Five Questions for Decade Brigade
Franklin McMahon and Sarah Wallace are the masterminds behind Decade Brigade, a retro pop culture podcast that takes listeners on a walk down memory lane as Franklin and Sarah discuss TV shows, movies, toys, fashion, and music from decades gone by.
- What’s the secret origin of of Decade Brigade?
Sarah: We’ve been talking about doing a retro pop culture podcast for over a year now and we finally got around to doing it. I think it stems from the fact that we both like reminiscing about music, TV, movies, and toys from our youth. We chose the name Decade Brigade because we thought it was a good description and thought it was kind of catchy.
Franklin: We had been chatting about it for a while. Initially we thought it might be good to do a video version, to show different older toys, records, etc. But the audio version gives us a bit more flexibility, I think—we can cover a lot more areas and focus a bit more on personal stories on how pop culture ties into growing up. It’s interesting because even though there is some crossover, we do have slightly different items we remember.
- Your show examines the various decades that you and Frank have been alive during, as well as the small generation gap between the two of you. What is your favorite decade and why? And, if you had to guess, what would you say Frank’s is?
Sarah: My favorite decade to reminisce about is the 80s, just because now it seems too cheesy. I’m guessing Frank’s is the 70s.
Franklin: I would say the 80s only because they were the most fun. There was a real explosion of music and style and culture that I have yet to see repeated. Each passing decade was kind of a spin on the processing. The 60s were kind of a hippier version of the 50s, the 70s were kind of an extension of the 60s. However, the 80s were totally (no pun intended) unique, I think. The 90s and 00s were nice, but again I don’t think anything like the change in the 80s where pop culture really just took off big time.
The 80s also were the beginning of a communication explosion, first TV/music and then in the 90s with the Web—it’s when the geeks/nerds began to take over because technology gave them a voice. It did not matter if they were square—they now had video cameras, microphones, and keyboards to tell their story. They’ve been in power ever since.
- OK, building off of the last one, what is the worst decade and why?
Sarah: For some reason the 90s don’t do much for me. Perhaps it hits too close to home, not sure.
The 90s…when rock music (Nirvana, Creed, etc.) became way too serious. Rock should be fun and not so brooding. Add in the mix rap which really started to gain momentum and I think I just drifted away from music. A lot of people pined for the 80s when the 90s got way too introspective.
- You’ve spent some serious time on your early episodes discussing TV line-ups from specific years. At least one year you’ve discussed was during the era of NBC’s Must See TV Thursdays. What was it about that Thursday night line-up that made it must-see? Have there been other nights throughout your life that you remember being similarly glued to the set all night?
Sarah: NBC has always been good about putting top shows on Thursday nights. I mentioned the 90s with Friends but I think that was also the time slot of The Cosby Show, and now shows like The Office and 30 Rock. However, Friday night stood out in my mind in the early 80s because of Dukes of Hazzard, and Saturday nights due to The Love Boat.
Franklin: I must have been doing something else at the time because I missed most of those shows! NBC this week is launching a new concept, or rather same old concept, with now 6 comedies back to back on Thurs. With DVRs it does not matter too much though. I do think what happened with Must See TV is when it became a set the network give all the shows more time to gel with the audience. Hence all got better until each formed its own fan base. Connecting the shows just made them stronger. These days new shows get like 3 weeks, if that, to find an audience.
- Sarah, Frank’s teased you on the show about the number of people you’ve admitted to having crushes on in your youth. If you had to pick a top five pop culture crushes, who would they be and why?
Sarah: That’s a toughy. I am keeping a running list of my crushes by the way and eventually putting up a slideshow. But, I would have to say my top 5 are:
- Parker Stevenson
- Christopher Reeve
- Robert Conrad
- Erik Estrada
- Shaun Cassidy