Considering how much I write about current television programs, you’d think that I watch a lot of it. I really don’t; it just gives me something to write about. And when I do watch TV, I’m an extreme channel changer so I don’t watch just one show – I am watching anywhere between three to five shows at one time. I like to drift in and out of different shows because even if you miss a couple minutes of something, you can generally figure out what happened. Well, unless it’s the Food Network’s Spooky Cake Competition, because you know my ass is glued to that action.
When it comes to television and ratings, for some reason the 20-something demographic is the highly coveted viewer for many stations. And I am not sure why, because a lot of them (or you or your peers – whomever I’m speaking to) really don’t know what the hell is so funny anymore. For some odd reason, television producers are bringing back things that were cool right around the time the now-20-somethings were born, and many of them are hanging on to the principle that these things used to be cool and funny, yet are no longer what they once were. Their prime has passed. Let them go. Aren’t sure which ones I’m talking about? Here are two for you:
In 2002, VH1 began producing a series of shows called “I Love the 80’s”, in which the 1980’s were relived and remembered. As you probably already know, the series was such a huge success that a follow-up series called “I Love the 80’s Strikes Back” was created, as well as some spin-offs for the 70’s and 90’s which were clearly inferior to the original series. The “I Love the 90’s” series, as well as its follow up series, was a good idea but well before its time because we just left the 90’s and there’s really not a lot of wistful reminiscing going on. As for the 70’s, I am guessing that it was not as successful because the people watching VH1 were born in the 70’s and 80’s, and do not really remember those things about the decade.
As an aside, a couple of years ago, my parents and I flew out to Hawaii to meet up with my brother who was on his way back from Iraq. My brother and I shared a hotel room, which I’ll never forget because this was before I was married so we had the same last name. The stupid person at the hotel kept arguing with me because I was insisting that she give me a new room with two beds as originally requested. When she finally referred to me as “Mrs.” I corrected her, saying that I would be rooming with my brother and no way in hell were we sharing a bed. I think she got the point after that. Anyway, I remember when we checked in to our room, he turned on the television and in the course of flipping channels he found VH1, which happened to be playing a marathon of “I Love the 80’s”. Instead of going outside to the beach, we stayed in our hotel room for the next two hours, watching and pointing at each other to say things like, “You totally wore that!” I do love the 80’s and I really loved the first two series. My brother and I were born in the 70’s, grew up in the 80’s, so these shows are filled with things that we can relate to and remember. (And yes, I totally saw the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back in the theater. It was gnarly, dude.)
Last week, VH1 released the third in the series, “I Love the 80’s 3D”. The first two series were great so I wanted to see what they came up with for the new series since the first two were pretty comprehensive. I mean, how much 80’s crap can you dig up? So I watched a couple of different shows and yes, they’ve run out of ideas. Unfortunately VH1 is now digging around at the bottom of the barrel for anything 80’s that has yet to be mentioned in a television program. It was funny the first couple of times, but the cow has been milked and is now dry.
The funny thing about this new series is, the majority of people watching seem to have been born in the 80’s, which is strange to me because anyone born in the 80’s won’t remember any of this that they’re watching. In fact, last night I was sitting down with another person to watch some TV, and in the course of flipping channels we found the new “I Love the 80’s 3D” on. The person sitting next to me, who was born in the early 80’s, says to me rather excitedly, “Oh! Let’s watch this!” After about ten minutes, I turn to them and say, “Do you remember any of this?” to which they respond, “No.” In fact, a couple of friends rented a movie this week and instead of watching it, decided to watch the new 80’s series as well. Funnily enough, they too were born in the 80’s, and thus, do not really remember much about the 80’s so I can’t figure out what the fascination is. I have since talked to co-workers and classmates, and from what I can understand, the only people really into the new series are people who do not remember the 80’s.
In the same way, when David Spade was on SNL, he was a short, cynical guy who was surrounded by some very funny people. His Hollywood Minute sketch won him the most fame, and this is what people most remember him for. However, when his best friend Chris Farley died, David Spade ceased to be funny altogether. Spade tried a few different things, including a couple of unfunny movies, a pseudo-amusing television show, and a slew of extremely annoying commercials for Capital One. None of them really boosted his career like it was in the SNL days, or when he played Chris Farley’s scrawny little sidekick.
Recently he has decided to return to his roots, that is, return to the skit people liked him best with, and is now starring in a new show on Comedy Central called “The Showbiz Show with David Spade”. The previews looked good, and I talked to a few different people about the show after it had aired, and all the 20-somethings that I spoke with gave me the impression that it was incredibly funny. So I watched. At least, I tried to. God, did I ever try. It was so painful! He could barely read the cue-cards properly and had to re-read some of his lines two or three times. After about ten minutes I had to change the channel. David Spade used to be funny, but he will never be what he once was unless he learns to read.
Let these things go, people. They are no longer as funny as they once were. They used to be funny. That’s all. Turn the channel and watch something else.