With the 2006 and 2007 installments, there appeared to be a dearth of topics left in the decade, at least according to VH1’s official I Love The 2000s experts. The existence of I Love The New Millennium was partially responsible for this, but there were also the supposedly 2006 and 2007-specific topics—American Idol’s Sanjaya, Paranormal Activity—which actually belonged to other years.
Unfortunately, while the 2008 and 2009 installments don’t necessarily suffer from having nothing of note to discuss (and also don’t have the shadow of I Love The New Millennium looming over them), they do continue that dip into the well of topics that began in the years prior, making the arguable claim that the height of these topics’ popularity was in fact 2008 and 2009.
The standouts are Deal Or No Deal (debuted in 2005), Friday Night Lights (2006), and Facebook (2004). While the beginnings of Deal Or No Deal and Facebook’s true popularity can be debated and argued, the Friday Night Lights segment is the most maddening. 2008 is when Friday Night Lights made the move to Direct TV from NBC in its third season. However, that’s not what is discussed. The topic of conversation remains about no one watching the show when it aired—finding themselves disinterested in a high school drama about Texas football—and instead finally watching the show on Netflix. 2008 is an arbitrary year assigned to Friday Night Lights, because apparently now it doesn’t even matter when something happened: All that matters is that it happened in the 2000s.
As a whole, I Love The 2000s has been a disappointment compared to its predecessors. Some might say that it really is because it’s too soon, but I Love The New Millennium, no matter how premature it was, disproves that; for the years that it covered, it covered them in-depth. With I Love The 2000s, it ultimately ends up being a refusal to fill these episodes with substance, instead choosing to heavily pad the episodes with things that happened, even if they weren’t the most popular or important. Maybe it’s a way to ensure that there will be something to talk about in future sequels (or even to just ensure future sequels). But in presumably planning for the future—which the superior I Love The New Millennium did not do—the series sets itself up for failure.
Simply put, those with nostalgia for the I Love The… series don’t get their metaphorical money’s worth.
It’s not as though nothing happened in 2008 and 2009. The beauty of these being the two years I Love The New Millennium didn’t cover is that there’s room for prime uncharted I Love The… territory. The 2008 and 2009 lists aren’t as dire as the lists for 2006 and 2007, but still, so many topics are left unmentioned.
Conan O’Brien took over The Tonight Show (and all of the chaos that would come of it). Michael Jackson died. VH1’s Celebreality also died, but the fact that it was because they let a murderer on two of their shows is probably the reason they they don’t want to reminisce about. Talk about Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs is old hat, but to say it wasn’t a huge pop culture event at this time is simply ridiculous, especially when bacon is considered a topic worthy of a full-length segment. As for the political aspect, the Rod Blagojevich impeachment scandal was all over the place in the media. Also, Slumdog Millionaire, Inglourious Basterds, The Hangover, and Iron Man all came out in these two years, and it’s very unlike the I Love The… series to pass up the chance for their commentators to to talk about movies they can quote while doing terrible accents.
As discussed in previous reviews, in the past, the I Love The… series functioned as a pop-culture educational tool for the generations who were too young to really remember or know about a previous—or even the current—decade. However, the previous installments were also rather comprehensive in order to appeal to the audiences who could remember and look back fondly (or miserably). I Love The 2000s instead chooses to just focus on building up those next generations with a nostalgia for the things they wouldn’t otherwise remember or know about and ignores the other generations who do have a vivid memory and have legitimate nostalgia. Basically, the problem with I Love The 2000s isn’t the series being on too soon—it’s that the series has ramped up the use of manufactured nostalgia, making it a shell of its former self.
And also that there’s no Michael Ian Black in sight.
- How Old LaToya Was Here: I was entering my 20s and cursing ABC as they canceled Dirty Sexy Money, Eli Stone, and Pushing Daisies.
- On a too-obscure-for-VH1’s target audience note, 2008 and 2009 were also a pretty interesting time for science fiction. We saw the name change and re-branding of the Sci-Fi Channel to Syfy, as well as the beginnings and endings of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse, Warehouse 13, Fringe, and Battlestar Galactica.
- During the Breaking Bad segment, every instance of the commentators praising Walter White for being a “badass” and making you want him to get away with it all is hopefully one of those pop-cultural education building blocks that doesn’t stick.
- “Who knew that Liam Neeson was a badass?” Is it safe to assume the answer to that question is anyone who watched Batman Begins, the movie that came before The Dark Knight, which had its own segment?
- It has been a pleasure writing about I Love The 2000s and discussing the nostalgia factor (as well as lack thereof) with all of you. Perhaps I’ll see you again next year for I Love The 2000s: The Streets. If it’s really called that, I want royalties.