Blogging NYT: Beloved Characters as Reimagined for the 21st Century

Blogging NYT: Beloved Characters as Reimagined for the 21st Century

Alejandra Valera
Jun 17, 2008

While perusing the pages of the New York Times the other day, we happened upon a most unfortunate sight. It was Strawberry Shortcake -- a childhood favorite -- staring back at us from the newsprint paper. Only, there was something off about her.

Well for starters, the Strawberry Shortcake we knew and loved never had long flowing long hair or a Rudy cap. Nor was she ever this modern. It was another classic case of fixing something when it wasn't broken...

Brooks Barnes writes about the makeover many characters are getting in order to keep up with the times. For instance, American Greetings Properties spent an entire year working on Strawberry Shortcake's new look which now includes lipstick, fresh fruit and a cell phone.

Among the other cartoon characters that are scheduled for face lifts are the Care Bears, Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Angelina Ballerina and Mickey Mouse. And what is the motivation behind all of the revamping? Well, Barnes explains, "Reinventing these beloved characters without inflicting indelible damage is one of the entertainment industry's trickiest maneuvers...Done correctly, it can be incredibly lucrative. Mickey Mouse produces an estimated $5 billion in merchandise sales every year. Strawberry Shortcake, even in her diminished state, has generated $2.5 billion in revenue since 2003, according to American Greetings."

So everything old is new again to make a few bucks. And while part of us is glad to see many childhood friends coming back for a second round, the other part just wants to scream, "Leave our childhood alone!"

What do you think of all this? Is it fun nostalgia or does it leave a bad taste in your mouth?

To read the complete article, visit the New York Times' Web site.

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