Friday, August 18, 2006

TRL -or- Yet Another Thing That Makes Me Feel Old

I would be surprised if there were a lot of people over the age of 16 who watch TRL (that's MTV's Total Request Live program, for those of you who have forgotten/tried to block it out) these days. Me myself personally only catch parts of it on rare occaisions, but, as a lowly middle and high school student, I musta watched at least part of the show at least three days a week.

Now don't get me wrong, TRL was never what you'd call a good show. But if you compare the first couple of years of TRL, and here I may or may not be including MTV Live, a sort of similar show which sort of became TRL in 1998, to something like American Bandstand, or Soul Train, or Headbanger's Ball, which I think are generally thought of as having been closer to legitimate TV that TRL ever was, I think TRL would hold up pretty well. Back in the day Carson Daly would show the top ten videos the phoning and internetting public wanted to see in their entirety. This was the point of the show.

Now, the main points of comparison here are threefold: Carson Daly, entirety, and public. Carson Daly, for his part, died in a fire at Hanson's parents' house. The people who took over for him, that girl and some guy who was on Laguna Beach, don't exist. Which means TRL no longer has a host. This is not an ideal situation!

On the issue of the public, this probably goes without saying, but somewhere along the way it became entirely clear that wether a video was played on TRL and where it was played in the context of the top ten countdown was decided completely by how much money record companies through MTV's way. Seems like TRL has become mainly a venue for these companies to force feed their new and inferior product to the masses (JoJo), or alternately, showcase their already successful acts (Christ, formerly X, Tina). But hey, hey, back in the day, the democracy of TRL was such a crazy idea, and people actually cared enough, that an email campaign was started to get Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice. Baby" onto the show. And it worked. Number nine with a bullet. Not to mention Tom Green's "Bum Bum Song". Though that's dubious. Anyway, there was at least a two or three month (week? day?) period where TRL was virgin territory, before things got all raped up. Or, at the very least, I'd like to believe that.

Third point, though, is really what has grabbed my attention the few times I've come across TRL in the past few weeks. TRL now offers a special promotion called the "Long Lasting Video" where viewers vote for which one (1) video they would like to see in their entirety during any given show. Yeah, that's about it. If that fact doesn't speak for itself, I mean, ok.

I watched TRL when it wasn't cool to watch TRL. I knew all the words to every single N*Sync and BSB released. But man. Now, I can finally join the ranks of the haters that have been creeping closer and closer over the years. TRL sucks. Now ain't that news.

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