In the final issue of S+E, A&E Senior Staff Writer Sarah Delima and A&E Editor Elias Roman look back on the childhood favorite shows, books, games, and movies that have continued to comfort them throughout their college years.
Welcome to the fourth, and final, installment of S+E Media Club! Yes, you read that right. This will be the last time we publish this column in The UCSD Guardian, as Elias (the E half of the duo) will be graduating in only a couple of weeks. It’s bittersweet, but all good things must come to an end. So, as one chapter closes and the next one opens, we’ll be looking back on some of the things from our childhoods that have helped make this transition into full adulthood just a little easier.
The Naked Brothers Band
You might recognize Nat and Alex Wolff from their numerous indie film appearances, but I first came to know them through a small indie group you’ve probably never heard of called “The Naked Brothers Band.” While I haven’t actually watched the Nickelodeon show in years, I still find myself looking up their old music videos, reminiscing on the days when my second-grade group of friends and I were convinced we’d be rockstars, despite none of us knowing how to play any instruments. The Naked Brothers Band was never going to win a Grammy (a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award on the other hand…), but sometimes all you need to get through the drudge of early adult life is a song about making a banana smoothie.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Equal parts charming and thrill inducing, Trenton Lee Stewart’s “The Mysterious Benedict Society” is the pinnacle of middle grade literature. A quartet of gifted children — Reynie, Sticky, Constance, and Kate — are enlisted to help the titular Mr. Benedict subvert the plans of his nefarious twin brother Mr. Curtain. The crisis they face is not to be underestimated; using the resources of his evil learning institute, Mr. Curtain broadcasts subliminal messages to the public and exercises a form of mind control. Although it was initially created for an audience of children, Stewarts’ series echoes the concerns of contemporary adults: How does one find solace in a society destined for destruction? What happens when the world is ending, yet no one seems to believe it? “The Mysterious Benedict Society” meets all of our apocalyptic fears with unbridled hope. In the face of insurmountable odds, Reynie, Sticky, Constance, and Kate discover the unequivocal power of courage, wit, and friendship.
Cartoon Network City Era Bumpers
Streaming services have brought a lot of great things to the table — see convenience, fewer ads, etc. — but they’ve also brought a lot of bad things. Most notably, for me at least, watching most of my content on streaming services means no more bumpers. Yes, they were essentially highly-stylized commercials, but something about watching my favorite cartoon characters seemingly coexist with one another in the same universe captivated my seven-year-old imagination. Don’t get the wrong idea, this wasn’t an MCU-type affair; rather, it was characters like Ed, Edd, and Eddy doing the most mundane of tasks, like going to the corner store or crossing the street. But that’s precisely what made them so appealing; there were no high stakes, just the amusement, and frustrations, of everyday life.
What does meaningful engagement with the world look like? According to author Margaret Wise Brown and illustrator Clement Hurd, meaning is derived from the ordinary. There is no plot in Qualley and Hurd’s “Goodnight Moon;” no princesses, dragons, or castles litter the book’s scant pages. Rather, a single sleepy bunny is faced with the daunting task of getting to bed. The world of “Goodnight Moon” is one of simplistic bliss: bunnies become sleepy, moons disappear after nighttime, and “goodnights” are issued in earnest. Qualley renders the ordinary as worthy of wonder, and by doing so, encourages us to cultivate our childlike intuition and imbue our daily interactions with sincerity and affection. The picture book offers a simple solution to combat the stressors of teenage milieu and existentialism: take pleasure in the ordinary. Despite countless political and social crises we declare, “Goodnight room / Goodnight moon / Goodnight cow jumping over the moon.”
Images courtesy of Medium, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Amazon.