Two fans sitting on their couch in front of a camera, in their parents' basement, discussing topics that interest them the most. It sounds like the most normal thing in the world these days — but not so long ago, it was just the stuff of comedy gold.
Wayne's World began as a Saturday Night Live sketch show in the late 1980s that epitomised the "metalhead" culture of the era. A 1992 film featured the main characters, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) leaving the basement for mainstream success.
Most recently, Myers and Carvey reprised the roles — and all of their catchphrases — for 2015's SNL 40th Anniversary Special:
In retrospect, did these two lovable rockers set the world up for the 2005 invention of YouTube, a site that has been widely used to self-broadcast homemade videos, often by fans to geek out about their favorite artists? Would so many of us have been eager to broadcast and vlog shows ourselves if Wayne and Garth hadn't had made it seem so damn fun?
The Weird And Wacky History Of Public-Access TV
Public-access television was essentially the "good ol' days" version of our beloved YouTube; it allowed members of the general public to create content for cable TV specialty channels, much like what Wayne and Garth set out doing.
Sounds like a pretty cool concept huh? Being able to create whatever you desired and it actually being aired somewhere on television? Well, the human race can't create a good concept without someone making it weird. The rise of public-access TV brought with it the rise of oddball programming featuring local amateurs such as Let's Paint, Exercise & Blend Drinks TV!, in which a suited-up, sweating man has decided that what people really need on their televisions is him painting, exercising and blending drinks all at the same time.
(Okay so maybe this is actually a pure masterpiece of airtime. Would I watch this? I mean, probably.)
Suddenly, you didn't need to impress the cultural gatekeepers to get a platform. On the other hand, you didn't need to impress anyone.
Public-access television had a terrible reputation when it came to quality, because it was filled with stuff like Unwind With the Sweeties. Ah, what a lovely title. It sounds so relaxing. Wait, why are they wearing woolen faces? What's wrong with their eyes? Let this lovely sing song remind you why people associate ski masks with bad situations...
Did Wayne's World Adjust Our Perception Of Public-Access TV?
Wayne's World evolved from a segment titled Wayne's Power Minute (1987) on the CBC Television series It's Only Rock & Roll, with the opening theme ("Wayne's World! Wayne's World! Party time! Excellent!") becoming an iconic part of the show and films ... and also a part of my everyday dialect.
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People loved Wayne and Garth's discussions of hard rock bands and "babes." Whereas the amateurs of public-access were previously considered sad-sacks by most of society, Wayne's World proved that anyone could be a star if they had enough enthusiasm. Party on, Wayne!
Wayne and Garth reminded the world why it's good to fan out, and why filming yourself is not only great fun but could also prove to be amazing entertainment. Did these two crazy metalheads pave the way for the invention of YouTube? I think so.
Only 13 years after the first film, YouTube had become the new way to self-broadcast anything your heart desires. People in the '00s have vlogged about almost anything, from beauty to gaming; it's opened up many doors and even created careers for essentially just enthusiastic fans like Wayne and Garth.
Of course, YouTube isn't without its fair share of weird and wonderful videos (I'm never going to rinse my mind of the Salad Fingers series). Perhaps the strange era of public-access has just translated to the modern platform of YouTube and the mad nature of self-broadcasting will never really vanish.
But it has to be said: the setup in Wayne's parents' basement is incredibly similar to how modern vloggers achieve success on the internet.
The Legacy Of Wayne And Garth
The film is brilliant, as it means something different to each viewer. Personally, the film reminds me of why being born on the back end of the '90s sucks, and how my metalhead father grew up in such a cool generation. For others, it's more about the comedy than the rock and roll — no one can beat the humor that Mike Myers and Dana Carvey brought to the genre.
The concept behind two guys talking to a camera seemed like a joke at the time, back when the internet was in its infancy, but it was actually revolutionary. This is how people worldwide now express themselves and their fandom. The ethos of the internet, especially in the social media age, is that everybody should have a voice if they want it.
Wayne and Garth may have been "lovable losers" in the '80s and '90s, but in the end, they made being a fangirl/fanboy completely acceptable in the '00s and '10s, which is something we all owe to the genius captured in Wayne's World. So party on, fans!
Do you vlog about the stuff you love? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below!