Students Reach Out to the Past with Nostalgic TV Shows, Movies



As March draws to a close, it’s been a year since the first phase of quarantine that essentially put everyone’s lives on hold. Since then, alfresco dining, masks and virtual meetings have become the new normal. However, many students find pockets of happiness in the past.

“A common piece of advice when studying is to associate a fact or piece of material with a physical object or saying. Another is to chew gum while studying and chewing the same flavor during the test, ”said Colin Leonelli, second year biology student. “Just as these physical or sensory objects can be related to fact or material, things that were a big part of our childhood can take us back to that time in our life. A time that for most people was much happier and easier than life right now. “

One of the primary ways that students escape the present is by watching popular elementary school movies and TV shows. Zeynep Gul, sophomore architecture student, regularly returns to Disney favorites like “The Princess and the Frog” and “Wizards of Waverly Place”.

“They make me feel comfortable,” Gul said. “The introductory Disney sound gives me chills sometimes, and I feel a pure joy remembering how exciting it was to watch these movies for the first time.”

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video made it easy for students to enjoy shows from their childhoods. Apparently, every time a new 2010s show is added to a streaming service, social media is abuzz for the next week over people’s enthusiasm to rewatch their favorite show.

The series of Nickelodeon shows added to Netflix began in November with “Victorious” and continued with “iCarly” in February. This month, “Big Time Rush” was added.

“It’s funny to watch the episodes again while including a lot of jokes that came through my head as a kid,” Leonelli said. “It also relaxes unconsciously [me] and bring me happiness.

On TikTok, the stars of various popular 2000s shows have been active in creating content related to the show, delighting fans of all ages.

“I saw the cast of ‘High School Musical’ doing the choreography of ‘We are all in this ensemble’ and it made me smile,” said Amanda Laurent, sophomore behavioral neuroscience student. “Also, I recently saw an Arwin TikTok of ‘[The] Sequel to Zack and Cody’s Life ‘wearing his costume and all being awkward. It’s pretty healthy.

Stars like Avan Jogia of “Victorious” and Kaycee Stroh of “High School Musical” have created content related to their most popular projects while posting unrelated regular content.

“I was really surprised because these are the characters we grew up with, and seeing them as their own character on social media was surprisingly informative,” Gul said.

Whether it’s a simple 60-second TikTok or multiple seasons of a show, those joyful moments that spring from nostalgia are a feeling many crave more than ever. A recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that longing can be triggered by feelings of loneliness and sadness, but at the same time, it can increase optimism.

“During the pandemic, we gained more free time as well as the stress and anxiety of not knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Gul said. “In this sense, children’s entertainment is a reliable source of support for those who choose to escape reality. ”

Watching such light shows like “Spongebob” and “iCarly” can instill feelings of hope and a sense of comfort for stressed college-age students, not only because of the carefree nature of the shows, but also because of the nostalgic feeling. that accompanies them, according to Gul.

Although many students cite nostalgia for the pandemic as the reason for their recent consumption of children’s media, the recency of the situation means there is no proven link between the two. Instead, people tend to reflect on the media they enjoyed in their past, said Kristopher Cannon, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies.

“There is a way that the memories of [bonding over media] will be something that could be the signal for a change, ”Cannon said, contextualizing the phenomenon of nostalgia present in today’s media industry. “As more and more content is produced, in the sense that there is no limit to the amount of programming or original content created, it makes it all the more difficult for people to experience this genre. of collective engagement with a text which then generates a culture and collective memory of which one can be nostalgic.

The next time you need a helping hand or you’re having a rough day, try pleasing your inner child and let the laughing tracks of childhood sitcoms ease your mind.

“Growing up and discovering new things is great,” said Leonelli. “But it’s always nice to find the carefree state of mind of a child.”


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