Friday, March 15, 2013

MTV Blows

Music Television, which needs to change its name to TeenDumpNet before I smack the sandwich out of its hands, used to show Beavis and Butthead, Daria, Bjork videos, and things like this:

Now its schedule is comprised almost solely of things like this - "reality" shows that find just the right balance of depressing and boring:

I realize that we're living in a different era now, where most of MTV's target demographic is too busy scrolling angrily through the twelve flirtatious comments on their exes'  Facebook selfies to pay attention to smart, off-kilter characters and writing. Case in point, Beavis and Butthead came back with a vengeance (still funny!) but receded into the ether at some point, leaving me confused and scared. Warren the Ape debuted to an undeserved collective yawn and died a fiery death after one season.  This year, other than announcing a third season of Awkward, there are zero attempts on MTV's part to retain any shred of dignity it once had.

And it pisses me off for being so phony.  It often has no patience for "talking head" scenes, like Bravo does (but Bravo is for slow, rickety oldsters who like their episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills punctuated by ads for Lipitor and Activia), so they toss kids bland scripts and make them do stiff voice-overs.  Things along the lines of:

"I never thought that having a child would be so difficult."


"It really has made me think about what's important in life.  But I really don't know if I want to give up my dreams of being a famous model."

*sound of me falling onto glass coffee table*

I also noticed that a lot of MTV's "fights" now involve one angry (and by "angry" I mean "pretty annoyed" - you have to take the dregs of the passion department in this neighborhood) kid whining to another kid, who is staring slack-jawed into the middle distance as they "process" the angry kid's points. The rebuttal is usually something like, "Okay, well, like, that's the way things are gonna have to be."  With friends like these, who needs Lunesta?

Last night I watched an episode of True Life, which I don't believe MTV hires actors for but which I'm certain coaches and stages the shit out of the proceedings until you feel like you're watching really bad TeenNick (The Real World is in this camp, and even has shameless product placement; Sun Drop pullover hoodie, anyone?).  This particular episode enraged me on a personal level: In I Have Orthorexia, Andrew makes a "conscious effort not to poison [his] body" by going vegan. Granted, he cares nothing about animals and is vegan strictly for health reasons, but motivations aside, his absolute ignorance about his chosen lifestyle is inexcusable. In this age of Google-a-bob and Searchy McHotJeeves and such, this jackass's veganism apparently amounts to steamed vegetables, plain white rice, and water. His body becomes frail and his complexion becomes volatile. He and the people around him (including MTV's producers) send this clear message: Veganism is the product of an obsessive disorder; it leaves you feeling imprisoned by your limitations; it damages your physical health and appearance; if people just woke up and ate organic grass-fed meat that came from "humane slaughterhouses, where they're really nice to the animals" (WHAT, ANDREW?) they'd be robust and jubilant instead of a total buzzkill.

Andrew eventually eats a local, "natural" hamburger at his friend's house, and the moment is filmed as if he's getting a long-awaited "remission" stamp at Sloan-Kettering. Note that he gets the ground beef from a farmer who explains that the stress level of a cow affects the taste of the meat. That's a  shame, since getting your trachea ripped out while you're still alive usually causes a small to moderate amount of stress.

I should compose a sternly worded letter to MTV and demand that it rerun Jimmy the Cab Driver segments and the alternative/electronica/Return of the Rock morning video bursts I watched while sipping coffee through my teens and early twenties. Until I get an answer, I guess I'll move on to True Life: I'm a Bridesmaid. 
There's always Netflix....

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