I’ve read a couple of books and listened to a couple of podcasts recently that have heavily referenced the MTV of my childhood you know when the M in MTV actually stood for music. I don’t really know what MTV does these days, but I know enough to know that it doesn’t at all resemble what it was when I was a kid. At one time in my life I cared about that, but now it doesn’t really bother me. I wouldn’t have time to pay attention to it at this point in my life even if it were something I wanted to pay attention to. Now I’ll just fondly remember what it was.
In retrospect it sort of surprises me that my parents never put any restrictions on me watching MTV. I know plenty of people my age who weren’t allowed to watch MTV. Of course this really applies to a lot of things. For being raised in a conservative Christian household my parents were pretty liberal when it came to my pop culture consumption. The only two things I can remember ever not being allowed to watch were The Simpsons and Roseanne (and that was only after the whole Roseanne grabbing her crotch during the National Anthem incident). I’m glad they didn’t ever try and stop me from watching it because it was definitely something I loved.
I remember excitedly waiting for World Premiere Videos, which seemed like such a big deal at the time. I feel like the most anticipated one ever was the video for Guns N Roses’ “November Rain”. The build up to that video felt insane as was everything surrounding the Use Your Illusions I and II albums. You of course had to keep up with all your music news in the MTV News segments. I also spent many a Saturday night in 8th and 9th grade babysitting for our next door neighbors and watching Headbangers’ Ball after the kids were in bed.
Then of course you had all your non-music related content that started to creep in. I never cared about the animated shows like Beavis and Butthead and Daria. I did enjoy the game show Remote Control, which was on a little earlier than the era where they truly began the shift, but it still counts as non-music content. I of course loved the Real World in its first season. I only watched the first three seasons of that before I abandoned it, but I loved the first and third seasons (not so much a fan of the second). I also loved the dating show Singled Out. My mom even used to love that show and watch it with my sister and me. It totally amuses me to realize that now all these years later I listen to the Nerdist podcast hosted by the same person who used to host Singled Out all those years ago.
I love television and I love music, so MTV was the perfect synergy of those two things for me as a kid. Even if it ran the same way I don’t think it would be for me as an adult. I don’t even ever watch the videos on YouTube that people talk about. I sometimes pull up stuff on YouTube just to listen to a song or to post a song in my blog, but it’s never about actually watching the video itself the way it was when I was a kid. I am okay with just being nostalgic about what MTV was to me in my childhood.