"Push it to the limit
Walk along the razor's edge
But don't look down just keep your head
Or you'll be finished
Open up the limit
Past the point of no return
You've reached the top but still you gotta learn
How to keep it"
— "Push It To The Limit" aka the most 80's song ever
"It was acceptable in the 80s
It was acceptable at the time"
— Calvin Harris, Acceptable in the 80s
"The times they are a-telling,
And the changing isn't free
You've read it in the tea leaves
And the tracks are on TV
Beware the savage jaw
—David Bowie, "1984"
Way before Nirvana there was
U2, and Blondie, and music still on MTV
Her two kids in high school, they tell her that she's uncool
'Cause she's still preoccupied
—SR-71, "1985" note
"It was nineteen eighty-somethin'
In the world that I grew up in
Skating rinks and black Trans-Ams
Big hair and parachute pants
Lookin' back now I can see me
Oh man, did I look cheesy
But I wouldn't trade those days for nothin'
It was nineteen eighty-somethin'"
— Mark Willis, "Nineteen-Something"
"The eighties almost killed me
Let's not recall them quite so fondly"
— The Hold Steady, "Positive Jam"
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Doctor: Getting a bit too close to the 1980s.
Donna: (flying the TARDIS) What am I gonna do, put a dent in 'em?
Doctor: Well, someone did.
— Doctor Who, "The Sontaran Stratagem"
"Welcome to the Cafe 80s, where it's always morning in America, even in the afternoo-noo-noon."
"Oh, you fucking square. It's only a bit of snow. It's nineteen-eighty-fucking-four, dahling."
—Reni Wassulmaier, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Doc: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?
Marty: Ronald Reagan.
"You ignorant piece of shock! You've stranded us in the 1980s! Haven't you ever read a history book? This is the worst decade of the millennium!"
— Mrs Yorkes, Runaways
Zapp Brannigan: Kif, set course for the nearest XM repair facility. Meanwhile, we shall sing top hits from the Eighties.
Kif: Which Eighties, sir?
Brannigan: For me, there are only one Eighties. (Sings Hungry Like The Wolf while Kif groans).
— Futurama, "Into the Wild Green Yonder"
Lou: It's the fucking 80's guys. Let's do what we want to do. Free Love!
Jacob: That was the sixties, dipshit.
Adam: We had, like, Reagan and AIDS. Get the fuck outta here, ok?
"It was a back in a disgusting period known as the early 80s. It was a time when women would stand topless, high on coke, on the edge of hotel balconies while the curtains were billowing around them... I think there was actually more wind then."
— Lois Griffin, Family Guy, "And I'm Joyce Kinney"
"It's the Eight-ies! Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan!"
"Get back to the decade where everyone was rich, and there was no problem too big to ignore!"
"The '80s were about acquiring — acquiring wealth, power, prestige."
—Political strategist Lee Atwater
"Was there ever a more garish decade than the eighties? Neon clothing, big hair, spandex, blazers with shoulder pads for men? A jacket that anyone could buy for 25 bucks called 'Members Only.' The eighties were so ugly, even beautiful people looked ridiculous! Everybody looked awful! Look at ME in the 1980s! Honestly, I tried to find a good picture from then. It doesn’t exist!"
— Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher
"These are the legacies of the 1980s. An economic ideology that fostered profits above all else created a world in which power justifies its own use and the maxim that history is written by the victors becomes a moral principle instead of a cynical observation."
— Phil Sandifer, "Mary Whitehouse"
“There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation.”
—Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's
Quotes on works
"The only joy about that is that I was on the inside looking out and the rest of you had to put up with it. It was the Eighties, glam rock."
"Dallas hit a chord back in the late Seventies and Eighties because it was the age of greed: here you have this unapologetic character who is mean and nasty and ruthless and does it all with an evil grin. I think people related to JR back then because we all have someone we know exactly like him. Everyone in the world knows a J.R."
— Larry Hagman
"A man could die from so much eighties!"
— Bennett The Sage
"And here's a couple of things that nobody wanted to think about again: the eighties and your teenage years."
— The Nostalgia Chick on Teen Witch
"Everyone walked out of Road House into the sunlight feeling stunned, stupid, a little gay for Patrick Swayze, and wondering idly why they ever thought Duran Duran was a good band. In one day, the 80s were over. Women's hairdos started to make sense once again. Spandex was abolished. The New Kids and Wham! were purged from our cultural memory."
"Everyone who was cool in the '70s ended up selling out in the '80s, but no one did it better than David Bowie — dude went all the way... as soon as the contract with [his manager] was over and Bowie didn't have to give up half his money anymore, he went back to the studio and did the pop-est album imaginable, Let's Dance. It sold 10 million copies and made him a multimillionaire. I like to imagine that as soon as the clock struck midnight on Sept. 30, 1982, Bowie washed the lipstick from his face, took off his dress to reveal a perfectly ironed suit and tie underneath, and said, 'Gentlemen, let's business.'"
"Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters, Mac Tonight, Snorks, and the cartoon mechanics from a-ha’s Take On Me video need to call up Erin Brockovitch and prep a class action lawsuit against Lady Gaga, because it’s only a matter of time before this stunt queen runs out of real people to steal from and starts ripping off non-reals. We’re closer than you think to a music video where she runs through a fucking animated newspaper comic strip in circle glasses and a giant moon-mask with a tube coming out of her head. Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the 80s?!?"
—D-Listed on Lady Gaga
"Biff! Pow! Comics aren’t just for kids! They’re not even comics anymore, they’re Graphic Novels so put it in the suck it bucket, Adam West!"
—Chris Sims, "Here's the Fundamental Problem with DC Comics"
"Without a doubt the most 1980s sequence ever committed to film – if you want to see where everything went wrong in that era just stick these titles on. The fashion, the cars, the hair, the awful gadgets, the way everybody tried to look hip, the editing, the horrendous zooms…and the godawful music. Poor Lis Sladen is made to look as though she is blissed out on wine wandering around the country in her metro, occasionally getting out to jog along the country roads and pull down a paper and stare into the camera as though she really is sizzled. It’s agonisingly awful and very, very funny. I always stick it on when I am in a bad mood, but as a title sequence to introduce a gritty new series about an investigative journalist it fails on every level."
"For every person who sings the praises of The Next Generation for picking up the long-abandoned Trek baton and running like crazy with it, there'll be another scoffing at the pure '80s wackiness that placed a therapist on the bridge next to the captain, and had an adolescent boy piloting the ship."
"Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek was an incredibly optimistic and enthusiastic vision of the future, broadcast in the late sixties. It went off the air only shortly before the moon landing, and embodied an American fascination with the potential of outer space. It was, in many respects, the last gasp of the idealism of the Kennedy era, with Kennedy’s Camelot extrapolated into the distant future. Kennedy’s 'New Frontier' became Roddenberry’s 'Final Frontier.'
The last of that enthusiasm slipped away while the show was off the air, caught up in scandals like Watergate — creating a fear and darkness at the heart of American culture. In fact, the final big screen adventure featuring the cast of the original Star Trek featured the crew thwarting a conspiracy by high-ranking officials (and some foreign agents) to assassinate the President."
"Where the scenes with the Doctor are clumsily scripted, Lytton's pragmatic sense of realism is well portrayed; the sequences between Lytton, Kiston and Davros almost make up for the flaws in the rest of the story. Where Stien is poorly characterised, Lytton's motivations are clear throughout. [Eric] Saward's interests visibly lie, not with the Doctor's liberalism or Stien's divided loyalties, but with Lytton's amoral pragmatism... Lytton is also strongly in keeping with the ethos of the 1980s... the theme of amoral, selfish, profit-driven individuals exemplified by such 1980s classics as American Psycho, Wall Street and Working Girl. Even if the character is, in fact, a Dalek duplicate, the metaphor still reads, as Lytton's betrayal can therefore be seen as a stab in the back from a corporate insider. Lytton is thus very much a character for his time."
— Alan Stevens, "An Analysis of "Resurrection of the Daleks"
"The hunt for money extends in this era; instead of looking for gold or for oil under the surface they have to find the people with the money to spend and convince them to part with it. This ruthlessness of the salesmen could be translated to the everyday world, in the struggle for better jobs in order to sustain the materialism of the time. This was the aspect that Mamet emphasised; he did this through the use of dialogue. There is an expletive in almost every sentence of Glengarry Glen Ross. They’re either used casually or as abuse of another character. Characters do not care for one and other, they insult each other; they compete against each other, not work together...by the end of the play, everyone has lost."