After a long weekend of tasting Chicago and dancing to Stevie Wonder and practicing my beach volleyball skills, this rainy Sunday turned into a couch-sitting marathon. And coincidentally an “I Love the New Millennium” marathon. The VH1 “I Love….” series is as addicting as Sudoku, and even more so when the commenters are talking ABOUT Sudoku. Initially I thought it was obviously too soon to roll out this series; the signs are pretty clear when you can’t even make it a clean 10 part series because the new millennium isn’t coming to a close yet! But two hours into the marathon, Kate, Doc, and I had failed to move or attempt to change the channel yet. Four hours into it and we were committed. At the Sixth hour we could predict the next event before the clip even started, yet still we couldn’t fathom changing the channel until the bitter end.
Where “I Love the 70s” was a history class for Gen Yers and hippie wannabes (myself included), and the 80s series was a challenge to see how far back into your toddler years you remember, and the 90s was an embarrassing parade of all the bedazzled memorabilia of our childhood, the 21st century series is an “in case you forgot” play by play of current events. So what was it that drew us into the pop culture explosion of products and events that we had already lived to see? Not nostalgia, not history. For me it was the underlying truth to the outlandish statements of the commenters. This goes back to my profession of love to John Stewart. The only way to survive this over stimulated, opinionated, babies-laughing-are-controversial 21st century is humor. It may be an avoidance tactic to buy more time before having to think about real issues like an economy slipping silently into a recession or being on the brink of make-or-break-the-state-of-the-union election in a few months, but why is that so bad? I watch and listen to enough vh1 clip shows and stand up and comedy central and last comic standing to see the humor in pop culture and newsmakers today. I don’t think it makes the nature of things lose importance, but gives things a spoonful of sugar twist of Mary Poppins, helps it go down easier, puts things in perspective. News is not so end-of-the-world scary and LA starlet aren’t so this-is-the-state-of-our-youth when you can laugh at them and be happy that your life does not involve paparazzi or Ann Coulter. If you listen to right comedians, they actually have great brush-your-shoulders-off views of America. Ellen has taught the world that sometimes all you can do is dance. And THAT is the greatest message of all.