If you’re like most people, the films and TV shows of your generation defined large chunks of your childhood, but when watched through the prism of, well, being a kid, they seemed much better than they actually were. Enter Nostalgia Critic, which picks out a classic series or movie you might remember fondly…and makes fun of it for up to half an hour.
In the hands of someone else, this premise would make for one of the most mean-spirited series of all time. But as written and performed by Doug Walker, it’s a fond yet fair look at 80s and 90s media, both the good (the classic Disney animated series Gargoyles) and the bad (Kazaam). And it’s been a ratings performer since April 2008.
High energy and shamelessly nerdy, Walker (otherwise known as “That Guy with the Glasses”) takes a pointedly juvenile approach to critiquing the weekly selection, but that meshes nicely with the overall premise — it’s hard to get much in-depth critical analysis done when you’re responding to complex works like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Mostly, it’s a lot of nitpicking and mocking, but with a flair and intensity that proves captivating.
Walker’s veteran status as an online video creator includes being among the ones that Revver never paid, but he and parent company Channel Awesome are doing fine now. According to the Sun Times, ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com pulls in 800,000 unique visitors and $10,000 in revenue every month.
Nostalgia Critic could be much tighter — I mean, there are rarely dull moments, but episodes typically stretch as long as 20 minutes. And sure, the Pamela Anderson Casablanca remake Barb Wire does provide you with that much material, but perhaps some editorial trimming could be applied. The irony, of course, is that Walker’s other big web project is 5 Second Movies, which edits down feature films into pretty comprehensive yet concise chunks. (His take on 300 definitely captured that film’s heart and soul.) So, c’mon! You’ve got it in you, Nostalgia Critic! Do it for America!
But when it comes to Vanilla Ice, disregard that advice. Take all the time you need.