Get off my lawn: Geekery is wasted on the young

wkrp cast

Here’s the latest irregular installment of my view from the perspective of a longtime fan. So if you don’t want to hear it, you’re welcome to come back for the next entry. No hard feelings.

Back in my day (and ohmygod yes I did just write that, but mostly for the ironic effect) young fans or geeks or indoor kids or whatever we wanted to call ourselves appreciated classic books, movies and TV.

I mean, what choice did we have? We could slip back into the past with classic Universal monster movies or we could thrill to “Island at the Top of the World.” We could delight in “The Twilight Zone’s” dated pleasures or stay rooted in the present-day of “Manimal.”

I loved the TV and movies of my time, like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” but also loved the classics, like the aforementioned Universal movies featuring Frankenstein or the Wolf Man as well as the films of W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello.

I like to think of myself as living in the present day. I love the online world, from my ability to blog here to Twitter (two accounts). I can enjoy the treasure trove of information and entertainment available now thanks to the Internet that I couldn’t have imagined when I was young.

But …

Really, there’s no excuse for being ignorant of what’s come before.

Two things I’ve read recently bring this to mind.

robocop original poster

With the release of the “Robocop” remake, a writer on io9 “discovered” the original 1987 movie and wrote, in pretty funny terms, about how awesome the movie is. It was pretty amusing and I didn’t really mind it, but I was thinking, “Really? You can watch any movie or TV show you want now, on several devices, and you seem shocked by your initial exposure to a very high-profile satirical science fiction movie from less than 30 years ago?”

Far more egregious was a recent AV Club roundtable about the 1970s series “WKRP in Cincinnati.” The series, about a radio station, was an MTM production and ran for several years. It’s not like nobody remembers it.

But one writer for the AV Club, who almost certainly wasn’t born when the series originally aired, was very dismissive of the show. She said the look and feel of the show and the characters were so dated she couldn’t get into the story.

Again I’m wondering how this person had never seen a bit of, or even heard of, the series before … and how that qualified her to take part in a roundtable discussion of the series.

Yes, I know. It’s a different world now. The young shall inherit the earth and all that.

But can’t they educate themselves on their way to the throne?


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