“I hate the ’80s!”
Little millennial twerp, I thought. I was a grad student, she was a freshman. Thrown together by virtue of shared religion/culture, I balked at this barely legal ’90s babe who scoffed at my decade of choice. Ten years later, she’s the loser now. The ’80s are back and better than ever.
’8os nostalgia, birthed in the fashion world through stretch pants (now termed “leggings”) and blousy tops, is coming of age on television this fall with the premiere of the ’80s-era flashback sitcom The Goldbergs and the return of ’80s icon Michael J. Fox to the small screen in The Michael J. Fox Show.
Rattling reality TV ennui is a task welcomed by ABC, the frontrunner in resurrecting the family-sitcom formula. The marketing campaign for The Goldbergs is as ‘roided as Hulk Hogan on Saturday morning WWF. Along with lacquering social media with a series of ’80s flashbacks and publishing endless ‘80s nostalgia lists on BuzzFeed, ABC mass-mailed every Goldberg in the country (including this one) a faux 5 1/4″ floppy with a letter from “the family.” A USB sticking out from the cardboard classic linked you to the Goldbergs’ TV room online, harkening back to a simpler, pre-cordless phone time when everyone in the family watched television and did virtually everything else …together.
Michael J. Fox’s new self-titled show on NBC brings Family Ties into the 21st century. In the “old school family comedy,” Fox is now the dad who, in this case, isn’t letting his Parkinson’s get him or his family down. While the show is not set in the nostalgic decade, Fox’s return is the crowning moment for the family sitcom, a genre nearly murdered in the ’90s by snark and the rise of friend-based sitcoms.