TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, February 03, 2004
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MTV, VH1 need to go back to musical roots

Eugene Chu is a senior political science major from Arlington.

I, like many people today, currently subscribe to cable television. While most of the channels might still be able to provide entertainment, one genre of television has unfortunately gone downhill. Music Television and Video Hits One, better known as MTV and VH1, have decayed to the point of boredom. While it’s true that they still show music videos, the programming is often supplemented or replaced by too many irritating shows. In my opinion, those channels seem to have lost their renaissance-like spirit of music.

In the 1980s, when MTV first debuted, its primary focus was on music videos. In the ’80s, music was definitely not classical, but the music video still made it artistic. In the 1990s, when MTV moved on to things besides music videos, VH1 picked up the slack. Even as late as 1997, I can still remember when the essence of VH1’s core programming was still the music video.

Today, they have moved on yet again, and while supplementary MTV and VH1 stations still primarily play music videos, the originals have quickly forgotten their roots.
While looking at Yahoo’s Web site for TV listings, I discovered a few disappointing facts. On a typical Monday, both MTV and VH1 stop their music video shows in the afternoon and evening. In fact, VH1’s music video programming only runs from 2 to 10 a.m., a time when most people are sleeping. On both channels, supplementary shows have replaced the music video that used to give it definition.

Even though I might not believe these stations should play music videos 24 hours a day, some of their supplementary shows are utterly disappointing or downright disgusting. VH1’s “Behind the Music,” which usually discusses the breakup of various bands, has become so boring that “The Simpsons” even did a parody of it.

Teens have unsuccessfully imitated the ludicrous stunts from the MTV show “Jackass,” sometimes ending up in the hospital afterward. On rare occasions, there are decent shows such as MTV’s “Ultimate Video Game Countdown” special that ranked video games and discussed their diverse genre; but while a few shows are still entertaining, MTV and VH1 shows are more and more the rule rather than the exception.

When MTV and VH1 first debuted, an audience flocked to see their music videos. Sadly, the audience today sees less music and more waste of television airtime. While some believe the TV channels are catching up with the times, I believe they are slowly forgetting their cultural origins. So many bad supplementary shows and so few music videos leave me with only one thing to say: “I don’t want my MTV.”
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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