Monday, December 21, 2009

#11 - Tweens

It was the decade when...

Grown men and women were forced to use the word "tween."

Pop quiz. Before you were a teenager you were a....what? Well, for almost all of human history you were, simply, a child. But, one day the early-mid aughts, some corporate douche (actual it was probably a whole boardroom full of doucheitude) realized that he could drum up a whole consumer base by inventing a new demographic to exploit. Enter the "Tween." As in, "inbetween." As in, "inbetween childhood and high school." Clever? I thought not. Those oh-so-magical years from 8-12, notoriously the worst of all youth (especially the later few, with the inchoate stirrings of puberty in the background), are now the focus of our national attention and the drain funneling away our excess cash. A demographic defined almost entirely by what it consumes, a tween cannot be extracted from their taste in music, or clothing brand loyalty or movie going habits. With almost all other media splintering down into more and more refined niches, the Tweens represent the last remaining monolithic mass market to advertise to. No group is more susceptible to slavish groupthink than a pre-teen, the age when solidarity with and acceptance by one's peers is paramount to ones own sense of identity. Sell to one, sell to all. You are what they buy. And they bought a lot. Tweens, funded by an apparently endless stream of cash from their dazed and clueless parents, shopped with the abandon and mouth-foaming need that only a child could summon guiltlessly, when cost is nothing and obtainment is all. I don't think there were a lot of piggybanks cracked open, it was more like an ATM.

A massive, synaptic-ally interconnected, multi-platform, synergistically marketed network of TV shows, pop bands, movie-musicals, fantasy-novels, clothing brands, and video games - to those in the matrix Tweendom is all. It's celebrities are just the biggest things ever! The music's like, the most fun in the world. Duh! To those unplugged, Tween culture is a hermetically sealed media-dome, inaccessible to those outside yet totally transparent; the tweens themselves were a kind of body-snatched alien race living amongst us. The circular totality of Tween culture is its most amazing feature. Tweens were a self-contained subculture that metastasized into the decade's most game-changing (and profitable) pop-culture phenomenon.

Acting as a kind of central ventricular pump for all things Tween, the Disney Channel hatched more bankable stars this decade than anything other media incubator. A locus of pre-sexual romantic angst, blandly cheerful gonad-free pop, pixie-stick hyper situation comedies, and white-strip-print-ad-ready cherub superstars, the Disney Channel was ground zero for the pre-teen set in the Aughts. From here we can sketch our new Raphael-ian tableau. (The school of Athens? The playground of Tween!) To do so, I have to channel my inner 11-year-old-girl, so, here we go...

Oh My God! So like you have to talk about Zac first, cause he's like hottest boy evah! Seriously though, super serious now, he has really proved himself a worthy, like, mega-star since his debut in HSM. He has so pushed his mad skillz as an actor! Like, for example, he really stretched himself in Hairspray cause he went from playing a singing and dancing hunky high school student to like, a singing and dancing hunky high school student in like the 20's or 60's or, you know, ancient history. I totally bought it! But speaking of HSM..VANESSA! VANESSA HUDGENS! She is like, so beautiful and so talented and it's so not fair! And she gets to date Troy Bolton in HSM and then really date Zac in real life. Again...not fair!! Ok, yeah, she sexted. Like, so what? LOL! I totally love her. But not as much as I love JOE JONAS! He is the middle one in the Jonas Brothers and, OK, like I love them all, I do, I love all the Jonas Brothers, but totally the one. Just something about him is so dreamy. And you know he'll be totally a gentleman cause he always wears his purity ring. And of course, I can always listen to his music. Oh, and if you're gonna talk about awesome music you can't not talk about Miley. Miley Cyrus OMG! Only the most awesome biggest most amazing actress/singer/songwriter/dancer/producer ever!! The star of Hannah Montana, the best show on TV! Miley is like, everyones hero. I can't believe that you hadn't heard of her, she's like the most famous person on the planet, duh! Ok, gotta run, my Mom got tickets to the matinee of Wicked; I've seen it, like 10 times. I'm totally Galinda! Yeah..HSM, Jonas, Hannah Montana. That's all you need to know. There is like, totally so much more but I'm gotta go. CYA!

You AUGHT to remember...

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