If a generation were defined by a phrase, aging yuppies would have “I want my MTV back!” stamped across their foreheads to mourn the loss of music from Music TeleVision. While I don’t really care that MTV doesn’t play music anymore because a) at 20 years old, no, I do not remember when MTV played music and b) that’s what iPods are for (Apparently the over-30 crowd hasn’t caught on to the MP3 trend. Seriously, I’ve heard of Generation Y, but talk about Generation Whine. Go ask your kids to show you how YouTube works and you can watch all the Eurythmics music videos that your aging, arrhythmic heart desires.), I too, want my MTV back.
My generation (Generation Whine) needs to take back the good ole MTV of the early 2000s. I miss the creepy Motherboy-esque outings of Date My Mom, the blacklight from Room Raiders, but most of all, I miss Next. Where is the nearest tattoo parlor, because I would like “I want my Next back!” inked across my face. That is our generation’s rebel yell. For the older crowd that might have accidentally stumbled upon this blog and not know what Next is (hi, Mom), the general premise of the show is that a single person goes on a series of blind dates with five contestants. When the single dater grows bored, dissatisfied, or ends up with a total butter face, they can end the date by yelling “Next,” bringing out the next contestant. How brilliant is that? I can’t count the number of painfully awkward conversations where I’ve found myself whispering “next” under my breath in the hopes that large MTV security guards would whisk the person away and bring a hotter guy in his place. Usually though, this just makes the conversations even more painful and awkward.
Aside from a couple hidden gems, MTV’s current line-up is akin to a giant crap filled with undigested kernels of Italian stereotypes and pregnant teenagers. My big beef with MTV shows nowadays is how incredibly exploitive, intrusive and ultimately tragic they are. Jersey Shore turns people like Snooki into celebrities and gives them spin-offs, and Teen Mom sensationalizes the lives of expecting teenagers. We watch these people make decisions that will change and even ruin their lives even after the camera stops rolling. These shows give people way more fame than they deserve and in this manner, reality television becomes increasing influential and harmful, though maybe that’s what makes these shows appealing to so many people. Anyways, this is not a rant about the negative effects of reality television. This is a rant about how I miss shows like Next, because they are reality television without consequences and they are entertaining as hell.
Unlike current MTV programming, the only thing shows like Next exploit is sheer human stupidity, and even then, contestants are usually somewhat in on the joke. For example, while a contestant is out on the date, the rest of the contestants are stuck on the Next bus. Boring, right? WRONG. During the dates, the producers give the contestants ideas the contestants come up with their own ideas of things to do. To pass the time, contestants jazzercise, play Spit the Pickle (it’s exactly what it sounds like. They spit a pickle at each other) and inexplicably get naked. Next was a harmless, hokey dating-competition: The audience had fun watching, the contestants had fun participating and when it’s over, everyone goes back to their normal lives. And did I mention that the narrator spoke exclusively in rhyme? I have seen very few episodes of Teen Mom, but my guess is that broadcasting your teenage pregnancy is not nearly as fun and ephemeral as wrestling in a swimming pool of pudding to impress a potential date. Next gave its contestants their two minutes of fame and then released them back into the wild, never to be heard from again or given spin-offs.
What I miss the most about Next though, no contest, is the fun facts. Whenever a contestant steps off the bus, the camera freeze frames and three fun facts about the participant are listed on the screen. Facts one and two are usually pretty harmless, but then BOOM, fact three hits you with the complete overshare. For example, Michelle, 24, won a bikini contest, is allergic to corn and poops five times a day. COOL, MICHELLE. Maybe you need more corn in your diet. And Xavier, 19, is terrified of rollercoasters, holds farting contests with his aunts and once pleasured himself using a pizza. I have about 30 of said freeze frames screenshotted on my computer.
Anyways, I’m not asking MTV to start producing new episodes of Next because I know that’s not a fair request. All shows must end sometime, and Next had a good run. If MTV wants to continue exploiting people and producing TV that I don’t like, that’s fine. No, my problem is that MTV has made watching any episodes of Next next to impossible. I’ve spent hours scouring the web for episodes of Next and have found maybe seven episodes on the entire Internet. All I’m asking here, MTV, is for you to put more episodes of Next online and maybe air the occasional rerun. I just want my Next back, please.