The Impact of Childhood

Toy Story

Toy Story

As I grow from a baby to an adult, there is something that somehow always manages to stay with me, my childhood. What I mean is the show/movies or video games I grew up on, no matter how much I grow, they still stuck with me. Now look, that does not apply to everything I grew up on. I am not wanting too desperately to go back to something like Dora the Explorer or anything on that level. What I mean is, the types of things that even as I grew older, still managed to be beautifully written.

There could be multiple reasons for why we go back to those series. It could be because we want to return to a sense of comfort when we are dealing with tough times. It could also be wanting to feel like a kid again when we are bored of being an adult. What I personally believe is that the reason we want  to return to the series is that they still manage to be good even when we grow up and are more experienced. One example for me is that I have always been a fan of “Star Wars.”  Now that is not a special thing because Star Wars is a series that both kids and adults love. However, as of late I have been more disappointed with new Star Wars media. It reminds me of how much I grew up with the show “Star Wars the Clone Wars.” When I was a kid, I did not realize how much I would grow to appreciate it later in life, especially when I grew into a teenager. While I do still watch comedy shows, I also wanted shows that can connect with viewers. This show helped define what I wanted and because of that I fell in love with shows like “Avatar the Last Airbender” and anime like “Fairy Tail” “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “Code Geass.” This show had themes of death, how blind loyalty can lead to disastrous events, individuality, and the fear of the future and how we may not be able to prevent tragedy. It was a show that while, yes, had very dark and brutal death scenes, it still knew when to have fun and treated its audience with respect rather than just dangling keys in front of them like most modern Cartoon Network shows do. Even to this day there were episodes that left an impression on me, and that is a  sign of a great show. I even remember when the final season dropped the last four episodes which are titled “The Siege of Mandalore” – one of the best finales I have seen in any tv shows.

Now I can praise “The Clone Wars” all day along but let us move on to a different example: “Toy Story,” a movie franchise you have probably heard of. It was the first computer movie in 1995 and the first movie from Pixar Studios. Toy Story One, Two and Three, all taught us themes of growing up, abandonment, and finding our purpose in the world. I think the best example of growing up is with the character of Andy. While he is not a character we follow as much as the toy’s, he is still a key part of the theme. In the first film, we see Andy as a kid who views his toys as his life. He was excited to always play with them. When he got Buzz Lightyear, his world revolved around Buzz, even changing his room from a cowboy aesthetic to a space aesthetic. In the second film, he accidentally ripped Woody’s arm. It shows us that while he does love them, they are still breakable. This in turn sets off the main conflict for Woody throughout the movie: should he go to Tokyo and live for display and be loved or stay and eventually face the reality that Andy will stop playing with him.

This goes straight into the third film: Andy is going off to college and has not played with the toys in years, as they are all in a box desperately waiting for one last chance to be played with.  This also touches on the theme of abandonment which lies in Jessie, a cowgirl toy who had a previous owner that loved her.  But as she grew older, she stopped caring for Jessie and dropped her off at a donation box and is now going through the same thing with Andy. This also again touches on a previous theme I mentioned, finding your purpose in life. The toys always believed that no matter what they had to make their kid happy through thick and thin. This also comes into play in the third film where Andy is being asked by his mom if they will be sold off in a garage sale, be thrown away or be put in the attic. By the end of the film, Andy decides to give them to Bonnie where they discover that even if they are not being played by Andy, they can still always make a different kid happy even if it is a repeated cycle.


The final example I want to share is a video game series you probably have heard of, “Pokémon.” I know this series like the back of my hand. I am quite sure “Pokémon Platinum” was the first game I ever played (if not a LEGO game). There is a lot to say about what drew me into it as it did for other people. Who could not love the idea of a kid of traveling the world, catching creatures with unique designs and powers, all to become the best like no one ever was? I had so many memories of playing these games and watching the anime. I remember watching the anime at a point in my life where I did not even know what an anime was, I just thought it was another cartoon on Cartoon Network. I do appreciate the anime because if it were not for it, Infernape would not have become my favorite Pokémon. There is just a childlike wonder to the Pokémon world that somehow can bring back those nostalgic feelings of wanting to play them again.

Sean Coffren in childhood

So, with all that said, I hoped this article was able to bring back those childhood memories you have. Who knows, maybe because of this you go back to some series you grew up with.