Call for Comments: The Next Big Thing™… that wasn’t…

From Mav: Well, this is just a silly idea for a show and I’m not even sure where to go with it. But that’s what calls for comments are for, right? Anyway, this was suggested by friend of the show Joe Darowski. Joe wants to talk about “Flash in the Pan” Pop culture. Think of this as “one hit wonders” but not necessarily just related to music. It’s actually pretty easy to do with music. First of all, there’s obviously a lot of them. But also a lot of times you don’t expect whoever is having a catchy tune moment to keep going. No one thought Lou Bega was going to be huge. We loved “Mambo No. 5” for what it was and we all knew “six months from now, we’ll all forget about this when someone lets the dogs out.” But what we’re looking for here is things that were supposed to be “The Next Big Thing™” in pop culture but then sort of fizzled and died after a short time. There are a few ways you can think about this. There are pop culture icons (actors, musicians, films, books, inventions, trends, whatever) that really did have a hit and everyone thought they were going to have huge careers or media franchises. Then there are the things where people were predicting “this is going to be huge” before it ever came out and then… it wasn’t.

A good example of the first way I’m thinking of here is M. Night Shyamalan. He certainly hasn’t “gone away” per se. He’s still making films. But he was supposed to be king of the world after The Sixth Sense and then… that didn’t happen. He had several chances where people were like “ok… The Village... ok… is this something?” and then… after a while the world sort of eventually decided “nope, this is nothing.” He’s an odd one because he has just enough success (like with Split) that he stays sort of on the cusp of cultural zeitgeist. He’s never really just straight up gone away. Another more classic example here is Hayden Christensen. Obviously he got to be in a couple Star Wars and then was going to be huge and … wasn’t. A big part of that may be that people kind of eventually decided they didn’t like those movies and he took a lot of flack for them… but at the time, people were really into it. But my point is, would you recognize Hayden Christensen if you saw him today? What if I told you that he’s the guy who was standing behind you at the store the other day. I mean, you’re saying “no he wasn’t…” but admit it… you’re not sure!

But then there’s the stuff that is sort of expected to be a hit… and the hit never comes. I’m thinking here of like the Dark Universe film series. Or Armie Hammer’s career. Seriously, why is Armie Hammer famous? Like… I actually did like him in The Social Network but that’s actually kind of a bit part and its success has as much to do with the special effects as anything else. What has Armie Hammer ever actually starred in that anyone likes? A couple of my favorites here are Piper Perabo and Izabella Miko. They were supposed to have their big breaks in Coyote Ugly. And really, both were great in it. And they were very attractive which, to be a Hollywood actress, obviously helps. You know, except for the small part where I was the only person who watched that movie. And I certainly was alone in watching Lost and Delirious and The Forsaken and I’m quite certain everyone else is going “what?” I think a lot of technology “next big things” fall in here. Google has a bunch of them because they have a habit of pushing huge marketing towards beta ideas and then sort of letting them sit until people decide they don’t care. The ones I’m thinking of here are Google+, Google Glass and Google Wave. Sometimes there’s even a trend that fits here. There was a time after 50 Shades started to take hold where everyone thought that BDSM fantasy porn for middle American housewives was totally going to be “a thing”. But then… it just sort of… wasn’t.

But none of those examples seem absolutely definitive. The hard thing on this one is the entire point is “what makes something huge for a hot second and then every one forgets about it” and like… I’m having trouble remembering things that I’ve forgotten about. Maybe I’m too plugged into pop culture. Because like, even with Hayden Christensen, Piper Perabo, Izabella Miko, and Armie Hammer… despite making fun of them, I’m actually quite aware of projects they’ve both been involved in relatively recently. Really the examples I wanted to use when I started writing this were Phillip Michael Thomas and Pia Zadora… but I didn’t think anyone would even get the joke. I was a huge Dominique Swain fan. There was a five year period from 1997 to 2002 where she started in a dozen movies! Most of which I’ve seen and she’s phenomenal in them. But I know pretty much anyone reading this isn’t going to know why she is without googling… and maybe not after that.

So that’s where we turn to you. Give us some examples. What are things that were supposed to be the Next Big Thing™ and failed. Music, movies, TV, actors, books, technology, whatever. And why do you think it happens?

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