Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

An artist is dragging beloved 1980s characters into this blighted age

Illustration: Tom Ward

In many ways, the movie characters of the 1980s had it very lucky. Not only did they get to experience firsthand what was, at least according to the RNC, the single greatest era in American history, but they didn’t have to deal with all the depressing problems and complications of the new millennium. Okay, sure, Marty McFly had to deal with a teensy weensy bit of terrorism for a few minutes, and the families in Goonies were facing foreclosure. But, for the most part, it was a magical, trouble-free decade, 10 straight years of leg warmers, arcade games, and Rubik’s Cubes. Even the senior citizens refrained from complaining that the Indiana Jones films had somehow “raped their childhood” by bastardizing the serials they had grown up with. But artist Tom Ward was not satisfied with letting the B.A. Baracuses and Peter Venkmans of the world hibernate in their cozy, Reagan-era caves. No, he is intent on dragging them—kicking and screaming, perhaps—into the current decade.

In an art project called Eighties Reloaded, which he has been sharing with the public through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, Ward has been updating classic characters from 1980s movies and TV shows. “I thought it would be fun to give [them] a modern twist and put them in situations they might find themselves in today’s world,” he told The A.V. Club. Having conquered both children’s television and the action-figure market, He-Man and Lion-O are now exercise buddies. They have to work to keep up those bodies now.

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Illustration: Tom Ward

But poor Johnny Five from Short Circuit seems to have fallen on hard times. In Ward’s illustration, the wisecracking robot is seen picking up garbage by the side of the highway. The artist does not specific that this is the result of a DUI, but that’s the most likely answer.

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Illustration: Tom Ward

Murphy from RoboCop is scarcely better off. These days, he’s reduced to handing out traffic citations.

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Children of the 1980s might have the most difficult time processing this next image: In Ward’s update on The Karate Kid, Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi gallop to to the strains of “Gangnam Style.” Whether this is part of Daniel’s training or just two guys enjoying each other’s company is unknown.

Illustration: Tom Ward
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Come back, Jaden Smith. All is forgiven.

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