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April 18, 2014

Journal of a Couch Potato: Do I Want My MTV Again?

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 27th 2011 2:15PM
MTV We had a hard time deciding what I should watch for Couch Potato this month. I've watched women's programming all day (OWN) and The Disney Channel, and I was hoping this time that my editor -- a perfectly lovely woman who has never showed any cruel streak before -- would assign me something I was familiar with, or at least something I could identify with.

She chose MTV.

I am 45-years-old. I have not watched MTV regularly since Nirvana smelled Teen Spirit and Michael Jackson told us it didn't matter if things were black or white. I haven't "wanted my MTV" in a while. There was a time -- say, from 1981, when MTV debuted, to around 1992 -- when I watched the channel a lot. They actually played more music videos than reality shows then and the ratio of good to bad music was much more in my favor. I wore my sunglasses at night, I was caught in the heat of the moment, and I wanted Jessie's girl.

The only thing I really know about today's MTV is that they don't show as many music videos as they used to and their programming is destroying our nation's youth (according to groups like the PTC). Oh, and they're actually bringing back classic shows like 'Beavis and Butthead' and '120 Minutes.' But am I really going to be able to watch this channel at my age without wanting to change the channel?

The answer was no, but I forced myself anyway.

Monday, 10PM: 'Skins'

So this is the show that's so controversial and has advertisers dropping like flies?

Maybe it's because nothing shocks me anymore, but I didn't see anything particularly wrong with this season (series?) finale of 'Skins.' Of course, it's just one episode so maybe in all the other episodes it's just wall to wall sex and pills from the first minute to the last.

But beyond the fact that the show often seems like a few drama scenes interrupting someone's mixed tape (see, "mixed tape," that's how old I am), it was somewhat engaging. Even mysterious, with a girl possibly being kidnapped and the gang of friends (some ex-friends) getting together to find her. While, of course, sleeping together and drinking and swearing a lot ('shit' and 'bitch' are allowed, 'f**k' is bleeped).

Since this was my first time watching 'Skins' I'm not completely sure how the characters are related or what their histories are. And having only seen one episode of the British series I don't know how the American version stacks up. But beyond some shaky acting from some of the cast (many of the adults, actually) it seems OK. I don't identify with any of these kids, but I'm not supposed to.

Liked: The music, surprisingly. Nothing made me nauseous, and two members of the cast even sang a cover of "Shout" by Tears For Fears!

Hated: The commercial for Thursday's season finale of 'Jersey Shore.' Note to editor: do I have to watch that?

Question: The 1st season finale of 'The Hard Times of RJ Berger' also ended with two characters sleeping together in a hospital bed. Is this a hip trend nowadays?

Change the channel factor (with 1 being not wanting to change at all and 10 wanting to change it immediately): 4


Tags: Skins, MTV Shows



Tuesday, 10PM: 'Teen Mom 2'

The show so popular it demanded a sequel! Just when you thought it was safe to go into...

Full disclosure: I was born in the town that was in the news a couple of years ago because the high school had all of those teen girls that got pregnant (note: I had nothing to do with it) and I've wondered if this show had an impact on those girls (or vice-versa).

All I kept thinking about while watching this show was that Judge Judy would have a stroke if she watched it. It has everything she hates: kids having kids, people in dead end jobs, parents screaming at their children, people living on welfare, and just a suffocating air that permeates throughout the entire show.

Yeah, it's not a good show.

It would be good to say that the show would have an effect on teens, showing them how hard it is to have a child when you're still young. Maybe even stop teens from getting themselves in that predicament. On the other hand, these teens are on TV making money and with the music and dramatic editing and the "soap" feel of it all, it could actually have a negative effect.

On the bright(?) side: one of the couples featured on the show got married and are on the cover of the new US! So there you go: have a kid young, get on TV, and get on the cover of a national gossip mag.

Liked: The commercial breaks, so I could change the channel.

Hated: That the commercials eventually ended.

Change the channel factor: 9.6



Wednesday, 10PM: 'The Real World: Las Vegas'

I have to agree with my friend Chris when he asked why MTV gave this show two more seasons. Not only is it past its prime -- that time came in the 90s, actually -- there's nothing about it that makes it stand out nowadays. Sure, it was different and interesting back when Puck was sticking his fingers in a peanut butter jar or Judd was trying to make a living as a cartoonist or when Ruthie was getting drunk at clubs all the time (she really paved the way for Snooki). But it's just another reality show now.

In fact, judging from this episode, it's even filmed the same. 'The Real World' of yesterday was shot on video, if I'm remembering correctly. Now it's shot on film, and it looks and "feels" the same as every other reality show on the air. And that's a shame.

Of course, it doesn't really matter how it's filmed. The casts of the shows today go on these shows just to be "stars." They want the drama and are all about the drama, and there just doesn't seem to be any "there" there with these teens and twentysomethings. Sure, the show has always had arguments and too much drinking and controversies. But now those things are what the show is structured around. That's rather sad.

I know I'm way too old for this, but I thought there would be something I could identify with, but there just isn't.

Liked: Uh...the memories of the Los Angeles and San Francisco seasons?

Hated: That the show has come to this.

Change the channel factor: 7




Thursday, 10PM: 'Jersey Shore'

I tried to count the number of bleeps in the hour but the calculator I used didn't go up that high.

It's sort of amazing how quickly this show not only got popular but also how quickly it became part of the pop culture landscape that everyone refers to, even if they've never seen it (lucky them). It's the type of show that seems like both the real thing and a parody of the real thing, all at the same time.

Here's what I learned from the season finale:

• Snooki "likes to punt s**t."

• Ronnie is mad at Sammi for meeting Arvin. The music tries to make the whole plot seem like Ross and Rachel, but I don't remember them swearing this much.

• Deena is "just trying to live her life." With cameras following her around 24/7.

• "I'll be your grenade." Is this the same as "I'll be your shelter" or "your love is solid as a rock"?

• Danielle has "plans to kidnap Pauly and slowly -- slowly cut his blow down to nothing." I have no idea what this sentence means.

I think these people are speaking a foreign language. Perhaps Klingon or Pig Latin or a combination of the two.

I expected to not like the characters -- and I call them characters because who knows how much of this stuff is really real and how much things are amped up for the cameras and to give the show a narrative -- but I didn't expect the show to be so unbelievably boring. That surprised me. I thought I'd laugh and get a kick out of the antics, but it was just boring and despicable.

What did strike me though is how much this show and all reality shows nowadays owe to 'The Real World.' The soundtrack, the editing, the mix of people that are cast in the show, etc. That show has had an influence on 'Jersey Shore,' and now the opposite is becoming true.

Liked: It was like a documentary of a world and species I'm not familiar with.

Hated: Yes

Change the channel factor: 9.8



11PM: 'The Hard Times of RJ Berger'

This is a show about a guy with a giant penis. FINALLY, SOMETHING I CAN IDENTIFY WITH!

It would be really easy for this show to just be all about RJ's impressive endowment, but the show really isn't about that. I would even go as far to say that they've actually lost track of that whole plot and made it a bit inconsistent. This show is more about RJ and his friend just trying to make it through high school without being embarrassed or beaten up, and the soap element has been amped up with the love triangle between RJ, the weird girl he lost his virginity to (as she almost died in a hospital bed), and the hot blonde he yearns for. It's like a really dirty 'Ed.'

Actually, it's really an 80s teen sex comedy on a weekly basis, but it's fairly well done. Kids, try to be more like RJ Berger and less like the people on the reality shows above.

Liked: Good cast, it's wittier than you think, and it's a good mix of raunch and heart (Raunch and Heart was a great band, by the way).

Hated: Nothing, really, though I would probably keep this show on at 11PM instead of it moving to 10PM next week. This is a rather edgy show.

Change the channel factor: 2



Final Verdict

So ... do I want my MTV again? No, not really. I can imagine watching 'RJ Berger' once in a while or tuning in to see what they've done with the returning 'Beavis and Butthead.' But it's also easier, at my age, to just avoid the channel altogether. I'm at the age where the medicine commercials on 'The CBS Evening News' are more relevant to me than the ads you'll see on MTV. And that's the point where you say you not only don't "want" your MTV, you don't really need it either.


How old are you, and do you still watch MTV?

Follow Bob on Twitter.

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Brad456

MTV the channel that killed off music videos.
Down with MTV.

March 27 2011 at 10:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Meb

I have to say the Journal of a Couch Potato has to be one of my favorite things on TV Squad. Bob makes me realize that I'm not missing anything by not watching MTV. lol

March 27 2011 at 9:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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