(For those of you coming to read an MTV article that aren’t aware of the League let me explain. There is a group of pop culture writers known as the League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Once a week our leader, Brian of the Cool and Collected blog, gives out an assignment and writers from around the internet respond, share links, and comment on what each other writes. Its loads of fun and if you have a blog maybe think about signing up. This week’s assignment was When I was a kid, my favorite _______ was _______. I’ll give my response below, plus links to what other people in the League wrote up. Be sure to stay up to date on all of this over at http://coolandcollected.com/ )
When I was a kid my favorite channel was MTV.
I wouldn’t turn it on for a moment today nor would I recognize it. Just for fun let me take a look at the current TV schedule for the once Music Television network.
Ridiculousness, Snooki and J Woww, Teen Mom 2, 16 and Pregnant, Fantasy Factory, and so on.
Under the list of shows the only one that could feature any music is MTV Unplugged. Most of the shows listed above are on for hours upon hours. Snooki and J Woww is at least 100 hours of MTV’s weekly programming. (I didn’t add but I cant be that far off.) This channel is unrecognizable from what I watched as a kid. This is not the channel that I and so many others flocked to. Now here is where we get to the old complaint of MTV doesn’t play videos anymore. Lets get to the bottom of that one.
So many people come back with the argument that MTV shouldn’t play videos because no one watches them. Why spend the day waiting for the latest video from (who the hell is big right now?) One Direction when a quick trip to YouTube can bring up hours upon hours of videos from your favorite band. I get that argument and I agree with these people.
But can they play something, anything, that matters?
Sure we, us children of the 80s, would run home and turn on MTV to see 1 800 Dial MTV and find out if Poison was #1 today. Even the 90s kids had TRL. Shows that mattered. Here are interviews with the biggest musical acts of the day. Get to know them. There is no internet, no other channels that gives a shit about the people you’re interested in but MTV.
Those interviews led to memorable moments. Kurt Cobain in a prom dress. Alice in Chains going to a water park. (Yes, I miss Headbangers Ball as well.) Or N Sync, Britney, Christina, and the explosion of pop music showing up in front of a live audience every weekday with Carson. It mattered.
Nirvana Unplugged is one of the greatest albums of my generation. Stone Temple Pilots acoustic version of Plush comes from MTV. Not only did they play great music, but MTV at the time created it as well.
There was more than just music though. The first seasons of Real World was something actually interesting and ground breaking. Before it became an excuse for drunk people to be drunk or play games against Road Rules there was something of substance here.
But if we’re going to really talk about when MTV mattered look to the news and the important events of the day. MTV News, Rock the Vote, and the infamous Bill Clinton MTV interview. These things mattered and were important to us. MTV gave us a voice.
This is what people actually miss about MTV.
You know what you missed? The other great links to fellow League of Extraordinary Bloggers. Check those out below:
(Let me know if I missed anyone. Will update later!)
Cold Slither (and thanks to them for collecting the links already too!)