Like every pimply, angry at the world, sexually frustrated 18-year-old in 1999, I loved Limp Bizkit. I bought their debut album, Three Dollar Bill Y'All, and tried to convince my friends it was a unique work of pioneering greatness. I clumsily learned how to play Nookie on my bass guitar. I learned all the lyrics to Take a Look Around. I even bought a couple of Wu Tang Clan albums after Method Man appeared on N 2 Gether Now.
Then I grew up. I can't even tell you the exact moment that I stopped listening to Limp Bizkit, but I can honestly say I haven't made a concerted effort to hear a single Bizkit song in close to a decade. The band split; I didn't care. The band reunited and released a supposedly terrible album named Gold Cobra; I still didn't care - I haven't even heard it. Then the weekend brought news that Limp Bizkit had split up again. Here is a quote from singer/movie director/homemade sextape enthusiast Fred Durst:
"We haven't properly toured America since 2006. The reason? We just don't know what's going on in America ... But here's the deal: say in 2000, there were 35 million people who connected to this band. Twelve years later, lots of those people have moved on. We were a moment in time and it's over."
Say it with me: awww! Okay, you can call me a softy, but Fred Durst's matter-of-fact facing of reality made me feel a little sad for the guy. There is nothing in life which matches the experience of accepting a painful truth.
You might be wondering what any of this has to do with TV. After hearing about the demise of Limp Bizkit, and especially their acceptance that it was just time to stop being Limp Bizkit, I wondered if the same could be said of any TV shows that are still on the air in 2012: what shows lost all their relevancy many years ago?
The television equivalent of Bizkit's final whimper would be a show that gets cancelled without anyone making a big fuss. For example, when Dick Wolf's original Law & Order series was cancelled and finished in 2010, I remember many comments about how long it had been on the air and how it influenced later shows. However, I don't remember multiple "Save Law & Order" petitions being handed round the internet, let alone any "let's save our favourite show by sending this random object to the network" style campaigns, a la Chuck*. The reason, presumably, was that Law & Order just wasn't relevant anymore.
There are a few current shows that could probably drop of the schedule without any (or at least, with very little) fuss. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is one that comes to mind - and you can take your pick of the Vegas, Miami and New York teams. I'm a devout CSI watcher, having seen every episode, but if it got cancelled right now, I would probably just write a letter of thanks to the network for breaking its unnatural hold over me.
The same could be said for a bunch of these procedural franchises: NCIS, Criminal Minds and SVU have all been on the air for years, and none of them are doing anything that couldn't be done better on a newer, fresher and more entertaining show.
What about something like Californication? I like Hank Moody as much as anyone, and I think David Duchovny and Evan Handler could keep turning in the same quality performances year after year, but it does seem Californication had its peak about three years ago. There are a heap of shows on the air right now doing the same kinds of things only better. Hank can't keep lucking his way into sex with good-looking women forever.
Thinking about comedy, would anyone really kick up a fuss if the writers on The Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother just decided they had nothing valuable to say anymore and shut down production? There'd be a bit of moaning from fans, but I can't imagine anything more than that.
What do you think - what shows are completely irrelevant in 2012?
(*) I have no idea why these campaigns work. Like, when Roswell fans sent in bottles of spicy Tabasco sauce, why did the network say "oh, well, let's renew their show for two more years" instead of saying "what the hell is wrong with people and why are they sending me Tabasco sauce to save a show that sucks"? Yes, this footnote was just a paltry excuse to remind you that Roswell sucked.
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