Sunday, 2 January 2011

The 80s and Killer Cereals

Sometimes I miss the 80s so much it hurts. Commercialism and consumerism were ridiculous back then. Anything and everything that could be made was made, and people were buying, like whoah.

Everything about the 80s gleamed of fantasy, hopes, dreams, the belief that you could be whatever you wanted to be, no matter what the odds, and that all you had to do was reach for the stars, stand out from the crowd, and be yourself. I can't think of a better time to be a child. I take comfort today in knowing that, no matter how different we are, no matter how scattered our backgrounds and upbringing, everyone in my age group has this sort of collective memory and universal understanding of the culture of the 80s-born child. We all share a memory bank filled with a wealth of iconic figures, sayings, and overall spirit that embodied the era that put the "art" in "artificial flavoring."
Admit it, even now, as you're sitting there, reading this from your iPad, in your eco-friendly, fair trade cotton shirt and jeans, there's a little twinge of sentimentality for those Reaganomical years, where ethics and nutrition took a back seat to the almighty dollar, and the main question on every retailer's mind was, "How can we make this glow in the dark?"
Speaking of glow in the dark, how can we forget the explosive franchises that developed from some of our favorite 80s movies and video games. I still remember watching the "Ghostbusters" cartoon series on Saturday morning, whilst crunching gleefully on Ghostbusters cereal, with its fruity oat bits and marshmallow "Slimer" ghosts--and, remember the jingle for that one? In cast you don't:

(sung to the original "Ghostbusters" theme tune)

There's a new cereal in the neighborhood
with O's and ghosts
(Tastes real good... Ghostbusters!)
Marshmallow ghosts... fruit flavored O's
Ghostbusters taste great with milk and juice and toast
(a nutritious breakfast with the ghost... Ghostbusters!)
What you gonna crunch? (Ghostbusters!)

Wow--just thinking about what was transformed into cereal in an era of such extreme glut makes me feel an odd mixture of delight and disgust that is non-transferable to any other era. I mean, think about the other ones that we saw broadcast during our Saturday morning toon time (a ritual that is now, I think, forever lost among modern day kids, who are more likely to be surfing the web before their parents wake up on Sat mornings than sitting in front of the flat screen with a bowl of breakfast cereal): Smurfberry Crunch (and don't forget Smurf MAGIC Berries), Nintendo Cereal, Pac Man Cereal (Christian Bale debuted his career on the commercial), Superman Cereal (he teamed up with the Cap'n), Bozo The Clown Cereal, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal, C-3PO Cereal (amazing commercial btw), Urkel-O's (the most annoying cereal ever created?), E.T. Cereal (chocolate & peanut butter, but hey, it's all part of a balanced breakfast, moms), Nerds Cereal (a sugary candy turned cereal--sounds REAL nutritious, moms & dads), Donkey Kong Cereal, Batman Cereal, Dino Pebbles Cereal, Spiderman Cereal, Cabbage Patch Kids Cereal, Rainbow Brite Cereal, Bill & Ted's Excellent Cereal, Strawberry Shortcake Cereal, Hot Wheels Cereal, G.I. Joe Cereal, Gremlins Cereal (but they didn't multiply in milk--bummer), Morning Funnies Cereal, Barbie Cereal, Swedish Chef Cereal (Croonchy Stars --yes, even HE had a cereal in the 80s) and, oh yes, Mr. T Cereal:

Sure, in the end it's all a bunch of corn syrup and dreams that get soggy in milk. Name one cereal out of that bunch that's still alive and kickin. Now, we have everything at our fingertips that we could possibly want, except those. I mean, sure maybe you can buy a box of old, stale cereal on Ebay, but you can't put a price on the memories that we all entertain, enjoy and share.

It's 2011 and I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. So sue me. Lucky Charms anyone?

1 comment:

Nathalie WLA said...

Growing up in France I remember NONE of these psychedelic cereals: breakfast was bread (or hand-made crepes: yay Brittany!) with butter and homemade wild blackberry jam! YUMM! Looove the 80's music though: simple and uplifting. :-)