I learned in a recent story from NBC’s today show that the characters on the Sex and the City relaunch “And Just Like That… “ are the same age that the main cast of The Golden Girls was during season one of their respective series.
To say I found this shocking would be a colossal understatement. As of this writing, I am 47 years old. To think that either Sex and the city or the Golden Girls is speaking to people of my age is…unnerving to say the least.
On a similar note, it was announced a while back that Michael Keaton would be reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming “flash“ movie. It is assumed that this movie is an opportunity to bring Keaton‘s Batman into the greater DCEU as the Batman of a “alternate reality “ – similar to how Spider-Man: No Way Home brought Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield into the MCU.
However there has been speculation that Keaton‘s inclusion will mean that he will be returning as the “prime“ Batman in the DCEU; though thus far, he has only been confirmed to be returning in the HBO Max “Batgirl” film. IF this is to be the case, I think this is a mistake. The actor hasn’t played Batman on screen in almost 30 years Michael Keaton is 70 years old.
Let me put it another way for my older readers: this would be even more drastic than Adam West (the 60s TV Batman) reprising his most famous role for the 1989 Batman movie. In fact, West was only 61 in 1989. Keaton, as I mentioned, is 70.
Here in America, the baby boomers, the post-World War II generation, all of whom are well past retirement age, still seem to be hanging onto power. The oldest members of generation X are now in their fifties. Joe Biden, President of the United States, is the oldest president the Country has ever had. The previous record holder was his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump.
These examples fly face first into our perpetual youth movement. In a society where younger = better = smarter = prettier = stronger = faster, we seem to be in the middle of an “elderly movement“.
I think one reason for this elderly movement is familiarity. Hollywood, and I think people in general, cling to things that we remembe;, things we are familiar with. And for some of us, some of those things are sacred. The TV and film industries, quite frankly, are afraid to take chances and try anything new. They would rather call back on comfortable, familiar, sure-fire money-making properties. This is why we’ve seen re-launches of Sex and the City, Law and Order, ghostbusters, and to a lesser extent, Star Wars.
Another reason for this nostalgia kick is that our attitudes about age, and aging are changing. With continuing advances in medical technology, human life expectancy continues to rise. People are living longer lives; and therefore 50, 60 – or even 70 – isn’t seen quite as “over the hill” as it once was.
And therein lies the success of both “The Golden Girls” and “Sex and the City”. During the Golden Girls run, what made those characters so funny is the fact that in their 50s, they were considered “old ladies“ by main stream America; and yet they spoke, acted and were as witty as women much younger than their characters In a similar vein, what made “Sex and the city” such a fresh television series is that is showed the world that women say the same things and feel the same feelings about sex and relationships that men do. Granted, this was hardly surprising to “the fairer sex”; but to male-dominated world, this was ground-breaking.
Are the television and movie characters of my generation so iconic, so sacred -if you will – that we need to keep returning to them? I think that’s partially true. Some of these characters are interesting enough that we want to see “when they are now”. Some of them do have more stories to tell.
I think a cynical and more realistic explanation is the aforementioned familiarity of beloved characters. Hollywood executives are sons are for take chances on anything new that they would rather return to the proverbial well – even if their return is projected is less than half of what is was a generation ago – just because they know it is guaranteed money. Of course it doesn’t help that my generation is those writers and ascending to the executive positions that make these big decisions in what gets made.
One thing is for certain: the longer we live, the more our attitudes about aging will change. Just as our medicine pushes the envelope on human life expectancy , we will continue to move the proverbial goalposts on our perceptions of age.
Can we be too far from say “80 is the new 60”?