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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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A Quarter Century Of MTV
Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It seems everyone except for MTV celebrated MTV’s 25th birthday last week. Apparently the network felt being 25 would make it uncool to its current viewership. Thankfully they also have VH1 Classic, which came up with my personal favorite celebration, the rerunning of the entire first day of MTV’s programming. To say there were some poorly made videos would be an understatement. They were the Fiats of music videos, especially in comparison to what Michael Jackson would introduce to the world just a few short years later when blacks were finally allowed on MTV. Other than the VH1 Classic celebration numerous writers and television personalities weighed in on their favorite MTV moments. Well, I guess it’s time I join the list, but my list will be decidedly different from the others you may have read before. Rather than just list favorite moments I have a few extra things to throw in, so enjoy!

First and foremost any list involving MTV’s top moments or programs has to start with Beavis and Butthead, arguably the funniest cartoon in history. I once heard a critic note that The Simpsons got their foot in the door in terms of breakthrough animated series’, but Beavis and Butthead kicked it open. The teenage duo STILL make me laugh whenever I watch the reruns, even when I know the joke that’s coming. There is just something about their laughs that make them simply impossible not to laugh along with.

When it comes to the videos I know Thriller is considered the greatest video of all time due to the impact that it had, but for my money I’m taking Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” “Wicked Game,” filmed entirely in black and white, featured a nearly naked Helena Christenson dancing on the beach as Isaak crooned about what a wicked game she was playing in his fantastic falsetto voice. “Wicked Game” was more than a great song, it was bar none the sexiest video ever. Many have tried to copy it, none have succeeded. (You hear that Paris Hilton? Your video is wack! Well….. your music video, that is.)

A lot of folks have talked about Yo! MTV Raps, which was a fantastic introduction to Hip-Hop for a lot of suburban kids. For me, however, I was getting my rap videos from another source at that point, DJ Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box. I can’t remember if it was on NY55 or channel 25, but I can remember watching Video Music Box before I ever saw Yo! MTV Raps. So while Ed Lover and Dr. Dre had a huge impact on a lot of people, and I give them an infinite amount of props, I don’t want Ralph McDaniels’ impact to be forgotten in all of the Yo! MTV Raps luster.

As an old guy by MTV standards I can also remember back to when MTV VJ’s knew something about music, sometimes they were even experts like Ed Lover and Dr. Dre. There was always Matt Pinfield who had an encyclopedic knowledge of rock and of course Kurt Loder who could deliver the news with a sardonic wit that has been unmatched at the network since. Even Carson Daily knew his stuff even if he wasn’t necessarily allowed to show it at all times. Yeah, I kinda miss the days when VJ’s were more than just repositioned Abercrombie models who can read a cue card. None of the VJ’s of today can hold a candle to Downtown Julie Brown, Adam Curry (or even just Adam Curry’s hair), Martha Quinn, or, dare I say it, Pauly Shore. The weeeasel could most definitely host a show!

The State was something I wish had stayed on the air longer. A very funny sketch comedy show, it was canned after only a few seasons. The Real World used to be interesting. Heck, MTV basically started reality television (unless you want to count Cops), but they’ve done so many Real World’s that the show has become a bit of a cliché. The saving grace this year was that a hurricane ripped through the city they were holding it in and the Real World’s real world footage of it was fairly amazing. As a late twenty-something male, however, it’s becoming clear I no longer matter very much to the MTV programmers as shows like My Super Sweet 16, The Hills, Laguna Beach, and reality programs revolving around various Simpson daughters and some girl named Cheyenne are dominating their programming schedules of late. Yes, I can still sit down and enjoy an episode of Next or Wildin’ Out, but that’s about it.

I actually interviewed with both MTV and VH1 over the past few years and they were both very interesting experiences. I really thought I nailed my MTV interview, but never heard back. Apparently they already had their Hip-Hop guy and figured one was enough. It’s cool, though, because the interview process taught me some things I remembered for next time. When I saw an opening at VH1 I jumped on it and when they called me only a few hours after I had emailed them my resume I felt good about my chances. Fast forward a week to my interview. I’m sitting down with the woman who had called me for the interview and when I handed her another copy of my resume along with my clip book a frown came over her face. “Hmmm, there’s a lot of Hip-Hop on here.” Ouch. Shot down before the interview. But hey, it’s been over a year and now I have over a dozen big Hollywood clips under my belt including four cover stories for a national men’s magazine, so give me a holla!

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