Fuck it, I’m stealing this article wholeheartedly from Defamer because it’s so goddamn true. I was one of the many people who “grew up in a time where [MTV] was perceived as alternative, cutting-edge, and cool,” and I truly miss the network’s salad days.
In reading this, I thought back to times when music videos dominated, reality shows were new and carried an authentic air of excitement, and youth culture had a truly influential, substantial, and inspirational voice to rally around.
Oh, sadness engulfs me. As originally posted on Defamer: Here, then, are seven iconic MTV personalities who would have no place on a network that now fills its programming with multiple iterations of the “spoiled rich girl” reality genre:
Pedro Zamora: Before The Real World became principally concerned with two things (castmate hookups, and acting as a feeder for the better-rated Challenges), it was filled with the sort of people who had never been seen on TV before — something reality TV can excel at, if it wants to. One of those people was Pedro Zamora, a gay, HIV-positive educator who died the day after his last episode aired on MTV. No less than President Clinton praised Zamora for giving the country a personal look into those living with the disease.
Why He Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: Who would he be able to hook up with?
Daria: It’s hard to imagine, but MTV used to relate more to outcasts than potential prom kings and queens — and there was no one more acerbic than Daria Morgendorffer.
Why She Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: Not willing to make out with other girls.
Julie Brown: No, not the VJ famous for saying “Wubba Wubba,” but the comedienne who hosted the outlandish Just Say Julie from 1989 to 1992. Absolutely everything on the network was fair game to her (long before Beavis & Butthead, she was playing music videos just to mock them), and she satirized sacred cows like Madonna and her own Valley Girl image with impunity.
Why She Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: According to this site, Brown was born in 1954, which meant she turned 35 during the first season of her show. 35! Can you even imagine MTV handing a show to a 35 year-old woman now? They’d sooner give the VMAs back to the Wayans brothers.
Tabitha Soren: It may be hard to believe, but there was a point when the MTV News reporter pictured above was derided as nothing more than a shameless attempt to sex up the news. Nowadays, even your local news anchor resembles Jenna Jameson.
Why She Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: Only male news personalities are allowed to grow old gracefully on MTV. And by “gracefully,” we mean that despite pushing fifty, they are expected to dye their hair and dress like members of Good Charlotte.
Kurt Cobain: The frontman of Nirvana ushered in an age devoid of pop singers and boybands, where nerdy, unconventional acts like Radiohead and Bjork were given common rotation for their groundbreaking videos.
Why He Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: It’s hard to break out as a music video star when you’re relegated to 30-second clips playing alongside the end credits for Run’s House.
The Kabel typeface: There may be nothing better associated with MTV than this iconic typeface, which was used to intro and outro every single video (and was phased out last year).
Why It Wouldn’t Be Allowed on MTV Now: No more videos to intro and outro. Which brings us to our last item…
Music Videos: When Justin Timberlake won an award at last year’s VMAs, he finished his MTV-dissecting speech by yelling, “Play more damn videos!” Sorry Justin, you’re going to have to get your music videos the same way the rest of us do now: on YouTube, at 3am, after a drunken search for Arrested Development’s “Tennessee” ends with a lonely, mangled singalong.
By the way, Downtown Julie Brown’s signature line contained three Wubbas. I’m just sayin’.