What was it about the early 1980's?

What was it about the early 1980's that seemed so full of despair in light of making snowballs during a nuclear winter, and yet brought us MTV and silly TV shows that we are embarrassed to have even watched? Growing up during this time I, like many of my school-mates felt the awesome sense of the futility of life after we saw The Day After. And if Ronald Reagan and the Soviets didn't blow us up,