ISSUE DATE: Dec. 31, 1990
As befits the onset of the century’s finale, a mixture of earnestness and irony — a kind of American yin and yang — characterized the year. The Northwest hamlet of Twin Peaks became the moody, ironic capital of the American landscape. Madonna, the queen of camp, literally and cheekily wrapped herself in the Stars and Stripes in a larky get-out-the-vote video. Even George Bush got into the irony act when he told America that since he is President, he no longer has to eat his broccoli.
Family values were smirkily skewered on the small screen, as Father No Longer Knew Best. Dysfunctional families were the rule, and the home was no longer a haven in a heartless world. In a Thursday-night video showdown, it was irony (The Simpsons) vs. earnestness (The Cosby Show), and irony took a bite out of earnestness.
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