Who were you from Now and Then? Were you a Chrissy? A little naive and sensitive due to your helicopter parents? Or were you an attention-grabbing wild child like Teeny and left to your own devices? Maybe you were secretly vulnerable and yet a little rough around the edges like Roberta. Or perhaps you were an old soul like Samantha, pensive and serious. It didn't really matter who you were though, did it? We all felt like we related to each girl on some level in one way or another. We, like them, experienced instances of humiliation, rejection, abandonment, and fun, too. This is why it's so awesome that Now and Then is getting a TV reboot for another generation to enjoy.
Unlike Stand By Me or The Sandlot, Now and Then gave a uniquely and sorely needed female point of view on what it was to come of age. It didn't matter that it was staged in the 1970's. In fact, it was enlightening to know that as I watched it, 25 years after it was supposed to take place, that those girls faced the same problems that I did. Now and Then simultaneously made the experience of becoming a woman both incredibly personal and also universal. While I watched and enjoyed films like Stand By Me as an adolescent, I truly felt Now and Then. It spoke to me in a way that those baseball and adventure movies never could.
In this age of vampire dramas and dystopian action films, we've somehow removed the "coming of age" element from these supposed "coming of age" adaptations. While it's fun to guess who A is on Pretty Little Liars (which by the way, FINALLY) and it's eye-opening to witness groundbreaking shows such as Switched At Birth, those programs have shifted focus from the complexities of what it is to experience adolescence. I think that it's incredibly pertinent for this new generation to experience both the awful and wonderful aspects of growing up with a new group of Now and Then girls —without all the witchcraft and demons. (And I don't think I'm alone in that either.)
Marlene King, of Pretty Little Liars fame, actually wrote Now and Then and was the one to reveal the details about the possibility of the show. She explains that ABC Family is interested and that, to keep with the times, the past would be the 1980's and she'd also age up the girls a bit to around 16. It makes sense, although I think it'd be best served with the girls just a little younger in order to fully execute the storylines in the movie properly.
Here are some themes Now and Then addressed that would still be important to talk about today:
1. BODY IMAGE
Through the lens of Teeny, Roberta, and Chrissy the film centered on how once going through puberty, a girl feels the alienating realization she isn't viewed as just a person anymore. To her peers and society, she is a body, first — too big, too small, too endowed.
We commiserated with Teeny stuffing her shirt and Roberta taping her breasts and celebrated and felt for Chrissy when she was deemed chubby. And we celebrated with them when they rose above those labels.
With this topic being talked about more today than ever, it is the perfect time to use this platform to not only make girls feel less alone and objectified, but to show the effects that this body obsession has on young girls in an intimate way.
2. THE DEMISE OF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY
Arguably, since the movie's debut in 1995, divorce has become even more normalized and much of the stigma it once held is long gone. That being said, it doesn't mean that for the child who is experiencing it that it's any less traumatic or life altering. Through the point of view of Samantha whose father leaves her family literally in the middle of the night, and Teeny who doesn't even seem to have parents, we feel and understand how it affects them and changes them irreparably and also see how they learn to cope.
3. DISILLUSIONMENT WITH PARENTS
A sad yet necessary part of growing up is learning that our parents aren't the omniscient and almighty beings we once thought they were. Each girl details a different way in which she realizes that her parents — in particular their mothers — are human too.
4. PLATONIC AND ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS
In the film, the girls are 12 and at the awkward beginnings of puberty. It not only changes the friendships between them, but it alters the friendships they had with their male counterparts. Through Samantha the older girl, who decides to stay aloof and single, we see just how much of what happens to us during adolescence sticks with us our entire lives. And with Roberta, her feelings begin to shape not only her relationship to boys, but to her own body as well. We accompany her on her journey as she has to learn to accept herself while dealing with rejection.
All of these are powerful lessons that are beneficial to young girls both 20 years ago and today, so here's hoping the Now and Then reboot sees that importance.