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Hatin’ on Awards Shows

September 25, 2009

badawardI don’t need any topical reason to hate major awards shows; I’ve been doing it for a while now. Given this disposition of mine, the last two weeks have been like Christmas come early in terms of confirming my dislike. I guess that’s not really what Christmas is about. I’m tired.

Anyway, I say I hate award shows, but usually I don’t hate the shows themselves. Usually I just hate the absurd, unfair ways the winners and nominees are chosen; the shows can be fun to watch. As far as MTV awards shows go, though, I pretty much hate the whole package.

Take this year’s Video Music Awards ceremony. By now everybody (including the President) knows that a certain performer, who will not be named here, acted somewhat douche-ishly and made an ass of himself. By now that performer has been the target of a flood of parodies and ridicule. Now, I’m not defending what this performer did, and I haven’t hesitated to criticize him in the recent past. However, I think that this incident says less about him than it does about MTV, and, in a broader sense, the current state of the media.

I refuse to identify this performer, so here's a picture of the Care Bears instead.

I refuse to identify this performer, so here's a picture of the Care Bears instead.

After all, let’s face it: MTV absolutely depends on people doing stupid shit at their awards shows. Tim Commerford climbing the set decorations, Madonna kissing Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Seth Rogen and James Franco smoking pot onstage, Sacha Baron Cohen teabagging Eminem–something weird always happens, and MTV either orchestrates it or allows it to happen because wackiness means big ratings. The network even brags on its website about how “controversial” the VMAs are. So given that MTV depends on being seen as edgy and controversial, I find it hard to believe that they didn’t either stage this incident–as they’ve done in the past–or at least encourage it somehow, by liquoring up the show’s guests, keeping security lax around the stage, etc.

Of course, these days MTV depends more on reality shows than on music, which means that pretty much all of their programming depends on people doing stupid shit. That’s what sells, and, to some extent, that’s why we see celebrities engaging in such stupid behavior. The performer I’m speaking of has made a lot of great music, but none of his work has ever brought him as much mainstream exposure and free publicity as his obnoxious awards-show antics. So in a way, this is our fault, not his.

The other major recent awards show, of course, was the Emmies, which have been forever sullied for me by their consistent refusal to ever give an award to TV’s greatest show ever, The Wire. Here are some of the shows that have been nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series” instead of David Simon’s Baltimore-based crime opus:

"The West Wing": Better than "The Wire"

"The West Wing": Better than "The Wire"

"24": Better than the "The Wire"

"24": Better than the "The Wire"

"House": Apparently better than "The Wire"

"House": Apparently better than "The Wire"

"Grey's Anatomy": Really?

"Grey's Anatomy": Really?

"Boston Legal": Wow

"Boston Legal": Wow

So, yeah. Awards shows suck.

P. S.  The Emmies’ red carpet coverage did provide at least one moment when the event was called out on its shallowness. During an interview with TV Guide, Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie checked a monitor screen and pointed out, “I think they’ve cut to someone more famous while they’re interviewing us.”  Don’t mess with the Kiwis.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. r_sam permalink
    September 25, 2009 9:31 pm

    “However, I think that this incident says less about him than it does about MTV, and, in a broader sense, the current state of the media.”

    thank you for saying this. I can’t even make claim to being an appreciator of he-who-shall-not-be-named’s music, but it’s more obnoxious when people pay serious or sustained attention to someone who so clearly relishes opportunities to be an asshole simply because people will pay attention.

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