I was inspired to do a video project when, speaking with a millennial friend a year ago, it became clear he had never heard of ... Will & Grace!
Having long been curious as to whether stars like Bette Davis and Judy Garland were still known to younger people, it blew me away that a 19-year-old hadn't even heard of a massively popular TV series that ran from 1998-2005! (This was before the reboot was announced.)
For fun, I asked a couple of guys in their twenties what they knew about a list of iconic people, movies, TV series and movie quotes, and I found the results to be scary ... but also charming.
For example, one guy had no idea who '80s star Molly Ringwald actually is, but knew her name from Family Guy. Everyone seemed to know MGM legend Debbie Reynolds from Halloweentown. I liked finding out not just if they knew about someone or something, but how they knew of them.
Sometimes, they knew someone was considered brilliant and amazing, but had no idea why. Amusingly, some of the things they "knew" about the icons were incorrect, sort of like a bad game of telephone.
I set about formally quizzing a dozen guys and girls ages 18-29 on 150+ subjects. All they had to go on was the name or title or quote itself — I would prompt them only with, "Marilyn Monroe ...," for example, and they would talk.
No "reactions," no clues.
I see the videos less as a condemnation of the people who have never heard of the famous people and things older people take for granted as being iconic than as mini horror movies for those of us 40 and older — we are officially on notice that while some icons seem to have legs (Elvis Presley), others (even some very recent ones) are not sticking (George Michael).
Have fun! Shares are so, so appreciated.
If you wanna try these names out on your own millennial friends — or yourself, if you're a millennial! — here are the lists:
Video #1: Gone with the Wind, James Dean, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Saturday Night Fever, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe
Video #2: Cher, George Michael, Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Bette Midler, John Lennon, Madonna
More to come in 2018!