Sick of your dad telling you how brilliant everything was in the ’90s? Well MTV want to expose the chuckling lie at the heart of his life by giving you the chance to relive his mis-spent youth as an unemployable stoner with the launch of MTV Classics, a channel devoted to re-runs of shows from the ’90s and early ’00s. From the profound to the puerile, all late-Gen-X and proto-Millennial teen life was here; just whack on Blink-182’s ‘Enema Of The State’, chuff on a promotional Tony Hawk bong and switch on the following cult MTV shows – the cream of the era that we hope to see on the channel – and be transported back to the age of pranks, pimps and idiots throwing themselves off cliffs in shopping trolleys…
Beavis & Butt-head
Essentially a shit cartoon Gogglebox for Motley Crue fans, Beavis & Butt-head, the creations of animator Mike Judge, were two perma-stoned animated rock dorks watching live-footage music videos, sniggering at every conceivable anus-based innuendo and occasionally rocking out. MTV mocking their own viewers basically; if you didn’t get the joke, you were the joke.
Pimp My Ride
Every car in 2004 was rubbish, so MTV hired rapper Xzibit to ‘pimp’ the wheels of various clueless drivers to their individual needs. Handy if you were a surfer dude who could use a clothes dryer in the back seat or a gamer who can now hold entire PvP contests in their Nissan Micra. Not so useful if you were a badminton player and some rap twat decides to string a net across your windscreen.
This was where MTV’s magic happened. Elevator pitch: celebrities show the MTV cameras around their gigantic mansion house, or one that they’ve borrowed for the occasion in the hope the façade of wealth and success might catapult them off the z-list. Basically Location, Location, Location if every room had a drop-down cinema screen and if Kirsty and Phil stumbled across a lot more ‘unexpected’ Playboy pool parties at the swim-up cocktail bar in the garden.
You know all the stupid dares you and your mates give each other when you’re drunk, which are the reason you’ll forever live with the burning guilt of making Colin blind himself with a lemon squeezer? That was Jackass. Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and chums trying every which way to traumatise, disgust and dismember themselves, from walking tightropes over pools of alligators with roast chickens in their jockstraps to literally stapling their arses closed or diving into a steaming heap of elephant crap. Basically invented the internet.
Ashton Kutcher’s hidden camera prank show in the classic tradition of Candid Camera almost didn’t happen when the ordinary people tricked by a fake dead body in a Vegas hotel room for an early trial of the show sued them for $10 million. Switching targets from the public to celebrities, Punk’d hit the headlines with a mock IRS raid on Justin Timberlake’s house and made Kutcher America’s own Jeremy Beadle.
Sign up for the newsletter
The Real World
Long before TOWIE and Made In Chelsea, The Real World pioneered the art of scripted reality TV back in 1992 by following the real lives of a group of 20-somethings selected to live in a house together. Initially it helped tackle vital youth issues such as prejudice, abortion, AIDS and drug abuse, but as the longest running reality show ever, it’s now inevitably just a bunch of dicks being dickish to each other. Tune in to the real Real World.
Ever wanted to know who’d win an ultra-violent wrestle to the death between a claymation Mariah Carey and a claymation Jim Carey? How about a claymation Bill Gates and a claymation Michael Flatley? Um, Liam and Noel? Nope, Celebrity Deathmatch – a kind of WWE Wallace And Gromit – was exactly as bollocks as it sounds.
Even bookish high school nerds need their animated heartthrobs, and Daria was the Jessica Rabbit of mathletes everywhere. Misanthropic, intelligent and brutally acerbic, Daria was a spin-off character from Beavis & Butt-head who moved to Lawndale and set about satirising school life with a sardonic snarl. Mike Judge meets Juno.
Imagine if Tinder gave all potential hook-ups your home address and a hi-tech grot-finder. That was Room Raiders. Three singles are bundled into the back of a van while a fourth inspects their duvet with an ultra-violet light and goes on a date with the one that wanks the least. They dressed it up as ‘finding mutual interests in their bedrooms’ but if you believed that you’d believe the contestants on Dinner Date pick the best cook.
Clearly desperate for new ways to sell high school dramas to high school MTV viewers, 2002 saw the arrival of Clone High, an animated series about a school populated by clones of famous historical figures such as Cleopatra, Gandhi, JFK and Abraham Lincoln. Proving that, yes, literally anything set in a high school would get commissioned by MTV in 2002.
Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County
“How about The Real World set in a high school!” “Commissioned!”
The real goldmine of MTV Classic will be the best of the legendary Unplugged series, in which rock notables perform acoustic renditions of their canon. Nirvana, Oasis, Dylan and Neil Young are amongst the luminaries giving their stool-based all – Fridays on MTV Classic will be unmissable.