and new viral marketing where Ronald will be "taking selfies" and posting them to social media sites like Twitter. The reaction so far has been a big collective groan.
- Capitan Findus (also known as Captain Birdseye or Captain Iglo), mascot of a brand of frozen fish foods, originally looked like an old, jolly sea captain with a big white beard, not unlike a seafaring Santa Claus. In the late 90s he briefly turned into a much younger captain who looked a bit like Corto Maltese and who also fought a cartoonish crew of sea-themed villains a la Action Man or other similar action-themed cartoons, also counting for Darker and Edgier. Now he is old again but looks a much more realistic, grizzled sea captain than both of his previous incarnations.
- Many of The DCU characters in the 2011 New 52 relaunch, including Superman. The stated reason is to make the characters more modern and relatable.
- The Post-Crisis Superboy's initial presence in Reign Of The Supermen was probably a nod to this trope, much like Steel represented the Affirmative Action Legacy, the Eradicator represented Darker and Edgier Sociopathic Heroes, and the Cyborg Superman represented gratuitous artificial limbs.
- The infamous "Teen Tony" era of Iron Man. They turned adult Tony Stark evil and so they got a teenage version of Tony from the past and had them fight. The whole thing was rebooted and no one ever talked about it again.
- The "Batch SW6" clones in the Legion of Super-Heroes; they were even given a title of their own to allow this trope to coexist with the original Legion in the TMK era. The Continuity Reboot of the Legion after Zero Hour also resulted in this trope.
- The objective behind the One More Day arc of Spider-Man, based on Joe Quesada's belief that no-one can relate to a married superhero. Further casualties are Jean Grey (with Scott and Emma kissing over her grave) and The Wasp (killed to "make Ant-Man more interesting," just like Spidey.) That some of the love interests that get the bridge dropped on them are established characters in their own right and have people who actually care about their treatment is entirely lost on him.
- Joseph, the hated young Magneto from the '90s ''X-Men books. He was initially introduced as the real Magneto, who had supposedly been de-aged and stripped of his memories, but was ultimately revealed to just be a youthful clone. He was killed off almost immediately after this revelation.
- Kyle Rayner, whom DC trumpeted as "the One True Green Lantern" while Dropping a Bridge on Hal Jordan and the rest of the Corps. Eventually reversed for the most part, as Hal and the Corps came back 10 years later.
- Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle is another case in addition to being an Affirmative Action Legacy.
- Most of the characters in the Ultimate Marvel universe. Reed Richards and Sue Storm founded the Fantastic Four at 18, Victor Van Damme became Doctor Doom around the same age, Iron Fist, Shang-Chi, and Spider-Woman all became teens or young adults, Eddie Brock became Spider-Man's childhood friend, and Doctor Strange is a handsome guy in his early 20's rather than The Ageless guy born in the 30's who looks perpetually middle-aged .
- Also, Peter Parker remained around 15-16 for all 160 issues of Ultimate Spider-Man. His successor, Miles Morales, is even younger.
- Ultimate Spider-Man also introduced the idea of Peter Parker knowing Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, and Gwen Stacy in high school, an idea later used in the first Spider-Man (at least with the former two, Gwen appeared in Spider-Man 3; after they went to college), Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, The Spectacular Spider-Man, the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon (again, just MJ and Harry; Gwen hasn't appeared yet), and The Amazing Spider-Man Series (Gwen and he was childhood friends with Harry). In the mainstream universe, Peter didn't meet them until he went to college. Similarly, both Peter and the future Venom Eddie Brock were childhood friends.
- In addition to Mary Jane, Harry, and Gwen being in high school with Peter in the aforementioned Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, Felicia Hardy (Black Cat's alter ego) is in high school with them as a new transfer student, unlike the Ultimate comics (which kept her as an adult), her The Spectacular Spider-Man incarnation (where, according to Word of God, she's 19) and her incarnation in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (where she never met Peter and by that point, anyway, he and Harry have graduated high school).
- Batman: Earth One protrays Lucius Fox as younger than Batman, in inverse of tradition, where he's older than Bruce Wayne (espcially considering some cases, he's a friend of Thomas Wayne before that fateful night).
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- James Bond continually changes actors to keep Bond around a certain age range. As actors age out, they are replaced by younger actors.
- In the cartoons, Inspector Gadget was voiced by then-sixty-something actor Don Adams, and the character himself was portrayed as if he was in his late 30s or early 40s. When it came time to cast him for the live-action version, they went with babyfaces Matthew Broderick and French Stewart, neither of whom look like they were in their late 30s or early 40s.
- The Thomas the Tank Engine film cast the younger, "hipper" Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor rather than the fifty-something Ringo Starr or George Carlin.
- The 2009 Star Trek movie reboots the series with a crew of young actors, playing characters who are straight out of the Academy rather than experienced veterans of high rank, as the characters were at the beginning of the original show.
- The Shakespeare adaptations often make the cast younger than they are in the original play:
- 10 Things I Hate About You took The Taming of the Shrew and put it in a high school.
- "O" puts Othello in a high school.
- She's The Man does it to Twelfth Night.
- William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet does this in an interesting way. The setting is changed to California in the 1990s, Romeo is played by Leonardo Dicaprio (who at the time was still considered a teen heartthrob), and swords and daggers instead become firearms. However, the dialog in the movie is lifted directly from the original play rather than attempting to update it with the setting, making for an interesting combination of "old English meets 1990s America."
- Clueless was Jane Austen's Emma reworked with a high school cast.
- City of Ember used the "older and hipper" inversion. The lead characters are twelve in the original book, but are teenagers in the film.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians used the "older and hipper" inversion as well. The lead is also twelve in the original book, with age progression that is intertwined with a prophecy that spans the entire series. They are teenagers in the film to allow for romantic entanglements.
- In the original Dawn of the Dead, the survivors are all in their 30s to 40s. In the remake, they're all twenty-somethings, with only one guy who looks like he's on the far side of 35.
- Joe Leland, the hero of the novel Nothing Lasts Forever is in his sixties and is as solemn and serious a character as can be found. When the novel was turned into the movie Die Hard, Leland was transformed into the young, hip snarky jokester John McClane, played by the young, hip snarky jokester Bruce Willis.
- X-Men: First Class explores the younger (and more groovy) versions of Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and Beast with new actors playing the familiar roles.
- The first Blade does this to both Deacon Frost (casting him a more Generation X type of character. His comic book counterpart is an older, German accented, white haired gentleman that hailed from circa 1868) and Blade himself (shifting his year of bitrh from 1929 to 1967).
- End of an Age: Reality shows rarely have contestants who are older than 50 anymore. Even then, not even a handful. The days of Rudy Boesch (Survivor) and "Chicken" George Boswell (Big Brother USA Edition) are ancient history.
- Parodied in the Stargate SG-1 episode "200," and then played straight with the young cast and relationship-centric nature of Stargate Universe. Ironic, eerily prophetic, the writers of "200" parodying what their executives were perhaps discussing, or all of the above? You decide.
- As it went on for longer and longer, ER replaced pretty much all of its older actors with younger hipper ones.
- Doctor Who
- Innes Lloyd's tenure as producer was an intentional attempt at this. He sacked the companions Steven (from the future) and Dodo (who was a hip Sixties girl but a rather unflattering caricature of one, since her main characteristic was being a total weirdo) and drafted in the legitimately hip posh girl Polly and working class sailor Ben, both from the then present day 1966. Then he presided over recasting the Doctor from William Hartnell, whose health had been slowly failing and compromising his acting ability, with Patrick Troughton, who was younger and much more physically robust. The Doctor's characterisation also shifted in this direction; the First Doctor was a Grumpy Old Man with No Social Skills, travelled around with schoolteachers and his granddaughter, and went on pseudoeducational adventures in history in which aliens would not show up. The Second Doctor was The Social Expert with a flair for dressing up and got to do trendy 60s things like wear a Beatles haircut, teach teenagers to overthrow their oppressive square masters by mixing acid, go on adventures in psychedelic dreamscapes, and wear Cool Shades as a disguise.
- The Fourth Doctor's tenure started off a bit like this. Replacing the dour, cynical and steadfastly unhip Jon Pertwee - popular with dads - with the young-looking and countercultural Tom Baker improved the appeal of the show to little kids (who thought the Fourth Doctor, the first Doctor to be a Man Child, was relatable and funny) as well as attracting a big Periphery Demographic of childless college students and university lecturers, who would not normally have watched the show but were able to relate to an anti-authoritarian eccentric genius.
- The last two seasons of Sylvester McCoy's era also fit, as he had had a very unhip first season under massive pressure to be Lighter and Softer. A new script editor came in, and his plan for fixing it was to make the show more relevant to modern teenagers, dealing with the home life of the Doctor's companion in more detail, making the companion less traditionally squeaky-clean, adding a bit more sexual subtext and trying to deal more sincerely with the implications of a child travelling around time and space with an impossibly old Sufficiently Advanced Alien Chessmaster.
- The relaunch uses this trope. The Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors get increasingly younger, with Ten and Eleven having a particularly hipster vibe, in comparison to the generally older Doctors before them. The Twelfth Doctor is the first of the reboot to return to an older Doctor.
When I was younger the actors who interpreted the part all had ages similar to Peterís today, and it was when we had our first younger Doctor, Tom Baker, that it was a shock. Now things are reversed.
- This was remarked on by Mark Gatiss in an interview, commenting on how shocked people were by the casting of the Twelfth Doctor:
- In season one of Mork and Mindy, the main characters were Mork, Mindy, Mindy's father Fred, and Mindy's grandmother Cora. The series was a huge success. For season two, the producers decided to change the timeslot, and eliminate the older characters of Fred and Cora, replacing them with a brother and sister from New York who run a deli that the two leads are now regulars at. However, this backfired, so in season 3 the producers returned to their original premise, but this also failed. The theme song went through similar changes. In Season 2, it was disco-fied, then went back to a retread of the original for season 3.
- This is the trend that's being followed by both the Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises. The earliest seasons had their protagonists typically somewhere within their mid-twenties but somewhere around five years ago, the protagonists tend to either be in their very early twenties or late teens. As it stands, the protagonist Kamen Rider Fourze is a high school student, so this trope is more or less in full effect with the franchise at this point. 2012's series show that this is not a permanent shift but a choice for that year. Haruto of Kamen Rider Wizard is played by a 22-year-old actor, and the Reunion Show takes place five years later so even the Fourze cast will not be high-schoolers in their further appearances. Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters, however, gives us a deliberately wide age spread - Yoko is high school age, Hiromu is in his early twenties, Jin looks mid-twenties but is actually seven years older, being a projection of his true self still in hyperspace. Ryuuji is almost thirty.
- In the 2000s, middle-aged Vince Gill was replaced pretty much by the much younger duo of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as host of the Country Music Association Awards.
- Poor attempts to apply this to Let's Make a Deal in the 1996 spinoff Big Deal led to its quick cancellation ó the show and hosting style were greatly amped-up, the prizes more modernized, and the show added a stunt segment. Big Deal lasted only six weeks. The 2003 revival of Let's Make a Deal suffered many of the same downfalls and died after only three weeks. When CBS revived it again in 2009, they seemed to get the balance of old and new just about right.
- The Price Is Right fought hard against this, with many elements from the show's heyday in the 70s and 80s staying mostly the same right up until original host Bob Barker retired in 2007: same set, same basic prizes, same old pricing games (though modern tech did creep into Any Number, the very first pricing game to be played). Only the announcer post changed (Johnny Olson to Rod Roddy to Rich Fields), both times being due to the death of the predecessor. After Drew Carey took his place as host, the show began making more cosmetic and prizing changes, as well as other derivations from the Barker era such as celebrity cameos and increased interaction with the models and announcers, which was originally a Price hallmark that died off in the late 90s. The show also began swapping out old-fashioned game show props (trilons, eggcrate displays, etc.) for modern tech.
- Humorously portrayed in Donkey Kong Country. Cranky Kong was Donkey Kong in the classic arcade games of the early-80's. The then-current DK (who was, presumably, either Donkey Kong Junior in the 80's or Jr.'s son) is, of course, young and hip, while Cranky is a bitter old geezer who obsessively pines for the glory days of his time as DK in the 80's.
- Probably the best way to describe Rosalina's new voice in Mario Kart 7, which replaces her withdrawn elegance and softspoken mannerisms with more sass and emotion.
- Pac-Man's redesign in Pac-Man Party, which makes him look like a Sonic character.
- In the original Legend of Zelda, Impa was described in the manual as Zelda's elderly nursemaid. By Ocarina of Time, she became a badass warrior woman. Of course Link, Zelda and Ganon were constantly getting younger replacements depending on the generation, but usually with less changes to the character.
- Both What's New, Scooby-Doo? and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated are modern adaptations of old series from the 70's.
- Deconstructed in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series with the villainous Calendar Girl. She was a former model who was "past her prime" (that is, she had turned 30) and wanted revenge against the fashion industry that abandoned her. There was a scene where a company was pitching TV ideas such as something about a "teen cop" and "girls at a modeling college" etc. to drive the point home. In the end, it was revealed that Calendar Girl was still quite beautiful, but all she could see were the "flaws" that came with age.
- The irony? Calendar Girl herself is a younger-and-hipper update of Calendar Man, a somewhat lame C-List Fodder bat-rogue.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold played this trope straight with its version of the Outsiders, which consisted primarily of angsty teen versions of Black Lightning, Katana, and Metamorpho. They were later joined by teen versions of Halo and Geo-Force as the series progressed.
- Batman Beyond owes its entire existence to this trope, as the stated concept of the show was "Batman In High School". They never specified it had to be Bruce Wayne in High School, though.
- Extreme Ghostbusters was a younger hipper version of The Real Ghostbusters, replacing all of the "old" Ghostbuster characters except Egon Spengler, who stayed around as The Mentor. The "Extreme" Ghostbusters were a bunch of college-age kids (including a Token Female Perky Goth).
- All Grown Up! inverted this trope by presenting an Older and Hipper version of the Rugrats characters. Although not as well liked as Rugrats, it still had a decent fanbase.
- Quack Pack also did this by turning Donald Duck's nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie into teenagers.
- Whereas the original Transformers featured a team of grizzled veterans and a couple of rookies, Transformers Animated features a team of brash rookies with one grizzled mentor.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures has Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and Rhodey all in high school and fighting bad guys.
- The Disney Channel inverted this with its "Zoog Disney" block by way of aging up the Zoog characters into "older" and hipper versions of themselves through an Animation Bump.
- The page image is from Yo Yogi!, the spinoff of Yogi Bear made during the 90s, taking the 'hipper' part to cringe-worthy levels.
- For a much better example than the one right above, Goof Troop doesn't de-age Goofy, but introduces his son, Max, and focuses on his life as well as Goofy's.
- The 1996 Flash Gordon cartoon took a character who had, in the past, been a world-champion polo player and professional football player, and turned him into a skateboarding teenager.
- Muppet Babies half-played this trope. The characters were definitely "younger" but were by no means "hipper" than their adult counterparts. They were basically more naive and imaginative versions of their adult selves.
- Parodied on The Simpsons in the episode "Kill the Alligator and Run." The Simpsons visit Florida after Homer has a breakdown, but they arrive during MTV Spring Break. One of the VJs is celebrating her 25th birthday, and in a nod to Logan's Run, a jewel on her hand starts flashing, and security staff take her away and replace her with a younger VJ.
- Like other movies from the 80's, the popularity of Little Shop of Horrors led to the creation of cartoon spin-off, and in that case, we get the thankfully short-lived 1991 Fox Kids show, Little Shop. Little Shop ages the protagonists down from twentysomethings to around 13 years old, made the Man-Eating Plant a friendly character that eats meat like a normal Venus flytrap and gets repulsed at the idea of people eating vegetables, and turned the Depraved Dentist into a school bully with Braces of Orthodontic Overkill.
- X-Men: Evolution, which was launched after the success of the first X-Men movie.
- Young Justice features a number of younger versions of adult DC Comics characters, including Zatanna, Cheshire, El Dorado, Samurai, Apache Chief, and Vox.
- Ultimate Spider-Man features Spider-Man becoming part of a superhero team connected with S.H.I.E.L.D., consisting of Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Nova and White Tiger, the first two being older in the comics than they are in the show. A teen version of the Rhino also shows up as one of Spider-Man's former classmates and a similarly deaged version of the Vulture later appeared.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has, among others, April as a teenager. Master Splinter is also younger, as in most continuities he is an old man, where here he is middle aged.
- In Beware the Batman Alfred is significantly younger, and more physically fit that previous incarnations, and he is stated to be an ex-MI6 agent with the rank of Major.
- Bruce Wayne in The Batman seems to be in is early twenties, rather than thirty, and his relaxed and lighthearted attitude during some of his interactions with Alfred suggest that his Rich Idiot with No Day Job act is somewhat less of an act than, for example, the Kevin Conroy incarnation. The access to the Batcave is behind a coin-op games cabinet instead of a clock.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man followed the Ultimate Spider-Man comics lead and puts Mary Jane Watson, Harry Osborn, and Gwen Stacy in high school with Peter Parker and made Eddie Brock Peter's childhood friend. Likewise, the show also put Hobie Brown, Glory Grant, and Randy Robertson, characters Peter didn't meet until later, in high school with him.
- This has been a crucial factor in U.S. presidential elections since about 1992. In that year's presidential race, Bill Clinton had the honor of being the first Baby Boomer to run for president, and he brought with him a very youthful and charismatic personality that sharply contrasted his older and more traditional opponents (George H. Bush and Ross Perot). More importantly, he was able to successfully connect with the country's youth by promoting his campaign on MTV (a network neither of his opponents would have ever touched with a 40 foot pole) and focusing on issues that were very relevant to the youth of that era, such as environmentalism. After Clinton won the election by a landslide, it has practically become mandatory for presidential candidates to adopt a Younger and Hipper persona. As the elections of George W. Bush and Barack Obama demonstrate.