For the past 30 years, MTV has been a major part of my life. And on its 30th birthday (which probably puts it soundly out of its own demographic), it seems important to acknowledge that while the show was originally a haven for music video, the network switched gears in the '90s when it more or less invented something entirely new: reality TV. Ever since Julie from Alabama met Eric the male model back in 1992, the network has been in the forefront of innovation of the genre, creating the candid reality show, the competition reality show, celebreality and a multitude of other subgenres that have transformed the television industry for good and for ill. So while there's a part of me that still misses Downtown Julie Brown, those antiquated things called videos and Remote Control, I can't help but be impressed by how MTV has changed the way TV gets real.
I watch a lot of reality television and I tend to get my hackles raised by a number of reprehensible people on those shows every week. For too long, many of them have just fallen through the cracks here because they don't really warrant their own posts for one reason or another, so I've decided to start picking the five worst offenders every week in a little round-up of stone-throwing. Below, I state the cases for this week's five nominees and then crown a winner.
It's almost better when you've got no idea what these people are talking about. Here we present the week's best out of context quotes plucked straight from reality television.
To be completely honest, I haven't watched The Real World since around the time Trishelle came on the scene, and it's for the reasons that a lot of people love the show: too much trashy drunken sluttiness and stupidity run amok. It's for this very reason that the first episode of the new season, set in Red Hook, Brooklyn appealed to me and gave me hope that the show is trying to return to its quasi-relevant, less Girls Gone Wild-y tone.
Did you guys know that South Bend, Indiana is the style capital of the world? I'd never have guessed it growing up there, but now that I think about it, I guess it makes some sense. Two out of two stars of upcoming stylist-related reality shows are from there: Anne Slowey, fashion director of Elle Magazine and Miranda Priestley stand-in in the upcoming Devil Wears Prada-themed show Stylista , hails from said burg, as does Vivica A. Fox, she of the identically-themed VH1 show Glam God With Vivica A. Fox. It is true that despite the highest strip-mall per capita density I've ever encountered in my not at all scientific surveying of such things, South Bend does boast a handful of stylish folks with a genuine flair for fashion and an eye for creativity. This wholly includes -- and I'm not at all biased here people -- me and my girlfriends. And my mom, who rocked those louvered Kanye West sunglasses before every hip hop artist from here to Dubai got grabby with them. The rest of the town, from what I can tell, is happy to offer itself up to a rather limited array of designers that spans from the Gap to Dress Barn, with some Wet Seal thrown in for the under-fifty set (plenty of soccer moms think it's really cute to dress up like mall rat Lolitas but once they hit the big 5-0 they beggar off. Even they have standards to uphold!).
Apparently, if you want Snooki from Jersey Shore to be an inspirational speaker -- or, at the very least, a speaker -- at your event, the price is on the rise. However, her less fascinating counterparts Ronnie and his girlfriend Sammi Sweetheart are a bargain-priced package deal. Meanwhile, as I noticed while watching Giuliana & Bill (don't ask!), the first Apprentice winner is doing speaking engagements all over the country, which at least makes some sense since he won a reality show involving business savvy, as opposed to getting punched in the face. And lord knows that the Biggest Loser folks are making big bucks by acting as motivational speakers. So in light of all that, here are our picks for reality "stars" that we'd want to hire for very specialized personal appearances.
I hate to start off on a rant, but I just can't wait until after the jump. Seriously, why is 90210 2.0 going to get rid of Dustin Milligan, who plays Ethan? He's one of the few characters on that show I can even tolerate. The pentapus? Kinda cute. The fact that they think he's run his course is stupid. Really? Just hook him up with a new girl. I always thought he was supposed to be the Dylan in this scenario. Which means he's got a couple more seasons of life in him yet. Instead, the powers that be are trying to find ways to make watching this show an even more painful experience than it already is (it is my job to watch it... I would have stopped long ago if I could have). Since this apparently means more screen time for the dude playing Liam, and not a promotion for the awesomely underrated Navid, I'm not happy. Okay, now on to the rest of your regularly scheduled, and less rant-filled, news.
When's MTV gonna change its stupid name already? With the recent announcement regarding its reality show-heavy slate of new shows (16 new ones in all), it's like they're not even trying to pretend they have anything to do with music anymore. It's not even like on VH1, where the shows are sort of vaguely related to music via their hosts (Rock of Love, Charm School, etc.). It's just pure unmitigated trizzash.
Finally I can sleep at night! The Daily News has reported that after much speculation (mostly by supercilious Williamsburg hipster douches -- whom I count myself among -- and bougie Park Slope moms), the new, Brooklyn-bound cast of The Real World will hunker down in the neighborhood of Downtown Brooklyn. This news makes me both relieved and bummed. On the one hand, I effing hate when TV crews get all up in my business. I've experienced first-hand their disruptive nature, first when I was forced by default to be involved in the short-lived MTV show I'm From Rolling Stone at my previous place of employ, and more recently at my neighborhood watering hole when my attempts to pound Pabst Blue Ribbon in peace were thwarted by the presence of a crew filming the new Michael Cera (swoon) vehicle Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist. (Sorry about that run-on sentence; I had a lot of name-dropping to cram in there!) Living in New York, you're automatically subjected to some measure of film crew-related annoyance because, well, people film here. But when it gets in the way of me doing my job, or worse, working on my burgeoning alcohol addiction, it is a problem.