Podculture: Students and faculty reflect on nostalgic films, scores and books

Clay Lawhead, Reporter

CLAY LAWHEAD: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Clay Lawhead, and this is Podculture, a podcast covering arts and entertainment on and around Northwestern’s campus. This week, we decided to go all sentimental and talk about nostalgia. With the releases of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and “The Mandalorian,” nostalgia is making a comeback and grasping the hearts of viewers everywhere. What kinds of things make us long for the past, and why do we continue to think about them today? Communications freshman Nicholas Kinney claims that Disney and “Star Wars” are two huge contenders.

NICHOLAS KINNEY: A lot of it was the early Pixar movies. “The Incredibles” is a huge one. Golden age of Disney like “Aladdin” and “Lion King.” Even the “Star Wars” prequels, I grew up on those, too. “Episode I – The Phantom Menace” was my favorite “Star Wars” movie as a kid which, as ashamed as I am to admit that now, it’s true. So I still have kind of a soft spot for those movies, which is maybe why I enjoy so much of the newer content because it’s relying so much on that nostalgia, so it works on me.

CLAY LAWHEAD: It’s the music from these movies that brings Nicholas back.

NICHOLAS KINNEY: John Williams’ score is just so of its time and it brings me right back to those original movies, so hearing his music in the newer movies is a huge nostalgic aspect.

CLAY LAWHEAD: When Weinberg senior Allison Zanolli thinks of pop culture nostalgia, she immediately thinks of “Harry Potter.” 

ALLISON ZANOLLI: I remember waiting for the books to come out and reading them. My family has two copies of the seventh book because my sister and I were arguing over who got to read it first. So like, I remember waiting for it all to come out and now when I read it, the movies and the books are so much of my childhood that it’s automatic nostalgia.

CLAY LAWHEAD: Now that she is a senior in college, it’s a different kind of read for her.

ALLISON ZANOLLI: I think I started reading it when I was five, and that’s a very different experience than reading it now as a 21-year-old when I go home for winter break. And now when I read it, it’s like “Oh my god, now I have free time to read a 500-page book? Oh my god, that’s amazing!” But when I was reading it when I was five or six, it was a grand adventure because it was the first time. Now it’s like comfort. It’s a comfort read.

CLAY LAWHEAD: For Linda Gates, head of voice in the Department of Theatre here at Northwestern, it was radio dramas that she heard as a kid that bring her nostalgia today.

LINDA GATES: You’d come home after school and you could listen to programs on the radio like “The Lone Ranger” or different detectives or adventure, and some of them were really quite good. They had, of course, professional actors who used to be radio actors and voice actors. I would like to turn on the radio just to be able to listen to a drama.

CLAY LAWHEAD: Despite all the warm, fuzzy feelings nostalgia can bring, there is danger that comes along with it.

LINDA GATES: An English novelist says, “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” And I think you can remember your life as a child, and you keep thinking that everything today is not as good as it was then. You either forget or blot out the things you don’t want to remember, and you’re making decisions based on faulty memory. You look back and you think, “Oh, things were better then.” Well, it’s different, life is different, and there are good things and bad things.

CLAY LAWHEAD: Nostalgia is bittersweet. It can be a moment of relaxation, to reflect on the happy moments of your childhood. It can also be scary. It can remind you that you and everyone around you are growing. But everyone has their own nostalgia, and it is wonderful to dive into the depths of the media that defined our childhoods. Thanks for listening, tune in next week for another episode of Podculture. 

CLAY LAWHEAD: This episode was reported and produced by Clay Lawhead. It was edited by Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava. The Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Northwestern is Troy Closson.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @omqclaydoh

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