This last week was on-the-wagon time, so I spent a lot of time in the house watching German MTV. I’ve not lived in a house with MTV since 1999 and was surprised to find that it shows very little in the way of music these days. Instead it now seems to be an aspirational lifestyle channel of the sort I’d expect in a totalitarian state, with the occasional music video every hour or so. As much as I am constantly horrified I still can’t take my eves away from the screen.
‘Punk’d’ is on constantly and features lame setup gags which all involve the minor humiliation of some ‘celebrity’ or other I’ve never heard of. They often follow the same formula – Minor celebrity gets in taxi, taxi driver acts “a bit weird”, ‘celebrity’ is nonplussed and ignores them, taxi breaks down, celebrity loses temper, Ashton Kucher turns up, ‘celebrity’ pretends to be annoyed despite this attention being the highlight of their vapid life.
‘Cribs’ is mercifully short. Some famous person shows you how much money they’ve got from you the public and how stupidly they’ve spent it.
‘Date My Mom’ is a hugely staged dating show in which three braindead (and often not attractive) girls have their mothers attempt to impress a lunkheaded rich-boy who invariably says he wants something called “ghetto booty”. The idea could be promising if the producers had the nerve to just let these people interact with each-other, but instead someone decided to take the safe option and have the entire thing scripted and read out by these non-actors. The concept of ‘reality TV’ seems not to have sunk in particularly well.
‘Room Raiders’ is more of the same, only this time he looks at their room and examines their duvets for semen stains while they sit in the back of a van watching him on a monitor and getting unaccountably worked up. The whole thing is based around the idea that they didn’t know MTV were coming to their houses to do this, which begs a few questions. How were they found by MTV? How did they make sure they’d be in at the right time? And isn’t this technically abduction and breaking and entering?
‘Dismissed’ is the other dating show. Two boys try to have sex with a woman at the same time, then one of them gets told to go away. In the second half it’s two women and one man. The concept is so simple and so lacking in any sort of content that it’s a wonder it got made, let alone shown and watched by actual people.
The second worst thing on MTV is ‘My Super Sweet 16’, a half hour “documentary” in which spoiled little rich girls get to throw away millions of dollars of their daddy’s money on ludicrously extravagant birthday parties which only their most favoured 500 friends can come to. Who this is aimed at is fairly unclear. I can only guess that the producer is a revolutionary who is trying to incite the poor into a bloody uprising by rubbing their noses in the proverbial shit of their country. When they see how screetchingly grating these pampered ‘princesses’ are and how undeserving of a single cent of the vast fortunes they have surely it can’t be long before they’re being lynched in the street by a bloodthirsty mob. Ah, but maybe I’m being optimistic.
But even this appallfest comes short of the utter disaster that is ‘Meet The Barkers’. It seems that with the success of ‘The Osbournes’ some genius set out to find another rock family and settled on the drummer from Blink 182 and his ‘actress’ wife. Unlike the Osbournes the Barkers are utterly boring, cloyingly mawkish and incapable of doing anything more interesting than showing you their new house. The new house paid for by their fat MTV contract, and therefore by you, the viewer. Shanna, apparently an “amazing actress” (though the evidence for this is decidedly lacking) spends all her time crying about being tired or lying in bed with her husband. Travis is probably worse, though. Covered from head to toe with cliched tattoos and sporting a predictable mohawk he is nevertheless about as punk as Barry Manilow. Altogether the message here seems to be that two talentless and dull people have lots of money, and that’s about it. What I’ve learned from watching is that America is definitely doomed, but more importantly that punk really is dead and everyone should get over it and move on.
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