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Rant :: Jumping the Shark
  submitted on June 25, 2008, 12:12 PM

Okay, VH1's "I Love the 80s" was a brilliant idea. People love nostalgia, and so putting together a one-hour clip show on each year of the 1980s full of nothing but pop culture references is sure to be loved by all. And it was, it was a great series. Even doing "I Love the 80s Strikes Back" was fine, because there's no way for you to cover everything from the year in the course of an hour. "I Love the 70s" wasn't quite as cool of an idea, although a lot of that is me speaking as a 25-year old, I suppose it's entirely possible that some of the Gen-Xers and older got more out of it than I did. "I Love the 90s" was definitely a successful decade, so that worked, and so did "Part Deux".

However, VH1 just couldn't stop, and decided to overexpose the series. First was "I Love the 80s 3-D". Now, it's entirely possible that three hours may have been enough time to spend on a particular year, but watching some of the shows, the content definitely came across as pretty weak compared to what we saw in the first two incarnations. Then they came out with crap like "I Love the Holidays" and "I Love Toys" which were either just bad, or had a very hollow feel to them.

While we're on the subject, all the "I Love" series shows led to the creation of "Best Week Ever", which was a similarly formatted show to all of the "I Love" series, only it was a weekly show that discussed the latest goings on in pop culture. Good show at first, but definitely unable to maintain its momentum, and any time I watch it now, I feel like I'm watching Talk Soup, which makes me sad, because Talk Soup was a pretty funny show back when it was just John Henson by himself with the crew for the show serving as his audience as well. Now, it just sucks. That's kind of how "Best Week Ever" is.

But anyways, we're talking about the "I Love" series jumping the shark. It may have already occurred with the 80s 3-D, but if not, it definitely did this week. Because VH1 has decided to debut "I Love the New Millennium". So, what's the problem with this? I mean, they've done the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the 00s are the next decade up, right? Yes, I suppose that's true. Too bad the decade isn't over yet! So what's their solution? They've only produced shows for 2000 to 2007. Nice. Way to capitalize on the popularity of the series by completely screwing up the premise of it.

Honestly though, it's not even that part of the series that drives me nuts. I tried watching an episode last night, I think it was 2003. At the start of my post, I talked about why the series was successfull: nostalgia. For a lot of people watching "I Love the 80s/90s", it brings them back to another time, most likely when they were kids, or growing up. They can reflect fondly about that time in their lives. When I'm watching a show recapping 2003, it's not really doing it for me. Many things they talk about are still prominent today. For example:

-The O.C. - Okay, this isn't on TV anymore, but it was up until last year.
-Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - Okay, this movie was part of a trilogy, and the last part of the trilogy came out last year.
-Arnold Schwarzenegger - Yes, he became the Governator in 2003. Newsflash, still governor.
-Chappelle's Show - Only lasted from 2003 to 2006, but is still in heavy syndication.
-Michael Jackson accused of child molestation - Boy, good thing Michael Jackson jokes have really died down...
-Joe Millionaire - Okay, this show isn't around anymore, but why the hell are they bringing it up anyways? Considering how easy it is to put together a successful reality show these days, the fact that this show bombed in its second season probably means it isn't worth remembering.
-Paris Hilton's sextape - Again, good thing Paris Hilton being a slut isn't ever talked about in today's media so that we can reflect on the good ol' days.
-McGriddles - um, what? I love me a McGriddle, but I must have missed the part where they were ever a dominant part of pop culture. Not to mention, they're still a commonplace item on the breakfast menu at McDonalds.

Really, the only item that they talked about that should actually have been on the show was Saddam Hussein getting captured, since that was a moment in history that everyone can reflect on.

If there's no nostalgia feel to the show, then what's the point? That's what the show is there for, people aren't going to feel nostalgic about crap that happened a few years ago. You have to give a decade a few years to get settled and establish an identity before you start revisiting it and making people feel all warm and fuzzy.

The basic principle of the entire "I Love" series is completely missing in "I Love the New Millennium", and as a result, the series has officially jumped the shark. But considering how much the entertainment industry loves to run ideas into the ground until no one cares about them anymore, it was really only a matter of time before it happened with this show.

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