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Reliving past glories and failures

It’s always seems that those who are the most nostalgic for a certain era, never actually lived it.  Take the 70’s.  The music was great but this was also the decade of Watergate and designers who thought it made sense to add ten inches of fabric to one’s ankles.  So it’s best left alone.

Despite this, That 70’s Show was a bona fide hit.  And while That 80’s Show tanked, The Goldbergs has celebrated every bi-level haircut, neon fashion, and over-the-top stereotype of that decade for eight seasons.  So the nostalgia-factor does have its place.

Most recently, Tina Fey has tapped into viewers’ love not for a particular decade, but for a particular stage of life.  Girls5eva is a comedy about a one-hit-wonder 90’s/2000’s girl-band that reunites after 20 years with the hope of relaunching their careers.

The series streamed on Peacock at the beginning of May but is hitting cable TV this June.  And like much of Fey’s other comedies, the series has a rather perverse perspective.

First off, Girls5eva now only has four members.  (One died.)  Second, no one asked them to reunite.  Eva.

The irony is that this could actually happen.  After all, everyone loves a reunion.  Plus, the 90’s to 2000’s had a lot of manufactured girl- and boy- bands popping up in minimal dress for a misogynistically-themed hit single, never to be heard from again.

And there’s a reason why a few years ago, the former Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block teamed up for a sold-out tour with just their initials on the ticket stubs.  These guys are no longer young teens or even 20-something heartthrobs.  They’re dads with thinning hair.  And their fans are 40-plus-year-old moms.  So yes, this show could actually happen.

Which is a strange thought to have as I watch four ladies walk away from their musical retirement (Read: mammograms, mortgages, and one failed gay marriage) to put themselves out there again in a time of social media trolls and cyber-bullies.

And then there are the industry changes.  Since the 90’s, female performers have taken more control of their careers.  Plus, with the exception of J-Lo singing on a stripper pole out of a misguided sense of mature-woman empowerment, most female performers don’t need to hit the stage half-naked, relying on the booty-shake.

But music is still very much a visual medium that celebrates youth.  So this show could be incredibly funny or moderately painful in a pre-menopausal way.  After all, the brunt of the storyline is the current choices made by these so-called older, smarter, more mature women.
Fortunately, this view of entertainment history, not to mention the general stupidity exhibited most of us in our 20’s – or those trying to relive them – is perfect fodder for Tina Fey’s irreverent humour.

And Girls5eva basically says:  Remember when you were once smooth-skinned, metabolically-charged and promised the world?  Well, reality bites.  Even 20 years later.  So why not go for it?

And that’s not a bad motto at any age.