The Dead Kennedys once demanded its demise. But MTV shall always remain an arbiter of where we are as a society. When the music television network decided to stop showing videos and put all their chips on original programming, the pushback was furious. But soon those extended arms would become open and welcome. Because the new MTV shows knew what we wanted.
These classic MTV shows had glorious characters and patent fuck-ups. Remember the animated heroine that was the patron saint of Generation X? How many loyal viewers planned their dinners (and set their TiVos) to howl at some of rock music’s biggest characters? And if we’re being honest, there were entire concepts that would never ever play in today’s ultra-woke culture.
We do know this: Hindsight is always boss. Looking back on this list of MTV shows often feels like having a ringside seat for someone’s emotional decline. Parents picking their kids’ love interests! Busloads of potential suitors completely unafraid of brutal rejection! Your favorite drummer with a Mohawk! Ungrateful 16-year-olds! MTV knew how to bank on our schadenfreude.
We do miss these these cancelled MTV shows because they remind us of a new golden age of TV: reality. These were the shows our parents hated us watching, but we couldn’t get enough of them. It was no big deal if we missed an episode. MTV had our backs, replaying blocks of shows on the weekends so we’d never get the FOMO. It made our weekends feel slower.
We indulged in these MTV shows when the world stopped being nice and started being real. They filled in the gaps between dead-end shifts in retail and studying for the SATs. Then again, they also took up the space between viewings of “I’m Not OK (I Promise)” and “Dance, Dance.” Enjoy the video.