Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Mainly Too Vain

My roommate's been watching MTV for most of the last few hours. The amount of music videos I've seen is just sad. Is this really "music" TV?

There are 12 "Music Shows" according to MTV's website. There are 60 total shows on MTV, as well.

Maybe I should cut MTV a little slack? This website quotes:
Horizon Media Senior President of Research Brad Adgate said the network has a real challenge.

"It's difficult for MTV to target the teen market, which is very fluid," he said. "Once something becomes too popular, it goes out of vogue with teens. MTV always has to reinvent a new programming genre."

Still, I think MTV is trying so much to target the teen market that they hardly play music anymore- and while I understand they have to keep viewers, they seem to have forgotten they're supposed to be Music Television.

Some of the music shows aren't even what you'd think. MTV's Total Request Live, which I remember watching fairly regularly back in middle school, is a top-10 countdown of music videos. However, instead of Carson Daly introducing the songs, occasionally with a celebrity guest, and boy bands vying for the top spot, TRL these days plays most of the top ten videos for all of 20 seconds, and a few (usually the #10 and #9) don't even get that. Instead, the time is crammed with new video premieres and visits from celebrities (but somehow they're often people I've hardly heard of, or have nothing at all to do with music). Even the played music videos sometimes shrink to half of the TV's size so that someone's poor-quality webcam shoutout can be played next to it. I don't even know why people vote on the songs; if you want to hear them, you really don't get to on TRL anyway.

With all of the non-music shows MTV has, you'd think that there were some good ones. Many of them seem the same to me. MTV has a huge stake in reality television- Real World, Road Rules, and Laguna Beach have all been extremely successful (Real World and Road Rules since the 90's, according to Wikipedia). MTV has also had some success with celebrity reality television, although VH1 seems to advertise their "Celebreality" more clearly. Newlyweds (with Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey) as well as The Osbournes (featuring the family of Ozzy Osbourne) are just a couple of examples.

But there's so little variation. Real World is in its millionth season, and every one is basically putting a bunch of people guaranteed to argue and have drama in a really sweet house in some city, and filming. Oh, and they're incredibly good-looking. They're always incredibly good-looking. There's also usually a country girl who is completely naive to urban life, someone who's gay, someone who is incredibly homophobic, someone who's a total player or slut, someone who has a relationship at home, and someone who is absolutely perfect for the person with a relationship.

Many of the shows feature high-class society: Laguna Beach and The Hills chronicle "everyday lives" of pretty girls and preppy boys with way too much money and far too few responsibilities. My Super Sweet Sweet Sixteen keeps the camera aimed on rich girls (and occasionally a boy or two) whose parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a party that their children not only aren't grateful for, but seem to feel entitled to and constantly pitch fits over. "Cribs" goes to homes of celebrities to see the frivolous houses and amenities, and "Pimp My Ride" puts the same sort of ridiculous overspending into a car. I don't know if most people who watch them are jealous or just in disbelief that people 'actually' live like this, but it still seems too ridiculous for me to even watch, most of the time.

There is some occasional variation in MTV shows, and there have been times that I've found things entertaining. But for the most part? It drives me crazy. MTV tells me one minute that I'm cool to be really skinny, dress in next to nothing, spend way too much money, and act like a drama queen- and the next minute, it's cool to turn the lights off when I leave a room to help save the planet. Oh yeah, and occasionally they play a song or two. I don't know where the music went, but MTV seems far more focused on setting trends- or following them, I can't decide which- than playing music. Apparently for some people that works, but me? I just don't care enough about what's 'cool.'

Oh well. I guess I can't complain that much. They did introduce me to a fun music video (click Candyman, and then click Video Mode in the upper right hand corner).

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