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The Millennials & The Monkees

by Jaime Burbatt 5 years ago in tv review
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A Look Into the Millennial's Mind to Figure out Just Where It Is That They Got Their Sense of Humor, and Maybe More

The millennial generation is now the largest, most ethnically diverse generation in American history. Though it is heavily debated, it is likely the age range is around those who are 18-35 today. And with this comes a particular style of expression that has spread among young people. The millennial "brand" of surrealism humor that is both popular and sometimes dark. And the more one grows alongside this trend, the easier it becomes to see the call-backs to a time before. One television show of the sixties in particular, The Monkees, has astounding similarities. Though it was aimed to children of a past generation, young people of today would find a lot to identify with. What made the show so revolutionary and controversial in the sixties is the same type of humor that appeals to millennials today.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors or trends in millennial humor is a self-deprecating, dark attitude that is not off limits to be used comically. The Monkees is not lacking in this either. The main characters of the show: Micky, Mike, Peter, & Davy often make little comments where they use themselves as the subject of the joke. “They’ll be sorry when they find us dead on the floor” (, 2018). Here, Peter was referencing their lack of job leading to starvation in a very blatantly dark way, yet humorous way. Which is just the way a young person of today would phrase it. Going off of this, in another episode entitled "I’ve Got A Little Song Here," Mike is upset when he finds out he was cheated for money on a song he wrote. Davy, in the hopes to cheer him up, asks him what he wants to do. Mike replies quickly with, “Well, I dunno, I thought I’d just sorta sit around the house and fail” (, 2018). That kind of quick tongued, self put down humor is right up millennial's alley.

One of the most defining elements in millennial humor is the lack of any sort of background information. As a generation, the content made by them for each other is nonsensical humor. Often described as just plain weird, this generation seems to effortlessly make the simplest things funny. The best example of this from The Monkees is the episode entitled "Monkees Watch Their Feet" that aired during the second and final season. The entire episode is one big nonsensical story involving aliens, almost like a fever dream. “But surely, simple problems such as these could not cause such confusion. He is obvious-ob-obviously affected by aliens from outer space”(, 2018). The Secretary for the Department of UFO Information presents a film about impending dangers from outer space. Now, this secretary’s monotone yet eager and physical delivery is flawlessly millennial brand.

While the generation can be self-deprecating and nonsensical, millennials are often described as head-strong; not afraid to make social or political commentary. A lot like the blooming "Flower power" or "Love generation" of the sixties. While, The Monkees is mostly a children's show, the interviews at the end of some episodes is where this comes into play. Particularly at the end of the episode, "Audition (Find The Monkees)." One of the show creators, Bob Rafelson, was interviewing the group about some interesting topical subjects. The controversy of men having long hair and the ‘riots’ on Sunset Strip, to which, Micky replies with, “There haven’t really been riots. They’ve been…ac…in actuality, since I, since I was there, they’ve been demonstrations. And, uh, but I guess lot of p…a lot of people and, uh, journalists don’t know how to spell “demonstration”…so they use “riot” ’cause it only has four letters” (, 2018). This shows that though they were the young generation at the time, they were determined and commenting on social or political issues. This goes on with comments from Mike and Peter, perhaps the most politically and socially involved one of the group. Much like the young people now. Millennials would find a lot of relatable content in this show.

A key factor for TV shows is to have relatable characters—preferably ones to sit well with targeted audiences. And though the show is from roughly fifty years ago, millennials can easily relate to this group of young guys. Considering the main characters are a group of twenty-something guys struggling to make money while being misunderstood by their elders, it is not hard to do so. And as stated before, even the little glimpses the audience gets of their true personalities is indeed relatable too. And this is not to say the show is completely problem-free, because it is not, there are some issues with being Politically Correct that haven’t aged so well due to what’s changed since the sixties. But overall, the show’s heart and intentions shine through these problems.

Each generation has its own quirks and traits, but a lot of it can come from influence of the past. Millennial's can find parts of themselves in the past to identify with or relate to. The Monkees show is one that young people could easily cause a big resurgence in popularity for by watching and enjoying it. The humor of today was heavily influenced the style originally displayed in the show. And though it’s been around fifty years, young people haven’t changed all that much.

tv review

About the author

Jaime Burbatt

My name is Jaime, I'm 23 years old & my dream is to be an author

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