MTV, the increasingly irrelevant network that has spent the past 10 years drowning in a sea of vapid blondes, tacky McMansions, and dead-eyed Californian twenty-somethings, is reportedly attempting to "do some good" for a change.
According to Tim Arango of The New York Times, the network is attempting to steer away from its idiotic slate of programming in order to keep up with the changing tastes of their viewing audience: "After years of celebrating wealth, celebrity and the vapid excesses of youth, MTV is trying to gloss its escapist entertainment with a veneer of positive social messages." In other words, in a recession, nobody really wants to watch a spoiled 16-year-old get the birthday party of her dreams.
When considering a new slate of programming for the network, executives were faced with the reality that young viewers are moving away from programs featuring rich kids flaunting their wealth and looking for shows that spoke to their sense of community, progress, and opportunities to make a difference in the world. "It was very clear we were at one of those transformational moments, when this new generation of millennials were demanding a new MTV," Stephen Friedman, MTV's general manager, tells the Times.
But even as the network attempts to change its image with programs like "TI's Road To Redemption" and the latest version of "The Real World," which, for the first time in years, followed a group of young people who weren't drunk and obnoxious 24/7, MTV still clings to the programs that keep them locked in a downward spiral: "My Super Sweet 16," "MTV Cribs," and "The Hills." MTV's President, Van Toffler, explains: "It's not like you flip a light switch from one type of programming to another," said Van Toffler, "The notion of escapism will still live next to inspiration."
But what MTV fails to understand is that their brand of escapism is embarrassing, tacky, and hopelessly out-of-touch. What may have seemed aspirational 5 years ago now seems impossible and, to a point, terrible: in a time where people are losing their jobs and homes, is Cribs, a show that pretty much encapsulates the concept of buying shit you don't need or can really afford, the best way to provide an escape to people? Or is it just a reminder that buying unnecessary things with money that one doesn't have is one of the reasons we're in this economic mess in the first place?
If MTV really wants to revamp their image and keep up with the kids, perhaps they should stop underestimating their audience and pumping out mindless bullshit shows that center solely on money and stupid things people do with it. Or, you know, maybe they could consider playing music again. Just kidding! That will never happen.