Why the 80’s Were Awesome

1.)   TV/Saturday morning cartoons –  Transformers, Teen Wolf, GI Joe, The Smurfs…freaking HE-MAN!  Since the advent of the 24 hour ‘Cartoon Network’ and various Disney and Nickelodeon channels, Saturday morning cartoons have gone by the wayside.  It’s a sad thing because kids used to look forward all week to getting up early and watching, what was in essence 30 minute commercials with a big bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal. 

2.)  Music–  This should be a given, 80’s rock was so cheesy and unbelievably over-the-top, but somehow just made sense because of the times.  I remember listening to all the “classics”; Journey, Poison, Def Leppard and White Snake.  Then there was the weirder, “modern” sound for whatever reason called new wave (was there an old wave or just, wave?).  Anyway, these were some fun bands, and even more fun to look at…Flock of Seagulls.  I needn’t say anything else.

3.)  Movies–  There is entirely too many awesomely bad 80’s movies to name.  I wish so badly for those kinds of movies to come back; hell maybe they haven’t changed that much and I’m just nostalgic they way older people are of…I don’t know, phonographs.  Anyway, no one can forget Goonies, E.T., Teen Wolf, and the freaking Lost Boys!  How about Rad? Does anyone remember that little gem, “Send me an angel, right now, right noooooow”, at the BMX Boogie?  That movie single handedly spawned my bike(cycle) gang, the Rad Racers.

4.)  The Colors–  The 70’s were all chill with muted earthy colors like avocado green, dark orange and brown (the colors of our kitchen until freaking 1995), and the 90’s were all depressing and dirty, using lots of black (thanks a lot grunge music).  But the 80’s…ho ho the 80’s were just a huge explosion of bright colors and in your face graphics.  Everything… and I mean EVERYTHING was neon.  When I was 8 I wanted to just splash bright paint all over my bedroom walls while listening to Huey Lewis and the News.  Fortunately, looking back with 20/20, I’m glad my dad said no…

5.)  Parenting–  I shouldn’t have to say much here.  In the 80’s if you screwed up, your parents sure as shit made you aware of it and there were consequences.  Now, everything is a “learning experience”.  There are no spankings, just time-outs.  I think it was the late, great Bernie Mac who said it best, “Time out? How about knock out?!”  It just doesn’t seem like kids have much respect or courtesy anymore.  I’m not going to get into it right now, but it seems like parents are more concerned with being their child’s friend rather than parent.  Anyway, I thank my dad now for knocking me around a bit.

6.)  Playing outside–  I don’t know if things are more dangerous these days, parents are more paranoid or if kids just don’t like the sun and would rather play video games; but I remember a time where I couldn’t wait to get outside.  From the time I was able to ride a bike, until about 13 (discovery of girls), my friends and I would be on our bikes riding around the neighborhood like a gang or playing in someone’s back yard making up totally random games with sticks.  We had neighborhood “wars” with other kids and we played nighttime hide-and-go-seek.  It was awesome.  Kids now (including my own) would rather watch cartoons 24/7 and play Hannah Montana Wii.  Lame.

7.)  Creativity–  Anybody remember telling your mom that you were bored?  Do you remember her response, “Use your imagination; I can’t entertain you all day!”  So like the previous item on the list, that’s exactly what we did.  I remember playing the lava/shark infested water/snakes on the ground/whatever you decided game where you couldn’t touch the (shag) carpet or you would immediately die.  So I would jump from couch, to sofa, to chair, to coffee table and back around.  Not the safest game but it entertained me.  Even if I was with friends, we still made up stupid games to play.  Basically, ‘playing’ didn’t involve the words video or internet/computer. 

8.)  No internet/Cell Phones– I don’t really know why I’m nostalgic about this; it was actually kind of pain in the ass.  At the same time though, looking back it was kind of nice not seeing people typing away or talking on cell phones everywhere you went.  I truly believe our decline in manners as a society is directly related to cell phone use.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been cut off by someone on the freeway because they had their cell phone up to their ear and didn’t look to see if the lane was clear.  Plus, it was so much easier to get away with everything when cell phones weren’t around…no video phones to capture every stupid and/or embarrassing mistake you made, and parents didn’t have instant access to you exact whereabouts. 

9.)  Fashion–  I hit on this subject a little earlier in the list with the colors of the 80’s.  It truly seems fashion was decided by people who were 92% blind; the shapes, patterns and neon colors were the only thing they could see.  Big teased hair, strange shaped ‘Back to the Future’ sun glasses, swatch watches and spandex were staples in this era; ridiculously over the top and sign of the prosperous Reagan years.

10.)  The Law–  It seems like this decade has a ridiculous law for everything except frivolous lawsuits.  Every time I turn around they’re making it illegal to do something that shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place (saggy pants).  It seems like everybody wants to please everybody all of the time.  I remember when it was ok for my mom to smoke in the car with the windows rolled up, while drinking ‘Old Milwaukee’s Best’.  I’m not saying it was a great idea having her infant in the car while she did it, but at least it was her choice.  There are a million different examples I can give but all it boils down to, is that we’ve become such a litigious and over concerned society, that we have to make laws to protect us not only from the idiots around us, but from ourselves.  Before you know it, we’re going to have to have licenses just to own a steak knife.

8 Responses to “Why the 80’s Were Awesome”
  1. BrainRants says:

    I somehow missed this one, my friend. Great post. I recall the 80’s well, though I admit to enjoying some New Wave myself. I never did ‘get’ neon either, but thought girls wearing underwear out there like Madonna was pretty ok.

  2. Right on, GraysonJack! Though I did (and still do) love me some grunge music, the entertainment of the 80s was outstanding. “The Breakfast Club” remains, to this day, one of the three best flicks EVER made, in my book. And the playing outside thing- what is wrong with kids these days? My mom had to drag us inside when it got dark to take a bath and get ready for bed. And we were back out there immediately after breakfast. Now everyone has AC and kids freak out if they break a sweat. Damn, I miss the 80s.
    Great post!

    • graysonjack says:

      Breakfast Club is a classic; any Hughes movie is for that matter. Kids these days are definitely ridiculous. Like you said, if they break a sweat they freak out. I bang my head against the wall every time my daughter goes outside to play because, and I’m not even joking, she comes back inside within two minutes saying it’s too hot outside. AAAHHHH!!! She’s 7! When I was 7 I was riding my bike around the neighborhood with friends in a 100 degree weather…no “hydration” necessary! I better stop before I go into full rant mode. Thanks for the great comment!

  3. “Transformers, Teen Wolf, GI Joe, The Smurfs…freaking HE-MAN! Since the advent of the 24 hour ‘Cartoon Network’ and various Disney and Nickelodeon channels, Saturday morning cartoons have gone by the wayside. ”

    Today’s kids don’t even know He-man! And I lapped up those cartoons. I even had action figures of He-man, Trapjaw, Skeletor etc. and (hold your breath), my very own Castle Grayskull!!

  4. Nick says:

    “…where you couldn’t touch the (shag) carpet or you would immediately die.” Hahaha YES. Granted I only lived through two years of the 80’s, but there is *some* 90’s overlap, with the lava/shark game being a fantastic example.

    • graysonjack says:

      I agree, a lot of the 80’s overlapped into the first few years of the 90’s. As for imagination; if kids didn’t have to have constant vivid violence, explosions and graphics in order to keep them entertained for longer than 30 seconds, I truly believe fantastic games such as not touching the carpet, would still be around. I’m ADD as hell but at least I’m ADD with imagination. I’m glad to know there’s a few of us out there. Thanks for the comment!

  5. chrisdevoss says:

    As an 80’s kid myself, I am now missing jackets with pushed up sleeves, MTV when it played videos, and making fun of valley girls. I am proud to say I still have my 80’s haircut.

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