Molly Ringwald

     Every once in awhile I would wonder about John Hughes's obsession with Molly Ringwald, so it surprised me to learn how few films they were actually involved with together: three, according to the Internet Movie Database. Still, being prepubescent when seeing such classics as the Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink, Her image stayed in my mind as one of the definitions of beauty. I was struck with the transition of Ally Sheedy in the Breakfast Club from "basket case" to conformist beauty. Perhaps that struck me to see the beauty within alternatives to the norm. But at that time, Molly Ringwald was the focus of my attention. Of course seeing Bender dive for her panties was a sticking image, not that I understood it a whole lot at the time.
     Every once in awhile a text makes its way round the Internet. This volume, known as the Children of the 80s, is the most accurate summary of what the Eighties were like. I suppose soon there will be a similar "Children of the 90s," but it will not be the same. The eighties were a decade between. Disco was dying, its traces flopping through new wave and pop to let out some death throws in rap. "I'm ok, you're ok," was done. "I'm ok," was in. It was the decade of the Material Girl, even if Ertha Kitt was the original. Consumerism was at its height, and the ozone was still whole. Russia was still the enemy, and an actor was president. It was a time when Don Bluth could make groundbreaking video games. Pacman had a Christmas special. The Muppets had ended, but could be seen in syndication at least every Sunday. Fraggle Rock was beginning... and ending. It was too late for Star Wars, but mad Empire and Jedi. Some people talked on a BBS, but not IRC. We upgraded a computer from 1k. Dungeons and Dragons was the tool of the devil, not computer games.
     But in the nineties the cold war ended. The environment was suddenly in ruins. Iraq was the terror of the free world. The Internet was revolutionizing everything. At least Star Wars was still in theatres.
     I do not think I can accurately describe what the eighties were like. I am not sure how I could explain why Papa Don't Preach was so shocking, or why Girls Just Want to Have Fun was rebellious. Place Molly Ringwald in a line with Jessica Alba or Sarah Michelle Gellar for today's audience and their eyes will be drawn to the silicone beauties. I would not say I was part of Generation X. I think I am too young to be in that category. I have heard talk of Generation Why (the media is so creative). I am not sure that is where my kind fit either. I was not the focus of John Hughes films, they were about those mythical teenagers, still gods in my eyes, but I was raised on them. Sometimes I think it was the last good decade to grow up in. Now and then John Hughes takes me back there, with Molly Ringwald lighting the way.

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