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Marc Mason is a freelance writer based in Tempe, AZ.

Sunday, January 23, 2005  
I LOVE THE ‘05s?

We’re three weeks in. Time to get back to work.

2005 ended rather poorly, culminating in a moment on the morning of the 31st that left me certain that I would never see the sun again. Fresh from this punch to the head from my subconscious, I woke up on January 1st with the certainty that the clock was ticking, and I had a limited amount of time to pull out of my skid. So for the first time in years, I actually set New Year’s resolutions for myself. I’m proud to report, 23 days in, that I’m doing pretty well with them so far.

The year has also gotten off to a quick and healthy start in the world of pop culture, leaving me with topics I can write about here for some to come. But at the top of the list comes VH1’s latest entry in the I LOVE THE series, the 90S, PART DEUX. Now, I’ve enjoyed each of the previous pieces of the LOVE universe, but I can admit that the first go around with the 90s was easily the weakest of the bunch, and I wondered if the concept (or the commentators) had played out. This became particularly glaring when you put part one up against the weekly snark-brilliant BEST WEEK EVER, which takes the concept and gives it an edgier, absurdist, self-deprecating tone that the LOVEs can lack. So I went into PART DEUX with my guard up.

There was no need.

I LOVE THE 90S, PART DEUX was, after watching all ten hours, the best effort in the series, period. I found myself laughing out loud much more frequently, and the editorial choices were much sharper and cleverer than they had been in previous efforts. Plus, the performers themselves seemed to grasp that there was something needed to put some juice into this effort, and at many times their comments took on a very “meta” sensibility. Perfect examples came when Hal Sparks “locked himself up” with The Club, and noted it was what VH1 did with him when it wasn’t using him for the series or when Beth Littleford beat the viewer to the punch while discussing the Energizer Bunny keeping “going and going and going… just like VH1’s I LOVE THE series.” But the producers themselves seemed to take up their efforts another notch, whether it was briefly inserting footage of SUPERMAN 2 when talking about Terrance Stamp and PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (“Kneel before Zod!” juxtaposed with Stamp in drag was a hoot) or, in a segment about raves, taking the “impressions” of techno music by a number of the commentators and actually mixing it together into a passable piece of house music.

The one single misstep actually came at the very end of the 1999 episode, as it closed with a look at the negligible VARSITY BLUES, a film that didn’t deserve the screen time, and none of the cast had really anything interesting to say about.

After a shaky outing in part one, Michael Ian Black actually performed quite well this time around, showing some smarter comedy chops and a self-deprecating spirit that replaced his previously overwrought ironic detachment. Stalwarts Sparks and Rachael Harris did their usual outstanding work, but we also got some outstanding work from comedian Godfrey and the loopily loveable Juliette Lewis. Plus, rebounding from their unfortunately stupid segment in part one, “Jay and Silent Bob Rename Your Favorite TV Show,” the dynamic duo scored much better with PART DEUX’s “Jay and Silent Bob’s Guys We’d Go Gay For” which fit the two characters perfectly. “Ben Stein’s Pimpest Tracks” was also a great bit, playing off of Stein’s hilarious deadpan persona to perfection.

Where do they go from here? Will VH1 retire the series until 2014? Will there be a second 70S take? I dunno. But if I had to guess, I’d bet we’ll see REVENGE OF I LOVE THE 80S, sooner rather than later. Or maybe I LOVE THE 90S 33 1/3.


6:25 PM

i think i know who you are....i think we knew each other in high school...seriously...and the more i read, the more i think it is you...hmmmmmm....
So e-mail me already!
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