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I Love the Exties

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So you're really, really a nineties fan?

A show genre that's based all around nostalgia, aimed at both the people who grew up with and remember what the show's talking about, and those that either don't remember, or weren't born during whatever time the show's about.

The format usually involves several talking heads remembering and joking about whatever fad/toy/movie/song/tv show/event was popular that year. Can be based around a particular piece of media (music or television) or sport, but generalist shows are the most common.

Compare with Anyone Remember Pogs?, Top Ten List. The soundtrack will inevitably be Nothing but Hits. Often invokes the Nostalgia Filter. Can potentially count as Narm when taken too seriously.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The trope name and basic format comes from BBC shows I Love 1970's, I Love 1980's and I Love 1990's, each consisting of 10 hour-long episodes covering each year.
  • A nearly identical American version aired on VH1, starting with 2002's I Love the '80s. In total, VH1's covered The '80s three times (with the third series allegedly in 3D), and The '70s, The '90s, and the Turn of the Millennium twice. Notably, the later installments for the Seventies and especially the Eighties poked holes in the Nostalgia Filter by discussing shows and fads that were Condemned by History, So Bad, It's Good and/or even completely terrible (Howard the Duck, anyone?). A staple of these shows were guests cringing at the goofy fashion trends they bought into.There was also a good deal of Self-Parody in later installments — of both the growing number of shows and the regular panelists (in a '90s-related discussion of The Club anti-car theft device, comic Hal Sparks claimed that VH-1 was using it on him in the downtime between shows).
    • They also did I Love Toys. Guess what it was about? Surprisingly, it fell by the wayside and has rarely been seen since its premiere in 2006.
    • I Love the Holidays (2005) was a 90-minute special that covered pop culture relating to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's. Like I Love Toys, it only aired a few times compared to the endless repeats the decade-based shows received — strange, considering how well it holds up in The New '10s.
    • These shows were so popular that I Love the New Millennium covered the 2000s in 2008, before the decade it was nostalgically looking back at was even over. It's almost fascinating now as a time capsule for what people thought would be memorable and lasting about, say, 2007. Some looked laughably dated just a year or two down the road (perhaps most notably, a long segment about MySpace, while not even mentioning Facebook, just before the former collapsed as the latter became a juggernaut) — and yet, it's almost more apt for the sort of nostalgia the franchise was made for. In any case, VH1 revisited the decade in 2014, this time calling it I Love the 2000s.
    • VH1 also did a series of specials called When _____ Ruled the World. The Star Wars episode actually had the merit of featuring almost the entire cast of the original trilogy. Other topics included KISS and disco.
    • VH1 parlayed this format into the weekly show Best Week Ever and a yearly roundup called Best Year Ever, both of which applied the same technique to current-day events. A badly-received retool killed it for a few years before it had a short-lived revival in 2013-14.
    • Although they didn't last as long, VH1 also had Super Secret TV Formulas — REVEALED! which was more or less TV Tropes - The Series, and the even more obscure Super Secret Movie Formulas, both of which were more snarky than nostalgic.
    • Black to the Future was a four-hour production that used this format but only discussed black American contributions to pop culture from The '70s through the Turn of the Millennium.
  • In the mid-1990s, a weekly syndicated program titled Remember When focused on nostalgia, with features and segments built around the premise. The series lasted two seasons before becoming nostalgia itself.
  • The History Channel joined the bandwagon with their I Love the 1880s.
  • The NBA TV channel has NB 80s and NB 90s, discussing the goings on in the world of basketball.
  • TV Years was Sky's answer to the above and somewhat more tightly focused.
  • In specials like The One Hundred Greatest One-Hit Wonders or The One Hundred Greatest Songs of the '80s, the point is really to let C-list celebrities and critics (with an occasional B-lister or A-lister) wisecrack so much you get maybe five seconds of each song. Not to mention certain artists covered on the shows (Falco, to name one) aren’t even technically one-hit wonders.
  • Why I Hate the '60s: The Decade That Was Too Good to Be True was a snarky Deconstruction of the genre that used the same format to blast both the nostalgic image of that decade and the whole idea of these shows in general.
  • National Geographic
    • The network has The '80s: The Decade that Made Us, a 5-part miniseries discussing the events and pop culture of The '80s in America and how it set the stage for today's political and pop cultural landscape.
    • It also aired The 90s: The Last Great Decade?, which was a 3 part miniseries that discussed the events and pop culture of The '90s.
  • In the UK Channel 4 and Five seem to air a 100 Best Whatever show every few months, roping in lots of "celebs" to discuss their favourite whatevers.
    • There is a long-standing gag that there's now enough material to make Channel Four's 100 Greatest "100 Greatest" Shows.
    • Channel 4 leapt on the chance to release a new-millennium edition about as soon as 2010 started. Appropriately enough given the decade's widespread pessimism and sense of anticlimax, it was called the noughties... was that it? (yes, inexplicable-but-fashionable lowercase included).
  • Ireland's answer to this trope is Reeling In the Years, which is stock footage from whatever year they're showcasing, layered with songs from that year with comments running like subtitles on the screen. This was based more or less on a British series called The Rock and Roll Years.
    • Reeling in The Years is not really an example of this trope; songs aside most of the stock footage is of news reports, political interviews and so on and the 'comments' are strictly informative, making this much more akin to a regular stock-footage history programme, such as The Second World War in Colour.
  • Channel Nine Australia likes bringing out 20 to 1 every so often, but, rather than focus on one specific era, waddles along and tries to be nostalgic about everything that ever existed ever.
  • From 1998-2008, the American Film Institute made lists and TV specials built around the number 100: 100 greatest American films, 100 greatest film quotes, 100 greatest heroes and villains, etc. The specials tended to follow this format, with celebrity talking heads discussing the given films/characters/etc. They had a classier sheen and bigger celebrities than most in this genre, and aired on CBS. TNT also aired a 10-hour runthrough of the original "100 Years...100 Movies" list in 1998, which looked at the films in more detail than the 3-hour CBS show could.
  • In 2009/10 Russia's Channel One aired the show Heritage of the Republic (named after a Soviet film), where each episode showcased songs of a decade of Soviet/Russian history from the 1930s to the 1990s, with a separate episode for the Urban Romance genre and two non-competitive special episodes for love songs and war songs. A panel of celebrity judges and an SMS vote determined the best songs from each decade, culminating in the selection of the best song of all time. The performances of the songs were interspersed with the hosts' discussions of various fads and artifacts of the periods in question. While the mood of these discussions was generally nostalgic (since nostalgia for the Soviet Union is a mainstream position in Russia, if not the mainstream), the panelists' levels of nostalgia for the particular periods and their song styles varied greatly.
  • The Investigation Discovery channel has one about the 1980s called The 1980s: The Deadliest Decade, recounting well-known murders from each year of the decade.
  • In 2014, CNN premiered a 10-part documentary miniseries entitled The Sixties, produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, which went into detail on notable subjects of that decade (with one episode devoted simply to 1968 due to just how many major political events transpired), and primarily using archive news footage and interviews with associated figures and analysts. It proved popular enough that the series has received sequels all the way through The New '10s, along with separate spin-offs focusing on film in each decade, and a four-part miniseries on 1968 in general. It focuses more on news and world events than pop culture and has a more serious tone overall, but each series has had one episode focused on television, one focused on music, and beginning with The '80s, one episode on technology.
  • E! Entertainment Channel got in on the act when it aired "The 101" series of programs ranging from "101 Reasons the 90's Ruled" to "The 101 Greatest Chick Flicks of All Time". Overlaps with Top Ten List of course but it focuses more on nostalgia.

  • Reminisce magazine, geared toward the plus-55 group, has numerous stories, photo essays and so forth focusing on the 1920s through 1960s. The magazine has been going strong since the mid-1990s.
    • In addition, many of the numerous local "Plus 60"-type magazines and newspapers often have history columns, compiled from material provided by a local historical society or newspapers. Many newspapers – from the smallest, cruftiest mom-and-pop to the nation's largest – also have history columns, complied from various sources.

  • The Statler Brothers, a longtime favorite country music quartet, had several of its most successful singles play on the nostalgia theme. A prime example is "Do You Remember These", a No. 2 country hit in 1972 that fondly looked back at the (then relatively recent) 1950s, while "Class of '57" (released later that year) was a sometimes bittersweet look at how high school classmates fared since graduation. "The Movies" was a roll call of top movies from the 1930s on through its 1977 release, while "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott" was an homage to the silver screen cowboys of the 1930s and 1940s.

  • The genre was parodied in Armando Iannucci's Time Trumpet, which purported to be a look back at the near future produced circa 2030, with actors playing older versions of current celebrities. It got fairly surreal.
  • The VH1 shows that focused on specific fads were parodied by Gonzo at the end of I Love The Muppets, when he announced that forthcoming programmes would include I Love Posh & Becks, I Love Posh But I'm Not So Keen on Becks, I Love Becks But I Could Do Without Posh and I Love Gonzo The Great.
  • These kinds of shows are spoofed in Screenwipe and its spinoffs with the interludes with Barry Shitpeas (and later Philomena Cunk), a couple of mindbogglingly shallow Talking Heads of indeterminate social role (initially Barry was always explained as a 'comedian' in his subtitle description, but later any description of his job became surrealistic nonsense - Philomena is usually introduced with some internet-based pseudo-job such as 'Facebook Liker' or 'Animated GIF') who comment on contemporary shows in this manner. They usually have extremely limited understanding of the shows: for instance, they assume that Broadchurch is a Doctor Who reboot because it also stars David Tennant, think that Professor Brian Cox's Wonders of the Universe is about a former boyband star on his holiday slowly freaking out on drugs, and open their description of the David Attenborough nature documentary Africa with "There was this amazing programme about Africa, right, all about this country called Africa..." and goes on to explain that no-one lives in Africa because it's all full of monsters. In the Clip Show episode, the whole show is framed as one of their usual rants, with them even singing along to the theme music.