It’s no secret anymore (if you follow me on Twitter or have seen some of my Formspring responses) that I am a tiny bit obsessed with MTV reality/documentary shows. I am pushing 30 and I thought maybe I’d have grown out of my love for MTV by now, but my devotion is still going strong. I wasn’t allowed to watch MTV for a while when I was younger, so I’d like to think that I’m making up for lost time now. (See, Mom — it’s all your fault! You should have let me watch Remote Control after all!)
Let’s review my top MTV selections, shall we?
16 and Pregnant / Teen Mom
These shows are like my crack — I just can’t quit them. If this isn’t good birth control for the youth of our country, I don’t know what is. What started as Sixteen and Pregnant, a real look into the lives of teenage girls who find themselves with child, evolved into another show, Teen Mom, which lets us follow along as four of the young girls raise their babies. It is fascinating, eye opening, and, in more than one case, it makes you want to reach through the television and shake some sense into these clueless girls (Farrah) or their idiot boyfriends (Ryan). Catelynn and Tyler were the only couple from season one of 16 and Pregnant to give their daughter up for adoption, and following their journey has made me love them more than I already did at the beginning. Of all of the kids, they come from the most screwed up backgrounds, yet they’re the two who seem to have their lives together the most; I have a serious soft spot for them. If you’re not watching this show, you really should be. (Mandy also wrote a great review of this show that will have you laughing hysterically if you’re familiar with the moms from season one.)
The Buried Life
Sort of like The Bucket List, but with four 20-something Canadian guys setting out to live their lives to the fullest by answering one question: what do you want to do before you die? Some of their goals are silly (asking Megan Fox out on a date) and some are serious (helping a woman give birth), but each episode has a great message. And they’re not just doing things for themselves — with each item the guys cross of off their list, they help someone else cross something off of theirs. For one little girl, it was going on a roller coast to conquer her fear of heights (all of the guys went along with her to support her… it made me cry, it was so sweet). For one stranger, it was meeting his birth father, and the guys made it happen. Season one is over now, but hopefully these incredibly likable guys will be back soon for a second season.
In case you thought MTV was all junk, I’ll have you know that True Life is an award-winning documentary series, yessiree. Whether it’s True Life: I’m Getting Married (don’t lie, you all remember Charlie and Sabrina and their unfortunate limo driver) or True Life: I’m Deaf, I am always 100% captivated by this series. Some of the topics are more off-the-wall than others, like the most recent True Life: I Have Digital Drama, about people who are having trouble in their relationships because of their addiction to text messaging and cell phones, but they’re all equally fascinating.
Likelihood that I will cry during an episode of Made: 99.9%. What can I say, I’m a sucker for people pursuing their dreams and learning valuable lessons in the process. While I’m kind of tired of the “I want to be made into the prom queen” missions, there have been some really great episodes over the years. Remember Kristen, the prissy, popular girl who wanted to ride BMX bikes? She realized that maybe getting her nails done with her friends and getting drunk at senior week wasn’t the best thing she could be doing for her future, and she came out of the experience really grounded and with an awesome new skill.
My Life as Liz
When this show first came on the air, I couldn’t figure out if it was real or fake. Then I saw it again and saw the little disclaimer at the beginning saying that it is, indeed, real, so I took their word for it. I’m sure some of it is pseudo-staged, obviously, but for the most part, it’s about quirky, misfit high school senior Liz Lee and her goofy friends and relationships in Burleson, Texas. I find her kind of hilarious, plus Bryson is super cute and those two kids just have to get together. I’m pathetic, I know.
America’s Best Dance Crew
While I don’t particularly enjoy the commentary (Does Lil’ Mama ever say anything of value??), I do enjoy the dancing. It’s been cool to follow along after a few seasons to see not just male hip hoppers (as it pretty much started out), but a diverse group of dancers, male and female, with different styles and backgrounds. These kids can freaking dance.
I said I wouldn’t watch after Lauren Conrad left the show, but I lied — I’m still watching. I just can’t stop. I need to keep up with Audrina’s latest surgeries (girlfriend was pretty before, why did she have to go and get a nose job), Heidi’s latest ridiculousness, Stephanie’s latest “duh” statement, and, now, Kristin’s latest boy toy. I know it’s all staged and done totally for the cameras, but I never claimed to be picky, people. It’s entertaining, and that’s all I need.
Again, I know it’s totally staged, just like The Hills. But I don’t care. I love Whitney, I would like to have her wardrobe, her hair, and her legs, and I am highly entertained by Olivia and how highly she thinks of herself.
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In case you think I watch them all, I promise that there are a few MTV shows that I’m not watching… in addition to the Parental Control variety of crap that they show in the afternoons (really? Does anyone watch this and think it’s real?), I also can’t bring myself to watch:
As a Jersey shore-goer for my whole life, I simply can’t do it. I’m too embarrassed that they’re representing a place I love (even though, I must add, they’re in a town called Seaside Heights which is nowhere near the town I vacationed — do you hear me??) with their “Situations” and their Bumpits and their orange tans and their really, really trashy clothes. I watched like two episodes and I couldn’t tell any of the guys apart (the guy with the greasy hair? No, the other guy with the greasy hair) and I just don’t need to see anymore. Sorry, superfans. No Jersey Shore for this girl.
The Real World
You could argue that this was THE original reality show that started it all, and I was a devoted fan for the first several (ten or so) seasons, but now it’s just sort of… I dunno… same crap, different day/cast/city. The fact that they can’t have cell phones or watch television makes it anything but reality (I mean, of course there are going to be fights when all they have to do all day is stare at each other and go out drinking), and most of the people on the show are just looking to jumpstart their careers in show business anymore. I miss the days of the first season in NYC, where Julie was the innocent southern girl pursuing a dance career, Eric was trying to make it as a model, and Norm was just being hysterically awesome. They didn’t have a group “job” and they didn’t have groupies hanging out outside of their house (because no one knew or cared what they were doing there). I was twelve years old and I thought they were cool and funny. It’s just not the same anymore.
Real World/Road Rules Challenges
These shows seriously stress me out. I used to watch because the drama was so juicy, but then I realized that they were actually making me feel anxious. Isn’t that ridiculous? I guess I was getting a little too invested, hehe. And I started feeling bad for the people that continued to go on the challenges (former cast members of The Real World and Road Rules) as their actual jobs. Like, professional challenge-ers. I dunno…. if you’re 38 and you’re going on your seventh MTV challenge show in place of a real career, I think just mayyyybe you might be a little lost in life. Sure, winning would get you like $50,000, but after taxes, that’s probably not THAT much, and it seems like a whole lot of drama considering that you’ll more than likely not even win. Whether it’s the Inferno or the Duel or whatever you want to call it, I am no longer watching.
SO! That’s my list :) Now tell me — what are your must-see MTV shows?