Why TV loves to hate millennials

It's eerily similar to how TV once treated Generation X

Poking fun at millennials isn't as easy as it seems.
(Image credit: Michael Yarish/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Twenty-five years ago, in 1991, the children of the Baby Boomers had their first proper introduction into popular culture. Douglas Coupland's novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture gave the group a name, and described lives tinged with cynicism and rootlessness. Richard Linklater's film Slacker valorized a DIY ethos, divorced from conventional social productivity. Nirvana's snarky, angry album Nevermind put a frame around the generation's attitude, best expressed in the line, "Here we are now. Entertain us." This was the dominant image of Gen-X in the '90s: pop-culture-obsessed, irony-addled, and struggling with grown-up responsibilities. Largely untouched by war or widespread economic hardship, the young Americans who'd grown up in the '70s and '80s seemed smarter and more plugged in than their parents or grandparents, but also completely at sea when it came to finding a job or paying bills.

Fast-forward to September of 2016, and CBS's reality competition hit Survivor begins airing one of its occasional gimmick seasons: "Millennials vs. Gen-X." As with previous Survivor experiments (like "Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty" or "Blue Collar vs. White Collar vs. No Collar"), the producers go all-in on casting and positioning the teams to reflect stereotypes. The millennials describe themselves as deeply into video games, unimpressed with authority figures, and not especially interested in committing to either relationships or jobs.

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