Back in junior high, my life was pretty simple. During the summer I had exactly one hour of basketball camp in the morning and the rest of the day to hang out with my friends.

Bob Hunt

This meant that I watched more than my fair share of MTV. During an era when there were simply 40 cable channels, I had plenty of opportunities to watch that newest Beastie Boys video or the next episode of “Singled Out.” My personal favorite moment was when Queen Latifah drove the lane and scored during a Rock-N-Jock B-Ball Jam. But I digress.

Now that my 50-hour-a-week gig as a sports editor and a football writer at the Daily is over, I have had the opportunity to occasionally watch MTV once again. But it just hasn’t been the same.

I have now realized the real purpose of the Viacom-owned “music” networks that are MTV and VH1. MTV is for junior high and high school kids wanting to be four years older then they really are, while VH1 is for college kids wanting to be 27-year-old yuppies.

I put this theory to the test this past week when I decided to check out a good deal of MTV’s programming, with a little too much of the “The Ashlee Simpson Show.” And no, there was no mention of the date for the “very special Orange Bowl” episode. But there was a marathon chronicling why Ashlee can’t sing because of the all-powerful acid reflux disease. Surprisingly, the “absence of talent” disease was never mentioned.

Some of it was excruciating. I started by deciding to watch the promoted block of programming, clearly not for me, from 4 to 6 p.m. that included “Wanna come in?,” “Room Raiders” and “TRL.”

“Wanna Come In?” is basically where two dorks go on a date with someone who is more “desirable,” get taken advantage of by being forced to say and do ridiculous things and then wonder why they weren’t invited in to their date’s apartment.

Following that 30 minutes of riveting television, “Room Raiders” gave a guy the opportunity to pick between three girls solely based on their rooms. I had seen this show before, but the episode I really wanted to see was when a girl surfs through a guy’s dresser and says, “Hey look, it’s heroin!”

Then came TRL, undoubtedly one of the worst shows I have ever seen. I think I have more fond memories watching “Homeboys from Outer Space” on UPN. If you’ve never seen the show, it consists of a bunch of 15-year-old girls screaming and 20-second clips of music videos. That day’s guest was Tyler Hilton, who apparently is (a) not related to Paris and (b) a wannabe John Mayer.

But the moment I remember most from TRL was the time I was flipping through the channels last year to see J-Kwon sing “Tipsy” in front of that day’s hoard of barely teenage girls. Now, at the risk of sounding like a 45-year-old father of two kids, is there something inherently wrong with a bunch of 15-year-old girls belting out “in the club getting tipsy?” Or is it just me.

But my two-hour binge wasn’t the only MTV I saw this week. For instance, I’m also happy to announce that the “Real World” is as absurd as ever. This year’s season has included such serious challenges as facing one’s fear of crippled children or learning not to “fraternize” with one’s co-workers as an intern. But don’t worry, the gang’s awesome efforts were rewarded with a trip to Fiji.

Apparently, MTV thinks the “Real World” only consists of hip, attractive twenty somethings. How about an actual “Real World” show where people live in Odessa, Texas and work at Wal-Mart? But then I guess the people watching the show wouldn’t have anything to aspire to. Nor would 15-year old girls have anything to watch after school. Oh the humanity!

I’m not saying that MTV doesn’t have its moments, because it certainly does. I also got a chance to watch “True Life: I’m Getting Plastic Surgery.” This hilarious episode included a guy who wanted to complete his perfect figure by getting calf implants. The highlight of this story was when he went to the club and constantly went around showing everyone his new legs. Unfortunately, this man and his calves are still single. The show also included a pair of girls from Beverly Hills who had plastic surgery so often that they had a ritual every night before they went under the knife, making me wonder if these people realize they are making complete asses of themselves on television.

Another great moment was when I was watching “Date My Mom,” basically “Room Raiders” with moms instead of rooms, where a mom showed off her daughters Hooters shorts to the guy in order to impress him. I think you know who the guy, who could not possibly have been a bigger tool, picked after that episode. But I wish I got to see the guy pick a girl who seemed like a winner, only to find out that she’s a complete dog.

But all in all, I’m sad to say that MTV has passed me by. Long gone are the days where my mind can handle anything that the network throws my way. Instead, I end up flipping my television to episodes of “I love the 90s: Part Deux,” where Michael Ian Black reminisces about a time when … I actually liked MTV.

But it’s OK. Now maybe I’ll actually go listen to some music.


Bob is looking forward to the episode of “Pimp My Ride” where the pimped-out cars get vandalized four hours later. He can be reached at bobhunt@umich.edu.

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