I grew up on MTV. I give it more credit for forming me than I give my parents, peers or schools.
But the MTV I knew is gone.
Now it’s seven different variations of “The Hills,” another redundant season of “The Real World,” reruns of the corniest dating shows this side of “Rock of Love with Bret Michaels,” and whatever show Diddy has in rotation this season.
What happened? Why did MTV abandon us? I blame Viacom (the owner of MTV, VH1 and BET among other cable networks) and corporate greed. They treat all of their stations as one giant conglomerate and cross-pollinate each network with one another’s shows. In the words of Charles Barkley, “It’s turrible, Kenny, just turrible.”
I think somewhere far along the road they lost their souls and forgot what MTV actually stood for, and that has led to its downfall. Not only did it abandon my generation, but what about the younger generation growing up without MTV there to hold their hands? If playing R. Kelly videos on television doesn’t count as child abuse, then not playing them should.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty upset about what’s happened to my beloved network. The transition has been happening for a long time, but it has gotten ridiculous over the past three years or so.
Remember how big of a deal “Making the Video” used to be? It was an event. Allow me to tell an anecdote explaining how important this show was. In sixth grade, one of my teachers had recorded the “Making the Video” episode for ‘N Sync’s “Pop” and we watched it in class. Yes, that was very unprofessional on his part, but to be fair, it was an English class and, apparently, I still learned how to write just fine.
As recent as 2006, it was still pretty special when a big-name artist released a new video. When Justin Timberlake premiered “SexyBack” it was played at the top of the hour, every hour, for an entire day. By the end of that day I had been taken to the bridge and the chorus more often than freshmen got taken to Quinn’s by Cabbie D.
Now, there are no more videos on MTV. Period. Unless, of course, Michael Jackson just died. Then the next two weeks his videos will get constant play for the sake of ratings.
Probably the most blatant way to see how little remains from that era is to look at Carson Daly’s career. He’s on at 1:30 a.m. on NBC, and no one watches him. When Conan O’Brien moved up to Jay Leno’s job on “The Tonight Show,” Carson Daly wasn’t promoted to Conan’s spot. Instead, Jimmy Fallon got it. In 2009, Carson doesn’t have enough pull to trump Jimmy Fallon for a show that starts after midnight? Really? This is the same guy who introduced me to ‘N Sync, Nelly and Limp Bizkit, and I thank him for it. I don’t want to know what my life would be like without Carson Daly.
I want the old MTV back. I want Dave Holmes, Ananda Lewis and Jesse Camp to interview people in Times Square while Britney Spears is waving from the window in the “TRL” studio and Carson reads the number one video off of a cue card. Is that so much to ask?
How am I supposed to learn the words to songs without “Say What? Karaoke?” How am I supposed to know how to tell a girl I don’t want to date her from the first minute I meet her without “Next?” How am I supposed to come up with pranks if I don’t have Ashton and “Punk’d?” I guess I’m going to have to start taking advice from MAXimum Exposure.
So MTV, take all the money you’ve made off of the “Laguna Beach” cast and put it towards developing a time machine. Then use it to bring back the MTV I grew up on, the one I knew and loved. If you don’t do it for me, do it for Carson (he needs it more than I do).