Zwiebel: Requiem for a pop culture era

The biggest news I heard this week wasn't about the upcoming elections or something important going on campus. It was something far more important: This is the end of an era. Total Request Live has been cancelled.

This disheartening news was probably coming for quite awhile. Who among us had sat and watched a whole episode of TRL in the last couple of years? But while flipping channels last year, I saw Denzel Washington learn the "Soulja Boy" dance from two hysterical teens. I laughed, cried and realized I'd rather be watching VH1.

Then Carson Daly left in 2003 and the whole show went downhill. As MTV overall stopped showing music videos, TRL followed suit and became a tourist- and fan-frenzied hot spot of Times Square. Something about the original host leaving ruined TRL for the original viewers. They tried to revamp it, but, alas, all good things must come to an end.

Why is it an end of an era? Well, maybe you will never admit to listening to pop music, but whether you admit it or not, you were influenced by TRL. Either you watched TRL and emulated the music, or you heard what TRL was playing and refused to listen to anything but the exact opposite of it. Either by choice or subconsciously, you were influenced by TRL. Sorry musical elitists of Geneseo and especially WGSU; TRL shaped the way you grew up.

The countdown show started in 1998; at that point, most of the Class of '12 was 8, while most current seniors were 12. These were our formative years. We learned about what being "pop" was by being introduced to thousands of pop-artists. MTV made the pop music we rationally call our "guilty pleasure playlist" with the introduction of TRL.

While I can't vouch for everyone, I'm pretty sure we all have an "embarrassing" artist, song, or "my first concert" story hidden away somewhere, most likely because of the pop-centered TRL affect.

Even more absurdly, the end of TRL is the most talked-about news of this week among most teens, even though not 50 blocks from the TRL studios, the stock market has begun to plunge in a very Black-Tuesday-like way. Nothing over the last 10 years has defined our generation more completely than TRL, which the Los Angeles Times has called the "steady pulse of tumult."

For those of you wondering if TRL will go out with a bang, the answer is, of course, yes. As with all true entertainment shows, there is symmetry to the process of cancellation. For 10 years, TRL was a top 10 countdown show. Fittingly, for their big finale in November, they'll go out with a 10-year bang.

Most likely the aforementioned pop greats will show up. Hosts, guests, thousands of fans, the Naked Cowboy of Times Square and TV crews will be there. It won't actually be live, just taped live. It won't have any music videos, just a few clips of the newest Miley Cyrus song. Girls will cry. Others will freeze outside in the NYC November wind chill.

For those pop music hating elitists in the 14454, however, be assured there are thousands of NYC commuters happier than you to see the tumultuous, screaming fans of TRL gone off the streets and sidewalks - at least for a while.

Kelly Zwiebel is a junior English major and publicly admits she's hoping for Britney's comeback.