Generation X

868_the-1980s(2)The characters in this play are all most likely members of Generation X- the generation that grew up with The Simpsons. Generation X is often considered the neglected, forgotten middle child, stuck between the Boomers and Millennial. With 80 million people in the Boomers and Millennial generations each, Gen X falls in the crack with only half as many members. Mr. Burns fascinatingly puts Gen X at the forefront, making them the creators of a new world and their nostalgia more significant than ever. In fact, members of Gen X tend to reject nostalgia: “I would say we were marked by two traits: our dislike of nostalgia and our irritation whenever our barely formed narratives were appropriated and marketed back at us. So it brings on something of an identity crisis to see Gen X’s formative years become part of the cycle of retro revivalism. How does an anti-nostalgic generation deal with the human reflex to sentimentalize its youth?” -Carl Wilson, NYT

Members of Generation X are referred to as “latchkey kids.” Because their parents were divorced or both working, many of them came home from school to an empty house, where they took care of themselves until their parents came home. This negligence lead to fierce independence. However, during their childhood and teenage years, the most infamous serial killers and child kidnapping hit a peak. This included Manson and the Zodiac in the late 60s, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, and the Hillside Stranglers in the 70s, and Richard Ramirez and Jeffrey Dahmer in the 80s. When Adam Walsh was abducted from a Sears and murdered in 1981, the protection of children became a higher concern. In 1985, pictures of missing kids began to appear on milk cartons. The murders of  Megan Kanka in 1986 and Jacob Whetterling in 1989 lead to major legal changes including the Megan’s Law. As a result, “stranger danger” became a national policy. In their adulthood, Generation X became a generation of overprotective parents, wanting to ensure their children’s safety and innocence.

Fast Facts

Born: 1966-1976
Coming of Age: 1988-1994
Age in 2017: 41 to 51

Historical Events of their formative years
  • Watergate scandal: 1972-1974
  • The personal computer: 1975 +
  • Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown: March 28, 1979
  • Iranian hostage crisis: 1979-1981
  • AIDS Epidemic: 1981-1987
  • Challenger disaster: January 28, 1986
  • Chernobyl nuclear explosion: April 26, 1986
  • Stock Market crash depletes job market: 1987
  • Fall of the Berlin Wall: November 9, 1989
  • Operation Desert Storm: January-February, 1991
  • Rise of internet: Mid 1990s
Traits:
  • Grungy, lazy, and cynical
  • Lowest voting participation rate of any generation
  • Childhood divorce shapes their own families, with a concern for avoiding broken homes and financial planning
  • Rejection of Nostalgia
Movies

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  • Slackers
  • Singles
  • Reality Bites
  • Clerks
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Sixteen Candles
  • Weird Science
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Star Wars
  • Jaws
Television
  • MTV: 1981 to present
  • HappyDays: 1974-1984
  • Three’s Company: 1977-1984
  • Family Ties: 1982-1989
  • Cheers: 1982-1993
  • Miami Vice: 1984-1990
  • The Cosby Show: 1984-1992
  • Growing Pains: 1985-1992
  • Alf: 1986-1990
  • Full House: 1987-1995
  • The Simpsons: 1989- present
  • Saved By The Bell: 1990-1993
Music
  • nirvanaNirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Alice in Chains
  • Hole
  • Tupac Shakur
  • The Notorious BIG
  • Beasty Boys
  • LL Cool J
  • Run-DMC
  • MC Hammer
  • Ice-T
  • Public Enemy
  • Michael Jackson
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  • Doc Martins
  • Nike
  • Parachute pants
  • Hawaiin shirts
  • Padded shoulders
Video Games
  • Asteroids
  • Pac-Man
  • Joust
  • Pong

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