Who says it's too soon for 1990s nostalgia? Certainly not VH1, which this week airs the fourth edition of its retro-chic amalgam of movie and music clips, celebrity interviews, and random trivia. With the success of the network's three previous flashback series ("I Love The 70s," "I Love The 80s," and "I Love The 80s Strikes Back"), "I Love The 90s" was inevitable.
For the uninitiated, the show takes on the mildly daunting task of compressing all of the pop culture from a given year into a single hour. The breakneck pace of the show makes for some strange juxtapositions, such as commentary on how both actor/comedian Pee Wee Herman and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seemed to share an affinity for adult entertainment.
Despite the quirks, each episode follows a somewhat conventional format. Coverage for each given year inevitably includes any breakout bands or one-hit wonders, meaning that 1991 sees clips of both the now forgotten Seattle grunge scene with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden as well as the also forgotten Gerardo singing his only hit ("Rico Suave"). Also included for each year are the top films ("Dances With Wolves," "Pretty Woman"), fads (slap bracelets, Guess jeans), television ("Twin Peaks," "Beverly Hills 90210") and scandals (D.C. Mayor Marion Berry's cocaine bust, the Clarence Thomas hearings, etc.).
Sprinkled liberally between clips are short bits of commentary with C- and D-list celebrities and comedians. While most of these fall flat, usually because there just isn't that much to say about what we were watching and listening to 14 years ago, Hal Sparks and Michael Ian Black each manage to get a few laughs.
Though the show is off to a decent start with 1990 and 1991, both of which aired last night, it may be harder to pull off the same nostalgic feel by the end of the series. And, since we're still smack dab in the middle of the 00s, where will VH1 go next? Can we look forward to seeing "I Love The 60s," or even, God forbid, "I Love the 50s"?