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Arts and Entertainment

Is there still an “M” in MTV?

By Denebola
Published: November 2008

By Michelle Mandeau

On November 16, MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL) aired its live finale after ten years. With numerous hosts such as Carson Daley, Damien Fahey, and Lyndsey Rodrigues, the show was always interesting and awkward, but in the best possible way. The popular program gave the viewers what they wanted, featuring countless celebrities and musical artists.

The best part of TRL was that it let the viewers pick the videos that they thought deserved to be on the top ten countdown of the day.

I love music that isn’t too mainstream, and when I found some of my favorite bands like All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids, and The White Tie Affair on TRL, it made me realize that they were going to be huge in the near future and gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. With the music scene at its best I can’t possibly understand why TRL ended.

This gets me thinking, without TRL, what role with the “M in MTV play? Sure they have a “band of the week, but the band only gets a few seconds of a song played in the background during a commercial for a scripted reality show.

Regardless, the “band of the week is mostly focused on the band members and not even the music. Back in 1981, the year of MTV’s conception, it was actually music television; they played endless music videos with the occasional reality show that was actually real (the original Making the Band or Singled Out anyone?).

Now most shows that the music television station airs are racy, and for the most part, are scripted reality shows such as Sex with Mom and Dad, Date My Mom, and Parental Control. Personally, I’d rather not watch a kid obscenely put a condom on a pickle while his parents watch awkwardly’€I learned enough about that freshman year in sex ed.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind some shows like True Life and Made, but that’s only because they are legitimate programs about real kids who want change in their lives. My love of these programs doesn’t negate the fact that there is a serious lack of music on the “Music Television Channel.

There was one show that MTV aired during the end of the school year and throughout most of the summer that was marginally music-related. The show was called Friday Night Music Television (FNMTV). There are rumors that it may strike a comeback in November to make up for the loss of TRL, but it is no alternative.

FNMTV has pre-selected music videos, with viewer participation capped at web-cam comments. Additionally, there isn’t any actual voting involved further limiting participation. The show further distances itself from its viewers by having a smaller, less intimate set, unlike TRL, which was set in the middle of Times Square in New York City.

I remember back in the day when I used to wake up late on Saturday mornings to find music video after music video already playing on my downstairs television. I remember  reveling in the endless stream of incredible new music on TRL and then watching even more music videos.

Until MTV is back to the way it used to be, when it was actually music-oriented television, they’re better off being called FRTV (Fake Reality Television). So let it be said, “I Want My MTV!

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