MTV: Guilty-pleasure wasteland or socially redeeming network? Or both?

MTV has a split-personality problem. When I turn it on, I never know which network I’m going to get: The sweet, socially conscious one that has brought me True Life, 16 and Pregnant, and those news specials Gideon Yago used to do? Or the bastion of vapidness known for The Hills, Jersey Shore, and hours of bafflingly watchable Spring Break coverage? Its new docu-series, The Buried Life — which premieres Jan. 18 — may just be the perfect blend of both. In it, four adorable, well-intentioned young guys travel across the country in a bus aiming to cross off stuff on their Bucket Lists; and for each one they do, they also help a stranger cross off one item on his or her own. I loved the life-affirming concept as soon as I heard it — especially as 2009 continues to kick our collective national ass. And having watched the first episode, I can attest that it is both endearing (the boys buy a computer for a needy school) and mischievous (the boys work out an elaborate plan to sneak into the Playboy Mansion, complete with a giant cake, oompa-loompa costumes, and an impersonation of soccer star Christiano Ronaldo). Of course, I doubt it will assault pop culture on the same level as Jersey Shore, since its unlikely to incite protests, scare advertisers, or inspire clever web applications. My question: Will you watch anyway? Please?

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  • Ceballos

    “Guilty please wasteland or socially redeeming network?”

    The sad part is “music” is nowhere to be found in either of those options. Hasn’t been for a while.

  • Celia

    I know right. MTV stands for “MUSIC TELEVISION”…where the f**k is the music?!!
    I don’t watch that channel anymore. All of the True Life episodes they show are now re-runs and even shows like the Real World are now too scripted and fake to interest me at all.

    • Chris

      I’m thinking it doesn’t stand for anything anymore, much like TLC isn’t The Learning Channel, or Syfy (nĂ© Sci-Fi Channel) no longer stand for Science fiction or whatever. It’s just a series of letters that people use to associate with whatever that particular station puts on the air.

      • RubyBaby

        Perhaps we could all agree that the M stands for Mediocre these days, rather than Music as it once did.

        I remember the excitement of the early 80s waiting for new vids to appear on MTV. Alas, no more, as “reality killed the video star”.

      • Ceballos

        RubyBaby-

        I WAS thinking the M stood for moron, but I’m getting ready to devour “Jersey Shore” in less than an hour, so what do I know, right?

  • kev

    I took MTV off the remote about five years ago and never went back.

  • Joe

    Who still watches MTV?

  • Kelsey

    I haven’t regularly watched MTV in years, not since I used to watch TRL in middle and high school.
    They can have all the feel-good programming on there they want. Their real problems began when they forgot what the ‘M’ stood for. They also have a tendency to hype/create fads rather than report them.

  • Frank Anderson

    I find it harder and harder to watch MTV. They just seem… irrelevant.

    They definitely are not the leaders of youth culture anymore, and have little to do with actual music.

  • Mike

    i still like watching the rr/rw challenge but if theres more seasons like the last one where douchy guys who treat everybody like shit and are too big of pussies to go in to the elimination challenges, i think ill knock down my mtv shows to zero.

  • April

    Haven’t watched MTV in years.

  • tcrab

    What are the demographics of MTV viewers now? Young with no discerning taste?

  • crispy

    I’m impressed anyone who watches MTV knows who Christiano Ronaldo is.

    • RubyBaby

      Impressive though it maybe that someone somewhere other than Portugal, Spain or the UK knows a footballer, it’s spelled Cristiano, EW, not Christiano.

  • Vetinari

    MTV stopped being any kind of pleasure around 1992 or so.

  • Sara

    How about just plain wasteland?

  • Beth

    How about when MTV used to stand for MUSIC TELEVISION? What a concept? I still can’t wrap my mind around how they can have a Music Video Awards show every year that lasts longer than the hours in a day they dedicate to showing videos.

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