'My Generation' premiere: Now that's what I call the first decade of the new millennium!
Image Credit: Vivian Zink/ABCI’m sure that, if you’re over 30 or under 22, My Generation looks like a shambling idiot parade of “Things That Jon Stewart Stopped Making Fun Of Five Years Ago.” But you guys just don’t get it. My Generation is about my generation. I’m in the same arbitrarily defined age demographic as the characters. I am them. They are me. I was a total nerd/punk/jock/rich kid/rock star/generic-John-Hughes-stereotype when I attended my suburban high school in Suburban America, USA. Like the faceless people-bots who star in My Generation, I had a total plan for my life… but history had different ideas, y’know? I started out in college studying pre-med/pre-law/pre-Computer/pre-Heartless Banker, but I changed my major because of Iraq/Katrina/Enron/Britney. I wanted to do something important, which is why I’m currently working on financial-reform legislation and raising my best friend’s illegitimate child. While teaching English. To starving children. In Afghanistan.
None of that is true, but I still kind of liked My Generation, even though it’s a total mess. The actors are all fine – Jaime King, who once starred in a film actually titled Bulletproof Monk, could be having a Jaime Pressley moment (which is when a former Maxim cover girl gets just old enough to use her hotness to portray hilarious onscreen vanity. See also, Christina Applegate.) But everyone is playing a cliché. The show literally labels them: the jock, the nerd, the beauty queen, the wallflower. No one in my generation has ever used the word “wallflower,” except when we’re talking about how awful Jakob Dylan is.
Really, that’s the main problem with My Generation: It doesn’t feel remotely like anything from the decade it’s supposedly about. You can sprinkle in references to YouTube, reality shows, and Obama all you want, but My Generation is really just a craven attempt to turn the ’00s into the ’60s. Just look at the title: 35 years ago, The Who’s “My Generation” meant something. In 2009, it was a Pepsi commercial.
Still, the first episode was fitfully enjoyable. The soundtrack – Fatboy Slim, early Eminem, Filter – was a total nostalgia trip. Occasionally, the show will stop taking itself seriously and approach something like satire. I’m tempted to say that I admire My Generation just because it wants to be about something. But I’m not sure how patient I can be with a cast of 28-year-old infertile virgins, illegitimate prom-night children, and people with names like Falcon.
Did you watch My Generation? Did you like it? Did you like the ’00s? Can we all agree that trying to make a serious, non-comedy mockumentary is the worst idea ever? Especially when the characters keep on insisting on not being filmed?