Producer Michael Bay caused some controversy among the children of the ‘80s when he revealed details of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot he has in the works. It wasn’t anything major, but he said that instead of being mutants, like what it says in the title, they would instead be aliens, because this is more realistic somehow. People took to online sources to show their outrage at the revelation, mostly using words I can’t print here. To put it mildly, they were upset.
The problem was that the property they were so fond of from childhood was being altered. Perhaps in this case the alteration was a bit silly, considering mutant is right there in the name, but in general they didn’t want the things they remembered so fondly from their childhood getting changed in any way. Bay is likely familiar with the reaction from the moment he took the helm of the Transformers series, but he can sleep soundly on the piles of money that series made.
It’s understandable, because people remember their youth fondly, and they don’t want to admit that there could be something that even needs changing. The series’ they grew up with are perfect, beautiful, and much better than what the kids these days have to deal with. Sure, they were all excuses to sell toys, especially Transformers, but that doesn’t matter, because no matter what happens the memories from back in the day are perfect, and any attempts to change the series’ in question would ruin everything.
So I’m going to have to be cruel for a moment, and say something that many of these people with heavy nostalgia for the good old days don’t want to hear. The stuff you loved so much as a child? You loved it because you had no frame of reference. It was great because at the time, without seeing the entire world of entertainment, it did seem to be a really great series that could do no wrong. Most old cartoons, revisited today, are objectively pretty bad.
Now, my own memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are like most of the people complaining about the alterations to the reboot. Perfect, unsullied, and not tarnished by adult eyes. The cartoon is fantastic because I haven’t watched it since I was a child, so I remember it being great. As a result, wanting to preserve that impression, I will not watch it again. The reason is, with few exceptions – Looney Tunes, some Disney movies – the entertainment I loved as a kid is actually really awful.
Seriously, the original Transformers is unbearable, He-Man is about a crew of extremely stupid people, and the Chipmunks are the most grating gimmick recordings I’ve ever heard. When I was a little kid, they were all brilliant, but I thought lots of stupid stuff was genius. I don’t want to say kids are stupid, but kids are much more easily entertained as adults, and that’s why we should leave that childhood entertainment in the past.
Memories are great, and we should cherish all the things that amused us back when we were small. But, we’ve got to admit, if we revisit them, we aren’t going to see them in the same way. So, when a producer starts mucking around with your memories, remember that memories can be misleading, and it probably doesn’t matter.