In a vital action succession in the forthcoming spy thriller, Atomic Blonde, the MI6 agent play by Charlize Theron proceeds to beat the hell out of several armed men that burst into her apartment. But before the ass-kicking begins, she pauses to execute something crucial: pop in a cassette ice cream of George Michael’s “Father Figure,” the ’80s popular music ballad that blares from old-school speakers as she provides ropes, refrigerator doors, and the heels of she boots come violently show these men who’s boss.

You are watching: Which character is so fascinated with a tape recorder

The cassette tape has actually been getting here lately in a lot of of major motion pictures and TV shows, and also not just in movies like Atomic Blonde or collection like Snowfall the are set in the 1980s, the heyday because that TDK. What’s unusual is how frequently they’re showing up in stories about the present as well.

In 13 reasons Why, the modern Netflix teenager drama the made headlines and also dominated social media last spring, Hannah Baker leaves a suicide note in the kind of multiple, dual-sided cassettes, just as she walk in the publication that influenced the series. ~ above the 3rd seasons the both The Leftovers and also Better speak to Saul, audio tapes become an essential to the plot. (Two the the year’s buzziest reflects — Twin Peaks and The Handmaid’s story — also occur to feature tapes in their original source material even though the brand-new incarnations haven’t touched on that facet … yet.)

Meanwhile, in ~ the movie this summer, Star Lord continues to show his cassette continuous in Guardians that the Galaxy Vol. 2. The music-obsessed getaway understand played by Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver maintains his own significant collection of mixtapes, in enhancement to plenty of vinyl and also iPod playlists. Even in Despicable Me 3, the knavish Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a former ’80s kid star who never mentally graduated from the decade, offers cassettes to provide the soundtrack to his dastardly behavior.

And climate there’s real-life American politics — i beg your pardon we deserve to probably refer to as Despicable Me 4, ns guess? — whereby the ice cream has become a character in the most compelling drama of the summer: the investigation into collusion in between the trumped campaign and also Russia. “Lordy, ns hope there are tapes,” former FBI chef James Comey testified at a Senate hearing in June, referring to his conversations v President Trump, prompting Trump to tweet-respond the he “did not make, and also did no have, any kind of such recordings.” (Trump did not deny, however, that during their meetings in ~ the White House, the tried to slip Comey a mixtape referred to as “Awesomely Funky Jams around Loyalty, Vol. 1.”)

So why space cassettes and also tapes — those outmoded audio- and also musical-delivery engines the we believed would maintain our very closely curated compilations forever if we simply punched the end the tiny, square write-protect tab — for this reason omnipresent? Is your appearance in so numerous movies and shows another one the those odd little pop-cultural coincidences, prefer the proliferation of doppelgängers or the spike in narratives around nuns? room they — prefer old TV present reboots, the popularity of Stranger Things, and the renewal of the choker — a have fun of our unlimited fascination through the ephemera from past decades? Or, or: Is this a authorize that the windblown dude from those old Maxell advertising is gradually attempting to take regulate of ours nation? (Honestly? That would certainly be fine with me in ~ this point.)

All of these things might be true, except the coup part, which I know nothing about and absolutely have not disputed with anyone if being recorded on tape. It’s additionally true that the cassette — when hardly the leading format it as soon as was 30 years earlier — has never entirely disappeared. That has ongoing to exist as a means for indie and also underground artist to quickly and easily circulate their work. And it’s to be coming earlier into the mainstream because that a if now, too, as detailed by plenty of media reports: The slight, current uptick in tape sales, and also interest top top the component of miscellaneous artists (as fine as urban Outfitters) are making certain that music continues to exist in the rewind-and-fast-forward format.

Anyone who’s ever before watched a magnetic strip of ice cream unfurl from its plastic casing can tell you the a tape is a vulnerable thing. But because it’s an object with actual weight — and, most importantly because that the purposes of film and also television, one of higher visual interest than an electronic audio record saved on a desktop computer — yes something about it that has power and also implies permanence. The native someone says on a tape, or the song someone choose to record on the in a certain order, have definition that feel more far-reaching because over there is a hard copy.

Making and listening come tapes calls for focus and also effort, one idea conveyed in 13 factors Why via Hannah’s tape collection and also the clear instructions she shares through all the people who get it. Cassettes have to be heard in the proper order, sides have to be flipped, they should be put earlier in your cases. “It’s not supposed to it is in easy,” she explains on side A of ice cream one, “or i would have actually emailed girlfriend an MP3.”

There’s also a ethereal implication in 13 reasons Why, and in Better contact Saul, that a physics tape of a confession or accusation is somehow more damning and real than it would certainly be in any type of other form. In the last series, provided his alleged allergy to electromagnetism, the much easier for lining (Michael McKean) to go the old-fashioned path in bespeak to capture audio of his brothers Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) admitting that tampered through legal documents. “You taped me?” Jimmy shouts in episode two while breaking down Chuck’s door, making words “taped” sound like an obscenity. “You asshole!” He later yanks the tape the end of the recorder and breaks it into pieces v his bare hands, a physical expression of his rage the wouldn’t have the same, crushing impact if the evidence he to be trying to ruin were preserved in any other format. (You ever before tried to rest an 8-track tape with your bare hands? It’s no possible.)

Cassettes are also a way to maintain the past and stay linked to those who room gone in a method that feels more tangible. That concept is discover in the Guardians movies, Baby Driver, and also The Leftovers illustration “Crazy Whitefella Thinking,” every one of which usage mixtapes and cassette recorders as symbols of the bonds in between dead mothers and also their sons.

Maybe this is why the cassette tape quiet resonates and also continues showing up in renowned culture: prefer a record, it is a thing that can be held and also felt in a means that digital papers can’t. But unlike a CD, which no seem that old, or a Spotify playlist, a tape feels choose a valuable artifact or an heirloom. The a receptacle for storage that provides those memories feel an ext real because it’s not something that stays in the cloud, it resides in her hands. Yet while vinyl, which has existed because that longer, has actually the wait of the standard and more truly vintage, a cassette is a throwback very specifically linked with the 1970s, ’80s, and also early ’90s, the decades with which, nostalgia-wise, our society remains many fascinated at the moment. Due to the fact that it’s therefore era-specific, probably the cassette has end up being symbolic of the last gasp in time once our music, and every one of our favorite social works, really, weren’t stored ~ above a Google drive or an app. They were the things we carried.

See more: List Of Prime And Composite Numbers 1 100 0, List Of Composite Numbers 1 To 100

Then again, as I’ve provided in ahead pieces, probably it’s as basic as this: The civilization making films and also TV mirrors right now thrived up in the ’70s, ’80s, and also ’90s and still have actually a actual fondness because that cassettes due to the fact that they hoarded mixtapes, too. They keep sneaking lock onto our screens, large and small, so that future generations will recognize what the looks prefer to fire increase a cassette deck and press play.