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Curmudgeon: Dispatches From the Couch #2 – I Hate My MTV Part 2

The following takes place between 7am and 12pm CDT

After my last adventure, I decided to delve into MTV‘s “core programming.” I had no idea it was as bad for the intelligence as the BP spill is for the environment. Again, if MTV stuck to playing videos they’d be in fine shape. After all, when they do videos they do it right. One great thing about MTV over the years is that they seem to find ways to package and present videos that are unique to the medium.

I understand that times change and with that comes changes in programming, marketing, branding and all of that. What boggles my mind is that television, and not just MTV, seems to forget that they have a responsibility to treat their viewers with respect. This means at least trying to put up a front that you care about their brain cells.

[ad#shortpost]You would think the network that gave us Remote Control could develop some interesting programming. But alas…you would be wrong. In fact, it is safe to say that Three Mile Island pales in comparison to the disaster that is MTV’s original programming. To be blunt, it makes The Real World look like high art.

The City

The City

This show is a spin-off of the hugely massive The Hills. I didn’t make it through twenty minutes of this. Maybe it is my age, but I found nothing to relate to. To be fair, the show is about a woman who moves to New York to work in the fashion industry. There are all sorts of fashion magazine people and PR people and such, but most of them are hideously awful people. In this episode, one of the girls refused to wear the clothes of the designer, which was scandalous and terrible. Another girl is setting up a preview of her new fashion line. In between all of this is a lot of bitchy cat talk, mean-spirited banter and just a load of really pretentious and shallow people going on and on about nothing. I think The Devil Wears Prada sort of did everything this “reality” series is trying to do. One point I wish to make is this: we have a lot of brave people doing really good things each and every day to make the world a better place, so why focus on this bunch of weirdos? If they really want to make a show interesting then be different; maybe do something on the people who make costumes for theater, opera and other productions. That would be far more interesting and people would learn something. Oh, I am sorry–I forgot I am not in the target demographic and spoke out of turn. I’ll go to the back on the bus now.

Lil Wayne

Artist Collection: Lil’ Wayne

Everyday they feature an early block of videos from one artist. Today was Lil’ Wayne. I am still not altogether familiar with his music so this was at least something of a learning experience. I still can’t help but think of all the people who wake up, get their breakfast and say “Oh wow, Lil’ Wayne is on MTV” and then tune in. He is not exactly breakfast material.

I will say this about Lil’ Wayne. His videos and songs are well-produced and have an ability to reach mainstream audiences. He has a voice and can throw down. There is some style repetition but that is to be expected. I think from a music standpoint his studio producer has done a great job of making his style and delivery fit the medium. He really has a lot of talent. I don’t really enjoy all of his records but I can appreciate the hard work he puts into it. He also has presence, which is everything for a video as well an s recording. Lil’ Wayne has a tale no prisoners swagger that transfers well to the video medium. I am not sure it works in the early AM however.

Disaster Date

Disaster Date

What the hell is this? The premise is kind of cool and sadistic but inevitably cruel in a way. Basically if someone you know has set you up on a terrible blind date, you get even with them through this show. You basically punk them by setting them up on a scary ass staged blind date. Of course the blind date is a rouse with some seriously weird things going on. Oh yeah, and the blind dater is on camera and does not know it. Meanwhile, the friend of the victim coaches the person playing the awful blind date from behind the scenes to make sure things get zany. But the really sleazy part is that the person on the date gets a whopping dollar for every minute they last on the date.

It is morbid…but I did kind of like this. At times it was funny and just wrong. Although it has a great premise I fear it is just a tad too much. I am not sure I could watch it on a weekly basis. And I was disturbed that there is this “revenge” aspect of the process of blind dating. After all, maybe someone was just trying to really help a brother or sister out but was instead rewarded by this. I would not regard someone who did this to me as a friend…but I’m just saying.

Repent the end is nigh!

At first I thought that maybe the biggest problem I have with MTV may be that I am just too old for it. I am not a teenage girl or a young hipster. But then I realized that no matter what age I was this would probably be really annoying. It is not that MTV is corrupting minds or making people bad, it’s just that they are not making them any better.

They offer no escape. The world can be pretty crappy and I remember that the classic MTV was a nice escape mechanism from the late years of the Cold War. They also did this thing called “entertainment.” I learned a lot about music in my formative years from MTV. I fear the kids today are not getting much out of it other than “Hey, this is how you should act and look.” There is no rebellion; there is no fire in the network’s belly. Back in the day MTV was all about crashing parties and being different and all-inclusive. Now it’s a hodge podge of ideas and shows with no real cohesion, flow or rational behind it. It is sad really. I bet not even Sting wants his MTV anymore.

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