First, a confession/anecdote: a couple of years ago, one of my best friends and I went to see American Pie: Reunion. My friend and I, born on the late-1970s/early 1980s cusp between the end of Generation X and the beginning of Generation Y, were, by a long shot, the oldest people in the audience – something neither of us had experienced quite so starkly before. This “other” audience of fully-fledged Millennials were experiencing the film in an entirely different way to us: not just laughing in different places, but continuously engaging with their smartphones – texting, tweeting, etc.
Why is this relevant? Quite simply, because we are getting older. More precisely, “we”, the generation that grew up with MTV and made the original American Pie a runaway box office success, are beginning to experience genuine nostalgia for the first time in our lives.
It is significant that the fake trailer for the fake live-action movie of the real animated series Daria was produced by CollegeHumor, just as Johannes Mahlknecht’s example of the fake trailer for the Minesweeper movie. CollegeHumor’s fake trailers, as Johannes points out, use the audience’s intertextual awareness – of videogame adaptations and military films in the case of Minesweeper, and of emergent 90s nostalgia and the school reunion genre in the case of Daria. A growing range of films, from Beautiful Girls, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and Grosse Pointe Blank to American Pie: Reunion focus on the topic of the school reunion. In a slightly wider sense, films like Elizabethtown, Garden State and Young Adult deal with a return to the small town where the protagonists grew up and show a reunion between the protagonists and the environments and relationships they left behind.
The Daria Movie Trailer suggests a reunion, a return to the teen experience, not just for the characters, but also for us, the audience who grew up with the Daria cartoon, the so-called “MTV Generation”. It is a paratext to a text which doesn’t, strictly speaking, exist, but at the same time, its text isn’t just Daria, and not just the reunion film genre, but also my generation’s budding relationship with 90s nostalgia. It is this nostalgia that has prompted numerous viewers of the fake trailer to comment that the fake live-action adaptation ought to be made a reality.