Sunday, April 02, 2006

I no longer want my MTV

I’ve been watching MTV Canada all weekend. Strictly for research purposes, of course. I’d heard a lot of hype about the relaunched Canadian station and wanted to check it out for myself.

The verdict? Well, it’s more insipid, vacuous and irrelevant than the critics said it was. But its sheer absurdity is also what makes it highly addictive. My complete analysis is below:

1. MTV Canada is not like MuchMusic. For example, MTV doesn’t play music videos. Ever. As far as I can tell, MTV Canada has nothing to do with music at all. This is because MTV Canada is not licensed to be a music channel. It simply runs American MTV reality shows about rich, beautiful people. It also runs reality shows about poor, ugly people (it’s inclusive like that). Once in a while we see the ditzy Canadian MTV hosts sitting on a couch discussing these shows. Sometimes there is a live audience, sometimes not.

2. MTV Canada does not have VJs (you can’t have VJs if there are no videos). MTV Canada has hosts. The purpose of these hosts is to provide Canadian content, which they do by sitting around on couches talking about the aforementioned American programs. Sometimes they interview people, sometimes not. They almost never talk about music, which is understandable because we’ve determined that MTV no longer has anything to do with music. Watching these hosts in action is like watching a community cable show produced out of someone’s basement. It’s painfully amateurish.

3. Daryn Jones is one of the aforementioned MTV hosts. This is huge a step down the career ladder for Mr. Jones, who most recently worked as a writer and a correspondent on Rick Mercer’s show. What happened? Did he get fired? Daryn Jones looks about as uncomfortable and out-of-place as I feel watching him sitting on a couch surrounded by some of the stupidest people in Canadian television.

4. I learned a lot of things while watching Canadian MTV. Like how posting topless pictures of yourself on your website is an easy way to increase traffic. During one segment, the hosts invited some local web "experts" to come to the show to talk about online trends. According to one of the cute girl experts, the biggest trend is to post pictures of your naked breasts on your website. She told us all the cool kids are, like, totally doing it. We were then treated to several screen shots of said girl’s naked breasts (with a black bar blocking out the naughty bits). This revelation provoked a round of in-depth questions from the MTV hosts, such as "So, like, do a lot of guys come to your website because of these pictures?" and "What’s your web address again?"

5. The forced banter between the hosts makes me squirm. Here are two examples:
Male host: So you’re going to have a good weekend?
Female host: I’m going to get hammered. Woo!
[insert weird, awkward pause]
Female host: So, like, this building is 100 years old and there’s ghosts and stuff. Like, I’ve heard total ghost stories about this place.
Other female host: Oh my god. I’m, like, totally getting goosebumps.
[insert weird, awkward pause]

6. When the hosts are on, MTV Canada is very, very bad. When the hosts aren’t on, MTV Canada is very, very good. That’s because it runs nothing but American MTV reality shows. Reality shows about wannabe models, reality shows about bored, rich teenagers living in California, reality shows about rock stars, reality shows about cars, and even reality shows about former child stars. I am addicted to each and every one.

7. The best of the aforementioned MTV shows is Laguna Beach. This is a reality show about spoiled, rich teenagers living in Orange County, California. Pretty much nothing happens. The girls are catty and bitchy. The boys are clueless. The boys also take turns dating these catty, bitchy girls, which only makes them more catty and bitchy. Sometimes there are major crises, like when one girl is embarrassed because she drives a jeep but, luckily, daddy comes to the rescue and buys her an Escalade. There is no point to this show. It’s just a voyeuristic look at a bunch of self-absorbed kids obsessed with status and image. And yet, I am completely fascinated by it all.

8. The second best of the MTV shows is 8th & Ocean. This is a reality show about the trials and tribulations of wannabe models in Florida. It’s "groundbreaking" because there are both female and male models on the show. The show is unintentionally hilarious. It’s like Zoolander but with real people. I especially liked the episode when one of the female models contemplated suicide because of a few zits.

9. In conclusion, I predict MTV Canada will be off the air within two years. First of all, it’s way up in the cable stratosphere. It’s on channel 90 here in Vancouver, which is only two channels away from the coma-inducing cpac. Although MTV Canada is free for basic cable subscribers, its location in television Siberia makes it easy to forget about. This means it will have a tiny audience, which means it will eventually fail (again). Second of all, why watch MTV when CTV has already bought most of the most popular MTV shows like The Osbournes, Newlyweds and Punk’d? Enjoy MTV Canada while you can. It won’t be around for long.

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