Admit it. Every once in awhile, you find yourself changing to a TV show that you used to watch all the time as a kid, feeling pretty old when you see that copyright from twenty years ago. Whether you’re fondly recalling a show through rose-tinted glasses or suddenly realizing how awful something is that you used to enjoy, nothing beats taking a walk down memory lane. Who knows? There might still be a few programs running from your hayday that have withstood the test of time through changes such as new writers or camera technology. Even with these “improvements” made over the years, by and large, you know that they’ll never compare to what you remember.
So let’s assume that the TV shows from your past have changed drastically or disappeared completely, forever ruining your childhood. How will you ever enjoy those old movies and shows like you used to? Well, that’s where Channel Awesome enters the picture. This online media production company founded by Mike Michaud and run by a group of producers hosts a website called ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com. The site is filled with a diverse variety of web series that span many topics, utilizing perspectives that can come across as deep and analytical, or just plain funny. One video series in particular called “Nostalgia Critic” focuses on movies and TV shows from the 1980’s and 1990’s. Even though many of the stars of Channel Awesome’s web shows, such as Doug Walker of Nostalgia Critic, are considerably famous and can attract quite a crowd at conventions, there are still plenty of people who have never even heard of any of their shows. Since it would take far too much time to explain each video series on the That Guy With The Glasses site and what makes each of them worth watching, I’m just going to tell you about my personal favorites to watch for whenever I’m feeling nostalgic.
The Nostalgia Critic:
As previously mentioned, the biggest star of the channel Doug Walker (dubbed ‘The Nostalgia Critic’) started out making Youtube videos, doing much of what he currently still does – reviewing movies from the end of the 20th century and generally tearing them apart, and not undeservedly. Let’s face it: when you look back on something you loved and realize it’s too stupid to be taken seriously anymore, the best way to cope with this epiphany is to sit around the TV with some friends and laugh about how terrible it is scene by scene. What’s so great about The Nostalgia Critic is that he makes things a bit easier for lazy people such as myself by eliminating the need to even think of your own jokes!
Back in the 1990’s, it was impossible to escape the hype around Michael Jordan; basketball fan or not. It was kind of a big deal when Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes for the 1996 Space Jam release. Now sure, by today’s standards, this crossover is easily labeled as a cheap marketing gimmick, but perhaps you’re still tempted to go back and check if the movie has any redeeming qualities. Still, why waste two hours of your life on a movie that’ll probably just disappoint you in the end? Not sure what to do? Just sit back and let the Critic handle it for you as he dissects the abomination for your viewing pleasure in a matter of minutes.
The Nostalgia Chick:
As her title would imply, The Nostalgia Chick – Lindsay Ellis – started out as the female counterpart to The Nostalgia Critic. She initially emulated his style, except she would examine movies that might be considered more female-oriented, such as animated Disney Princess films. However, she has since developed her own unique approach of analyzing movies from a feminist standpoint. In some aspects, I enjoy watching her more than The Critic for her more serious and thoughtful approach, but that isn’t to say she doesn’t have her funny moments! Her co-review with The Critic of FernGully (1992) spawned the big lipped alligator moment meme, and she often integrates some funny subplots into her videos, like when she declared an end to feminism after watching the Charlie’s Angels movie (2000).
Todd In The Shadows:
While not nostalgic per se, the (potentially Chinese) masked (potential) man known simply as Todd (who is also the real life boyfriend of Lindsay Ellis) reviews songs by Pop artists, whose musical style often comes across as dated and formulaic. You might have enjoyed listening to rappers T-Pain and Chamillionaire during the peak of their fame back in the early 2000’s, but if you were to play one of their hits on the radio today they’d sound more than a bit out of place up alongside Fun, Adelle, and the other popular artists currently dominating the charts.
Despite actually liking many of the songs that he tears apart, I still can’t help but laugh at Todd’s utter derision for Chris Brown, or how much of a douche he thinks Adam Levine is (two points I can hardly argue with). But I also enjoy how he analyzes the lyrics of the songs he reviews. Typically when it comes to pop songs, half of the time, I’m not even paying attention to the lyrics because I’m too busy concentrating on driving. So as long as it’s catchy, I tend to consider it an okay song. Todd makes it undeniably clear how meaningless some pop songs actually are. I’m not even talking about the obvious choices, like Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. After his review of Drive By by Train, I just can’t ever listen to that song again without laughing at that ridiculous chorus and its “Hefty bag” of awfulness.
Team Four Star:
The fact that their name alludes to the four-star Dragonball should be enough to tell you what this group is nostalgic about: anime. They are most known for doing abridged parodies of several popular anime series, but by far the most well-known is “Dragonball Z Abridged”, a web series that has millions of views per episode on Youtube. Myself and many others who were introduced to anime through DBZ and grew up watching it can now attest to how ridiculously drawn out the show can be in retrospect. As a child, sitting through over 250 episodes of DBZ seemed completely worth it for moments like Vegeta finally becoming a Super Saiyan, or watching the antagonist capable of destroying entire planets finally get defeated … only to be replaced by a new threat ten episodes later.
DBZ Abridged takes a much more direct and humorous approach to getting through the storyline. It openly pokes fun at the stupidity of characters who stand unmoving before an easily dodgeable attack, or Frieza’s declaration that planet Namek will explode in five minutes and how he continues to say this several twenty minute episodes later.
They are over thirty episodes into the series now, and they have even begun to produce merchandise based on their interpretations of the characters. If you grew up with DBZ or have always wanted to watch it but have been turned off by it’s episode length, then just try just watching one episode of the abridged series and I think you’ll be hooked!
There are so many other shows on the channel covering such a variety of topics that you can only discover them all by looking on the site yourself. That Guy With The Glasses is proving that entertainment doesn’t have to be restricted to a television. These are no amateur Youtube video makers. The work they put into each video has led to them garnering over 14 million page views per month in 2009 and they’ve only gotten bigger since then. With so many web series to choose from, why watch the same boring reality shows on TV every day? ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com is only a click away.