I recently spent months trying to remember the title of a certain video game suite I loved as a kid, sure that it had informed my creative sensibility. I could only recall small details: a pancake house, a clairvoyant crow, a map of a town. When research led to dead end after dead end, I began to think I’d made it all up. One day, I mentioned it in passing to my mom, who did not remember, but soon after forwarded me the weekly promo email from Kickstarter, casually asking, “Is this what you’re talking about?”
By some outlandish stroke of luck, it was.
To my knowledge, I’ve never met anyone else who played these video games, and yet Rhizome, an organization championing born-digital art and culture, had successfully crowdsourced the funds to conserve three video games created by the late artist Theresa Duncan between 1995 and 1997. Suddenly these instantly familiar universes were accessible to me once more (you can play them here).
Kismet like this has made me greedy. In the spirit of Mistakes Month on Man Repeller, I present you a list of other discontinued items I yearn for and wish someone would bring back. And I invite you to file your own polite requests below, on the off-chance that someone in product development at a millennially-minded, direct-to-consumer brand heeds our comment section. I’ll kick us off with the below products that embody the existential and yet immortal words of the Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia: “Such a long time to be gone, and a short time to be there.”
Pylones’ Jelly Watch
I think I stopped caring about accessories when I lost this watch. The void it left behind was too cavernous, and somehow I knew from the moment of its French exit that I’d never be able to find a comparable replacement. Pylones, an off-kilter toy store that enjoyed a burst of popularity in the early aughts, once sold a Christopher Kane-esque jelly watch. It had blue, green, maybe even yellow emulsion coursing through the transparent band, revolving around a digital timepiece in the center. It was my prized possession. One night in 2004, scooting into the backseat of my grandparents’ sedan after dinner at a family friend’s house, I noticed that my wrist was bare. The watch was never seen again. Hear my desperate plea, designers of Pylones and/or Christopher Kane. PVC bags have bodysurfed their trendy wave; give us exactly one spunky, liquid watch.
This blouse by Ralph Lauren’s Rugby
I can’t believe there are so many ill-fitting blouses merchandised in stores every day when Rugby (Ralph Lauren’s late, health-goth-before-its-time subsidiary) perfected the silhouette years ago. Said blouse is unrivaled in my closet for its 1) flattering fit and 2) flimsy but forgiving, lightweight but substantial fabric, in a 3) harmless and practically neutral floral print with 4) flouncy sleeves that hit the bicep just right. “Flattering” can be construed as a controversial concept, so I’ll put it another way: If I could buy this blouse in seven different color ways, I would wear it Monday through Sunday, breaking blouse-fast only with the occasional pair of pajamas. I nominate Rachel Antonoff to render it in an absurd print of neon fly fishing tackle and for Entireworld to recreate it in a solid honeydew green or a Pantone match for the Hermes orange.
Bourjois Shine Edition Lipstick in “Oh My Doll”
I think my mom received this as a party favor from an event and somehow it ended up in my vanity, which I discovered once while home from college. Finders, keepers. I’m not much of a makeup person, and neither is my mom: I seem to accumulate palettes and brushes and glosses in case of some kind of unforeseen cosmetic emergency more than I actually apply it to my face—but this lipstick checked all the right boxes in a way that only an unclaimed lipstick found in your vanity can. The color of almond butter, it had a creamy consistency that spread on evenly with a hint of honey-like sheen. A beauty inside and out, Tia is wearing it here, straight from my one precious tube during an urgent case of dry-lippedness on set.
Someone else seems to recognize this lipstick’s implicit value, and that person is a seller on eBay. As much as I long for a replenishment, I’m not able to stomach the idea of buying a lipstick tube off of the secondary market. You know who could, though? Someone working in the Innovation Department at Bourjois. Otherwise, this seems like an opportunity for Glossier.
This wound is fresh: Netflix announced last week that it will not be renewing Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij’s show The OA for a third season. A series with an ardent fanbase, The OA’s cancellation has inspired a #SaveTheOA campaign, along with a bubbling of Reddit-hatched conspiracy theories that suspect the recent news is just a decoy in an elaborate Season 3 marketing scheme of fact blurring with fiction and reality blurring with otherworldly dimensions, inspired by the season finale cliffhanger where (spoiler alert!) the actors had broken the fourth wall, appearing as “themselves” in a final scene. Algorithmically, there’s no reason I should like this “sci-fi” show: I didn’t advance past episode one of Stranger Things and I couldn’t tell you which Star Wars movies I’ve seen. In actuality, The OA is the only show I’ve gobbled up in a bingey fit this year. Marling and Batmanglij have spun this riddle that expands as it reveals itself, and I hold a deep-seated belief that heartthrob Emory Cohen, who plays Homer on the show, is Hollywood’s best kept, most underutilized secret. I guess we’ll just have to hope that Netflix will pick the show back up again in the 2030s, when it’s cool to reference 2019-era television.
I really feel this one speaks for itself.
A smocked Trademark top in a Liberty print
I bought two of these white Trademark tops on The RealReal months ago, stockpiling items I figured I’d never see in a retail environment again. To my amazement, Harling and I walked by MR contributor Juliana Salazar on the street in early summer and saw her wearing the exact same silhouette by Tory Burch (yes, I went to the store and bought it the next day). I didn’t even know this style had ever existed in a liberty print floral until I glimpsed it in an old Man Repeller partnership story. I doubt I’ll ever sleuth one on TheRealReal in my size (you know what they say about lightning striking twice), but looks like you could. Eek!
What discontinued items do you need back in your life?