"It's hard to remember now, but at one time, MTV really was watched just like commercial radio was listened to: you would turn it on and see what came around, and if you particularly liked a video, you'd wait a while and hope you heard it. That's what half the slumber parties of my adolescence were about: waiting for Michael Jackson or Duran Duran.
We don't wait very much anymore. It's not just that this model of MTV largely went away, or that getting most of your music listening through the radio faded. It's that the entire idea of ephemeral availability — that you would have to sit and [...]
What with Dan Cortese turning 45 today, this is as good a time as any to recommend Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks' I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, which will be out shortly in a revised paperback edition. I was down with a bad cold over Labor Day weekend and pretty much devoured this sucker; it looks long, but the oral history format makes everything easier to digest, and there were so many things in there that I had forgotten about; although, oddly, the name "John Norris" is never once mentioned. Anyway, you should totally get it. Also, again, Dan Cortese [...]
"I Just Want My Pants Back" premiered last month on MTV. It's about four attractive post-grads living in Williamsburg, dropping pop-culture references to the tunes of its hipster-friendly soundtrack. RJ and Jon, our two in-house young-altbro would-be music writers living in Williamsburg, greeted the show with guarded optimism—even some excitement. But as the show has progressed—tonight is episode 10 of the 12-episode first season—they may have become just the latest generation to discover the heart of sadness in the world of MTV.
JON: So "Pants" was kind of a bummer, right? Five episodes in (approximately, er, three weeks ago) and Jay and Tina’s Brooklyn-based adventures in hip young [...]
The crowds have swelled on Sixth Street. This city is full. I am barely alive. Being slightly buzzed on caffeine and beer have become routine. The so-called utopia has caught up with me.
I am out of my mind standing on a red carpet next to journalists from college outlets. I am really thirsty. I’ve never been on a red carpet and this carpet is black. I am not familiar with any of the artists. Who are these people? A publicist tells me the name of a band she wants me to talk to. I Google them. Wikipedia doesn’t even know who they are. I don’t have any [...]
Kanye West has made it official: The Twitter-happy MC will return to the Video Music Awards in a semi-official capacity next month, when MTV's pioneering effort in making the world's media pay close attention to things that are completely made up celebrates its 27th anniversary in Los Angeles. West, of course, spawned global outrage (and hundreds of thousands of super-hacky jokes) when he rushed the stage during an acceptance speech by Taylor Swift during last year's broadcast, an incident that I'm still not sure wasn't entirely planned, executed, and disseminated for the purposes of MTV attracting eyeballs to what was shaping up to be a pretty lackluster show. [...]
At the end of her New Yorker piece on the Jersey Shore phenomenon, Nancy Franklin (basically) concludes: "this reality television show is kind of trashy!" Yes, Nancy Franklin, it is trashy. It is the latest in a long line of reality series designed to showcase some of the worst-and most entertaining-aspects of human nature. And Franklin is the latest in a long line of critics and viewers to notice that these Jersey Shore people are kind of weird with their questionable aesthetic choices and their odd vernacular and also, they drink and go out dancing and occasionally mack on each other!
Unfortunately, Franklin's piece, though it epitomizes [...]
Not long ago, MTV made an unusual appeal: It asked for help finding information about one of its own shows. The show was "Buzzkill," a hidden-camera program that ran in 1996. The plea came from MTV's Guy Code blog:
If you try to find old clips online, they're nonexistent. Seems impossible, right? The web is where you can find the most obscure remnants of every era, the most disturbing videos the human mind can conjure. And yet it has seemingly been scrubbed clean of all "Buzzkill" details…. Internet, we need your help. We must uncover the truth of "Buzzkill." Send us your tips and clues. Better yet, if you [...]
Remember that time a style show premiered on a TV channel and it featured Jane Pratt, Winona Ryder, Kurt Andersen and three little oddball magazines called Fame, Details and Spy? Of course you don't, you were probably in third grade. THE YEAR: 1989. THE CHANNEL: MTV. And here is a detailed account of all that magic, from "House of Style: Episode One." Oh and after that, there are many, many more. Like, twelve seasons more. (Don't miss episode 5, which had Cindy Crawford and Tracey Ullman in bathrobes gabbing. In The Plaza.)
By way of introduction, RJ Cubarrubia and Jon Blistein are two altbros living in Williamsburg. They’re both trying to be music writers. RJ and Jon consider themselves quite culturally aware, but also recognize that their existence is made up of run-of-the-mill hipster clichés—hipster clichés which are now reaching larger audiences thanks to things like Bon Iver, Wes Anderson flicks, Honda commercials with Vampire Weekend, the term “buzz band,” etc. Some of this has been good; other stuff… well. Now there’s MTV’s "I Just Want My Pants Back," a show about four attractive post-grads living in Williamsburg, rife with pop-culture references and a hipster soundtrack. As solid members of the target [...]
There are many things about this 1995 MTV News clip about "the Internet" that show how much things have changed in a relatively brief period of time, but I think perhaps the most significant is that MTV figured people would sit through at least four minutes of footage about a single topic. God, things were different then. [Via]
"MTV has announced it will put Snooki in a ball and drop her from on high on New Year's Eve in Times Square." Fantastic! I knew, what with the way things are going and all, that we'd try to reinvent public executions soon enough.
MTV, announcing the passing of Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, provides some context for the kids: Big Star influenced other areas of pop culture as well. "In the Street," one of the songs from their 1972 debut album #1 Record was the theme song to "That '70s Show," re-recorded by fellow power-pop legends Cheap Trick. Plus, the title of Katy Perry's hit "California Gurls" is a nod to Big Star's "September Gurls."
"My manager, Bradford, he's from Mississippi, and he's a huge Big Star fan," Perry said. "And with the death of one of their members [Chilton], I had just written that song, and he's like, 'Katy, just [...]
I don't know why I care, because I am not 17 to 24 and a lass, but I am pleased as punch with the cancellation of Alexa Chung's chat-Facebook-faux show on MTV. It was AWFUL. It was clearly garbage from the moment she announced it at the MTV ad-buyer upfronts. The head of programming crowed, "It's like if MTV and Facebook had a baby"! (To which we responded: "She is just Rocketboom plus Julia Allison plus platform extension, which I guess means there will be like eight girls locked in a room somewhere chatting on Facebook with viewers, sending messages that exhibit all the acumen and emotional connection of [...]
Did you miss this on Friday? It's very possible that you did. What with the hurricane and the election and the fact that we're about a week a way from Thansgiving—which means the nonstop onslaught of Christmas "cheer" should be forcing itself up into you any second now—it seems like everything has suddenly accelerated, and there's ever so much more to miss. So in case you didn't catch this one, sit yourself down (if you are currently unseated) and enjoy. As far as these things go it's actually pretty good.
“[That] anti-establishment, sticking-it-to-the-man mentality. They’re the ones saying, ‘I’m going to butcher a whole pig and serve you its face, and if you don’t like it, too bad.’” —Lollapalooza culinary director Graham Elliot, on how celebrity chefs are the new rock stars. You know, for the most part, I am okay with the cultural ascendance of food in America. I like food and I like it to be good, and if silly fetishization and despicable words like "foodie" are the price to pay for an increase in the quality and availability of things for me to eat, fine. But this is all starting to feel like a [...]
1) Who is your favorite Beatle? A) John: +0 points. B) Paul: +1 point. C) Ringo: +0 point. D) George: +5 points.
2) Who is your favorite musical Jackson? A) Michael Jackson: +0 points. B) Janet Jackson: +0 points. C) Wanda Jackson: +0 points. D) Jackson Browne: +5 points.
3) How many members of the Indigo Girls can you name? For each one, +5 points.
4) Do you own any jazz records? A) Yes, many: + 0 points. B) No, none: +3 points. C) I own one jazz album, “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis: +3 points. D) Yes, I own several Kenny G albums: +5 points. [...]
"The payoff of surviving your 20’s has to be that when you make mistakes or fall down the stairs, literally or figuratively, you don’t think of yourself as a person who makes mistakes or falls down the stairs. There’s too much historical evidence that you are not always the one: sometimes I am the one, sometimes he’s the one. Your hyperhidrosis ain’t shit, girl, compared to the cystic acne over there and the IBS way over there and the narcolepsy in the back. But of course it’s all there is, until you become Larry David (the metamorphosis starts early, but the progression is slow and almost imperceptible (only remarked [...]
If only Brad Ferro, a 24-year-old former gym teacher, had, while drunk off shots the color of stop lights, hauled off and smashed in the tanned faces of someone named Ronnie or Vinnie, perhaps then he'd still have his old life. If only he'd taken a step back from that Seaside Heights nightclub bar, dropped his shoulder and thrust his fist violently into the famous abs of Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. Or, you know, if only he'd decided not to hit anyone. Perhaps then he wouldn't have been fired from his job, convicted of assault, forced to attend anger management classes and finger-wagged into begging for forgiveness in [...]
Next week, MTV will debut the new reality show MTV Hired, which is sort of like Made with résumé counseling; young people will be given the chance to go for the job of their dreams, and taught dos and don'ts of job-hunting involving things like folding your résumé so it fits in your jacket pocket (don't!) and knowing the nuts and bolts of the companies being applied to (do!). The candidates get interviewed and talked about behind their backs and eventually one person "wins" the job, while the others are forced back into the world of checking Craigslist and watching MTV all day. Since the term "dream job" [...]