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Who is George Glass?

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Reel Mama: Who is George Glass?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Who is George Glass?

If you are a member of Generation X, usually defined as people born in the seventies up to 1980, then you probably know, or once knew, who George Glass is.  If you know your Brady Bunch trivia, which most of us Gen Xers (and pre-Gen Xers) do, then you’ll remember that George Glass is the fictitious boyfriend Jan invents when the real boy she’s interested in, Clark, falls for Marcia instead (no surprise there: Marcia Marcia Marcia!).  George Glass is resurrected in a brilliant wink to her fellow Gen Xers in Bridesmaids, when Kristen Wiig’s character needs to save face after her one night stand refuses to accompany her to her best friend’s wedding. She tells him there are lots of other people she can take to the wedding, such as George…George Glass.

I bring up George Glass because I feel that he is representative of something very special about Generation X: we are the last American generation to share a truly collective experience, at least when it comes to pop culture.  For example, I was a WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestant) growing up in Texas.  My husband was a recent immigrant from Cuba growing up in LA, but we both came home after school and watched re-runs of the Brady Bunch, or the Munsters, or Bugs Bunny cartoons.  After all, there were very few viewing options in the 1980s, so everybody watched the same thing.  I love it that all these years later I can be talking to a fellow Gen Xer who grew up anywhere in the U.S., and if I make a pop culture reference from our growing up years, they will light up and know exactly what I’m talking about, and we are on the same page.

I don’t want my daughter to miss out on the collective experience of her generation, but what will that experience look like?  I have no doubt that there will be hallmarks of her generation that will sum up the zeitgeist of her formative years.  Yet with so many different sources to draw her attention, will she share in a true collective experience, something that thirty years from now she can refer to and everyone her age will know what she’s talking about?  Her generation (Generation Z?) will forge its own identity.  It will move mountains.  It will amaze us, delight us, and probably shock us.  And I hope it will have its own George Glass, a kind of secret handshake, binding them all together.

Click here to watch a clip of Jan Brady inventing George Glass.


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