In the Suburbs (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #4 on Our Secret Century, Vol. 6: The Uncharted Landscape CD-ROM (Voyager). Also, film #742 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Industrial]

We're talking 50s, folks. 50s big white families with big cars who live in little boxes made of ticky-tacky that all look just the same. 50s "young adults" who go to the mall and spend lots of money. Redbook magazine, the makers of this film, claimed to have its fingers on the pulse of this big-spending bunch from the ‘burbs. The film was obviously made to sell this demographic group to advertisers, and seeing such a film illuminates how much the 50s suburban nuclear family mythos was a marketing creation. These "young adults" are portrayed as consumers only, not as actual people. Although the film pays lip service to 50s social and political issues in the form of brief newsreel clips, it's just to show how "serious" these young adults are, and how Redbook addresses this "seriousness" by running articles like "The Sexual Responsibility of Women". But don't worry, advertisers, they're not too serious––they're back at the mall in the next scene. What's really scary is how these rigid marketing concepts became ideals to aspire to during the 50s, and how they've become items of nostalgia today. A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the 50s suburban reality tunnel.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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