Maybe it’s because I’m 23 years old and MTV isn’t a part of my daily routine anymore, because I’m not 16 and don’t have to be in bed by 9 p.m. to avoid missing the start of “Laguna Beach” or because I’m not 12 and I don’t want stay up late to watch “The Real World” (does anyone remember Road Rules?).
Forget how old I am, or you are. In truth, MTV hasn’t been the same since TRL went off the air in 2008–and to be frank, since TRL was good at the turn of the century. Yes, MTV shows like Laguna Beach, Real World, the Challenges, even Rob & Big kept the network afloat for at least 30 minutes a day, but these days it’s as worse as it’s ever been, and please chime in if you watch MTV more than I do… which you do.
Look at what MTV lists as its “Popular Shows.” Laguna Beach, “The Hills,” and “Jersey Shore,” are only reruns anymore. “16 and Pregnant” has a legitimate following, running alongside a separate loyal following that despises the show for glamorizing teen pregnancy. “Catfish: The TV Show” wouldn’t be as well known as it is without a high profile athlete getting caught in it.
MTV hasn’t been the same since it lost it’s Music and became TV. It’s not the network I grew up around, never missing TRL or waking up early on spring break to watch JoJo’s “Too Little Too Late” video on MTV Spring Break–hell, MTV’s Spring Break comes on now when nobody is even on break anyway.
And yet, there’s hope as there is for any and all networks that have fallen and can’t get up. There’s hope for MTV to return to some entertainment, though never to Carson Daly-TRL era MTV, nor Jackass or Road Rules era MTV. Hope lies with the faces we see on your network everyday and as far as I’m concerned MTV has four such faces.
One of the brainchildren behind “Nikki & Sara LIVE,” which they call a “Daily Show for pop culture,” that has all of the promise of potentially turning into a Chelsea Lately show that has made late-night E! so watchable. We love the sound of “The Daily Show” plus pop culture. She and Nikki have been a team for a while, building up a massive following with their Tumblr “You Had to be There” podcasts that got them on USA Today’s list of “100 People of the Year in Pop Culture.” Maybe most importantly, Schaefer is a writer. Before MTV, she was the head blogger for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for which she won two Emmys and one Webby, as well as one more nomination apiece for each. Her Twitter presence is viable and getting better and her website is written with a real voice.
Also known as Sadie Saxton from “Awkward.,” Tarlov is funny both on and off script. She’s a part of MTV’s Retro Brunch, which shows mini-marathons of “The Hills” daily. There, her impressions of Kristin Cavallari and even Spencer Pratt are spot on and so funny it hurts. Tarlov is a hardworking actress, who studied a lot in a variety of different schools to get where she is today. She was featured in Seventeen magazine for being “the nicest mean girl ever.” She showed off her developing writing abilities by creating her character, Caitlin, in the short-lived ABC Family show “Huge”. She’s also appeared, granted only for three words, on “iCarly,” a Nickelodeon show we really love. Her web presence, as we evaluate for everyone, is pretty awesome as her Twitter commentaries of other TV shows goes a long way in how much we like her.
“Girl Code” may be the most hilarious rip-off of VH1’s classic talking heads shows that is on TV right now and Nicole Byer has a big part in that. She’s the perfect mixed drink containing matter-of-fact, honest irony that gives the show a pulse. All of the other talking heads do so in the background. She reminds me a lot of Rhetta, aka Donna on “Parks and Recreation,” and that’s quite a complement if you ask me. She, like Tarlov, is one of four funny women who host MTV’s Retro Brunch and it’s clear she and Tarlov are the best. Aside from “Girl Code,” Byer is at the cherished street level of comedy, working with the Upright Citizens Brigade since 2010, the troupe that’s been associated with names like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Her Twitter life is solid, though she’s definitely better on screen.
Alas, Nikki Glaser is the other brainchild behind “Nikki & Sara LIVE” as well as the popular “You Had to Be There” podcast. She and Schaefer got together in 2010 and quickly turned into an unstoppable, dominant force to be reckoned with. All hope is that their late night talk show is nothing like “It’s On with Alexa Chung” that MTV tried in 2009. She is one of the hidden gems to come from NBC’s attempt at “Last Comic Standing,” being a semi-finalist at the age of 20. From there, she built from the ground up trying to get to where she is today. She performs almost nightly at The Comedy Cellar. She’s on Instagram, which is my second favorite social media (only to Twitter), which puts her in a different category as other socially accepting comedians because we get to see her in her filtered everyday life. On Twitter, she’s a lot of what you’d expect from most comedians.