Tuesday, March 15, 2016
When a thing stops being a "thing"
I miss when it was new. An argument can be made that SURVIVOR began the whole reality show trend (but I don’t want to damn them with faint blame). At the time it was innovative, original, and best of all – a “thing.” People talked about it the next day. The contestants became national celebrities. It was a shared event. Richard Hatch was parading around naked on TV long before Lena Dunham (and with a similar body). The first season finale drew a huge audience. Jeff Probst didn’t get on your nerves yet.
Now they’re on their 50th edition, or 103rd edition, they’ve recycled contestants, they’ve created these bogus competitions (bed wetters vs. sleep walkers), and the audience has dwindled from all of America to relatives of the new contestants.
It’s got to be tough for shows that used to be a “thing” to now just muddle along (although THE SIMPSONS have managed okay the last twenty years).
What is now considered a “star” on DANCING WITH THE STARS has been broadened to include Universal Tour Guides.
I suspect the next American Idol will get a gig at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
And then Trevor Noah took over, and although the show’s content is pretty much the same, and the numbers haven’t dropped precipitously, it’s just not a “thing” anymore. Same time, same channel, sans zeitgeist.
“Things” are fickle, “things” are fleeting, “things” rarely have a second wind. MAD MEN had its day and it was 1962 not 1969. Same with GIRLS, THE VOICE, HOUSE OF CARDS, Chelsea Handler (thank God), and Republican Debates. And enjoy it while you can GAME OF THRONES, WALKING DEAD, any Kardashian or “Housewife Of.”
But take heart. For SURVIVOR, AMERICAN IDOL, MAD MEN, and the others – Millennial nostalgia will someday become a “thing.” Like I said, I’m already nostalgic for SURVIVOR and it’s still on.