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Friday, December 3, 2021

Variations on a theme

Maybe it’s the Thanksgiving season that’s making me all nostalgic for pre-college/childhood relics. Could it be the return of holiday foodstuffs at grocery stores or the change of the weather and its autumnal wardrobe changes?

Considering my upbringing and couch potato tendencies, the answer should be obvious: It’s television that is feeding my sentimentality. However, the main source of my reminiscing fit is not holiday-themed family commercials or even ads of Black Friday salesit’s MTV! Even better!

So imagine my amusement when MTV said farewell toTotal Request Live,better known as TRL. For anyone unfamiliar with the premise of the show, TRLwhich premiered in September 1998featured a countdown of 10 music videos. Doing more than appealing to trend-seeking teenyboppers, the show’s creators also tugged on America’s democratic-loving heartstrings: Viewers would vote on their favorite music videos, and the popular vote would win out, earning a spot on the countdown. The show even incorporated its own version of electoral term limitsafter 65 consecutive days on the countdown, the music video would be put into the retirement vault.

I can’t say that I didn’t see the end comingin fact, I thought it was long overdue. In itsglorydays, a.k.a. back when I was in the seventh grade and Carson Daly was young and mildly attractive (keep in mind, I’m being generous here), TRL was the purveyor of all things cool. Fans would gather outside the TRL studio in Times Square, sporting their cutest band tee and holding up signs that proclaimed their undying love for timeless musicians like LFO or Vitamin C.

Then came the advent of YouTube. Thanks to this nifty little website, a music video wouldn’t have to be cut off a minute thirty into its playtime or interrupted by that shout-out feature that no one except for the shout-outer and the shout-outee cared for.

Another contributor to the fall of TRL was the rise of the vaguely defined yet all-encompassingindiesubculture/music genre. The obscure became more popular, ironically enough.

MTV attempted to solve this problem with the relaunch of MTV2, a sister channel aimed at promoting the undiscovered and up-and-coming as well as showing full-length music videos. Besides an unfocused approach to marketing music, MTV2 also failed to capture a wider audiencein other words: Not everyone wants to pay extra to access the channels higher than 100, MTV!

But really, is it the quality of music and pop culture that has changed, or have my own preferences just matured? Can I truly argue thatN Sync is better than the JoBros (answer: Of course notboth are great!), or that TRL favorites such as Eminem or Juvenile had more to offer than the rappers of today? Does today’s Britney Spears compare to Britney Spears circa 1999?

After shedding light on issues of social significance and other important stuff like that, the underlying question still remains: how is John Norris still on MTV? Perhaps I haven’t been watching enough televisionI mean, doing enoughresearchon the subject, but I can’t see how the network can seriously utilize an educated man such as Norris to report newsworthy events in the midst of other informative programs such asThe Hills Aftershow.Not to mention: Dude’s hella old and has funny hair.

 

Fun fact: John Norris is vegan! One more cool point for him. Check out his sweetdo and PSA on peta2.com, or send your thoughts to RACHEL FILIPINAS at arts@theaggie.org.

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