Monday, October 01, 2007

It's Pretty Amazing What VH1 Has Become

I'm going to just go ahead and say it: I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point, VH1 went from being the Go-Bot version of MTV to being pretty much my favorite channel on television. Here's a little history: Back in the day, VH1 used to suck, big-time. They were pretty much known as the channel that would play stuff like George Michael and Cutting Crew and other lame adult contemporary videos that your friend's mom (you know, the one who was always trying to quit smoking) would sometimes watch. As both stations made the transition to essentially not playing music videos, I don't know, either VH1 just became more interesting, or I became more boring. Probably both. Let's see how:

Here is a story of growth, a story of a young man and a young television station who have an incredible journey together, and in the process discover who they really are:

You see, back in the day, I loved MTV. When I was a kid and I would play this game where I would punch in the channels on the TV all the way up to 100, hoping to find a transmission from aliens or some kind of show about underwear. Well, one day, I went up to like channel 30 (this was uncharted territory back then, I might as well have been in minus world) and there it was, MTV had become part of the basic cable service. I had watched a lot of MTV at grandma and grandpa Hart's house, and when I found this channel, I knew that this was big. My life was going to change. It was probably at this moment that my fate as a rock enthusiast was made sure. To this day, I both suffer and rejoice in this pivotal moment, it's my version of the monkeys and the monolith in the movie 2001, you know what I mean?

MTV was great. It had the wildest stuff on television back then (I'm guessing this was like 1987 or so) and it was pretty much my default favorite channel. I really liked Bon Jovi (in particular, their songs Livin on a Prayer, Wanted Dead of Alive, and You Give Love a Bad Name) and I also really liked Poison. Cinderella was really cool (and actually still are, it turns out. Have you listened to that guy's voice lately? Holy crap! It is super-human! A wonder of the world. Listen to Nobody's Fool and you will see exactly what I mean.
When it kicks in, he sounds like a snarling Thundercat. Anyway, MTV had what I wanted. It had Headbanger's Ball, and it had what I considered to be "the good stuff" for that time. VH1 just played boring videos by boring artists. I hated it. They loved Color Me Badd, Kenny G, Maxi Priest, lame softy stuff like that. Because of this, I held a deep-seeded disliking for this station that carried over well into the 2000's.

For most of 1996-2004 I lived without TV (what a mistake that was! I remember writing songs and reading instead. I know, laaaaaame.) but when I would watch it at my parents' house or whatever, I remember thinking "man, could it be that VH1 does not suck anymore?" It took some convincing, but I could see that the folks at VH1 were onto something. It seemed as though VH1 was kind of getting into this style of digesting all these elements of pop culture and formatting them into an easily-palatable "top (number) most (adjective) (plural noun) of (time period)" format. And it worked! Oh, how it worked.

Now, when I watch the tele (formerly owned by Jim Zespy's deceased grandmother), I automatically want to turn it to channel 45 (what an authoritative channel number!). I have learned so much more about celebrities because of this channel. Finally, a channel that can explain it in a way that makes sense to me. Like before I had VH1 on my life, I knew nothing. Now I kind of know something, like for example that Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff have this serious feud thing going on. Weird, huh? The things they do to each other remind me of things I would do to people I am feuding with. They're just like us!

I will say this though. There is one show on VH1 that is a huge stain on their otherwise gleaming roster, and I think we all know what that is, right? Wendy Williams. Ugh. That show sucks sooooo bad, especially when compared to all of their other awesome programming (well, looking at their roster right now, I will say that it's not ALL good, I forgot about shows like Celebrity Paranormal [REALLY bad] and Flavor of Love [only interesting in that "what the hell has happened to the world?" sort of way])

black-mI guess what I really want to say is that I am just really glad that they have these shows where they present some stuff and then have comedians make comments about them. What I really like is when Michael Ian Black comments on stuff. Holy crap, he is so awesome. Dude should seriously have his own channel.

On a closing note, I will say this. Like the franchise formerly knows as Kentucky Fried Chicken, VH1 has only been identified by its abbreviated name for quite some time. Why? Because what it stands for is fretarded: Video Hits One. That's right. VH1.

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