When it comes to original programming, it is hard to find anyone doing it better at the moment then Netflix or HBO. The two juggernauts are producing hit after hit, while showing no signs of stopping any time soon. Other channels and services have their hits as well, but their success rate is much less.
Which brings us to MTV. Music Television, as it was once known as, was the hub for everything music. Countdown shows of popular videos, news segments to let the public know about new albums and tours and countless hours of entertainment that changed the way the entire world listened to music. The station was innovative, which led them to push the envelope a little more each and every year. The push in ratings and confidence led to MTV launching their own original shows that didn’t necessarily revolve around music. Shows such as the once groundbreaking Real World, the sarcastic Daria and the sexually charged Undressed, were revolutionary programs that changed a generation. Unfortunately, in recent years the network has gone down a deep, dark hole of reality TV that is like a car-wreck to most young viewers. It’s hard to watch, but even harder to look away. Here are the worst shows that MTV has ever produced:
15) The Head
It was certainly a cartoon that was hard to look away from due to the odd looking characters, but The Head was one of MTV’s first animated shows and ran under MTV’s Oddities, which featured some other very peculiar efforts. The Head was about an alien invasion and one such alien that inhabits the head of an unsuspecting human—giving him super powers. Like many of the old MTV late night shows, it has a rather decent cult following since its cancellation, but it only lasted from 1994-1996.
14) Sifl and Olly
Staying on the theme of very weird and odd late night shows, Sifl and Olly were two sock puppets that aired a talk show that would consist of skits, interviews, musical performances and just about anything else under the sun that sock puppets could possibly endure. While the stoner type of comedy certainly does have its funny moments—without an ”herbal refreshment” the show just simply cannot be watched for long periods of time.
13) The Grind
The Grind was a dance show that aired from 1992-1997 that featured many young MTV fans dancing away to the popular rap/hip-hop tracks of the time. What made this show so bad wasn’t the music or the scandalously clad dancers vying for their 15 seconds of fame—but the hosts were somewhat unbearable. Trying to get the audience at home hyped up is no easy feat but the only thing The Grind really made you want to do was grind your teeth.
12) Lunch With Jesse
Jesse Camp. Does the name ring a bell? Camp won the first ever Wanna Be a VJ contest on MTV back in 1998 for the right to become the newest Video Jockey on the network. At the time, being a VJ was probably one of the greatest jobs in America and a highly sought after position. The insanely charismatic Camp even received a short-lived series called Lunch With Jesse, where he would talk to bands and speak his mind. The only problem is that his mind seemed so fried; there was never really anything worthwhile to talk about.
Did the show Newlyweds end the marriage of America’s Sweethearts Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson? Probably. In a show that followed around the successful singers, watching became unbearable once Simpson found out that the popularity of the show was in fact due to her “blondeness.” She embraced the “dumb blonde” role and continuously over-acted to the point that it was obnoxious. Whether she was being real or playing a character, the couple only lasted a few more months after the show ended—which was truly a shame.
10) The Ashlee Simpson Show
What can be worse than Jessica Simpson having her own TV show? How about giving one to her younger sister. The cute and way less talented Ashlee Simpson got a spin off series aptly titled The Ashlee Simpson Show, where fans would have a look into the life of the pop star and the recording process for her album. Most of the show was spent as Ashlee tried to differentiate herself from her sister. She even dyed her hair black. What a trendsetter.
9) 12 Angry Viewers
12 Angry Viewers was an extremely frustrating show for people to watch, which is probably why it didn’t last very long. The premise was gathering twelve random people to vote on music videos that would end up in the rotation of MTV’s video cycle. The banter between these viewers was incredibly hard to watch and the videos they did choose, never really ended up with a lot of play on the shows that did play music. This show was one giant waste of time.
8) Room Raiders
Around the time of 2004, MTV would put just about any reality show on the air—and would throw bonus points in the direction of dating reality shows. Room Raiders pitted three men and three women up against each other as a single man and woman would inspect the rooms of the three contestants to make a decision on which one to date—without even seeing a picture of them first. The three contestants would sit in a shady van outside of the house while the rooms were being ravaged and roast each other during the process. This proved to not be a very valuable way to choose someone to date as the show was cancelled by 2006.
Undergrads was an animated series that MTV produced only one season of and it was rather horrendous. The lackluster 13 episode series followed a set of college freshman around in very unoriginal and stale scenarios such as parties, competitions again rival colleges and roommate confrontations. The hype around Undergrads was pretty substantial back in 2001, but now it seems more like a series that MTV probably wished never happened.
6) My Super Sweet 16
We’ve now hit the reality show portion of the list and it’s not exactly pretty. MTV ruined the pureness and social impact of The Real World by making it about parties as opposed to real life and then they green lit shows like My Super Sweet 16. The show focused on elaborate parties thrown by parents for their coming of age “sweethearts.” However, in the show, the young stars were bratty, spoiled and lacked any sort of decency towards their big bashes. The show led to a slew of other reality show disasters.
5) Date My Mom
Who wouldn’t want to go on a date with someone’s mother before actually meeting the boy or girl you’d rather go out with? Date My Mom was so painful to watch and also something that viewers couldn’t seem to turn away from. A boy or girl would go on a date with three different moms and the job of the mom was to convince the dater to choose their son or daughter. Is this real life? For MTV it is. Nowadays, it is much better to just join match.com or download Tinder.
4) A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila
Ugh. It gets worse for MTV. Capitalizing on the stunning popularity of model/actress Tila Tequila, MTV decided they would make their own The Bachelor show in the form of A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila. The twist on this show was that since Tila claims she is a bi-sexual, that both men and women would compete for her love. This show may be one of the worst shows ever made and MTV should be ashamed it ever happened. Many rumors swirled around the show about how it was completely staged but in the end, nobody really cared or still does.
3) Engaged and Underage
What better way to highlight young love then with MTV’s Engaged and Underage? The show followed around couples between the ages of 18-22 that were ready to tie the knot and usually proved that they were not as ready as they thought they were. This program was trashy and sleazy (MTV at its best), and aired right around the time that the network began losing any credibility for pop culture. These types of rating grab shows that MTV produced would sell advertising but eventually led the network completely astray from its initial intention of providing groundbreaking television.
2) Jersey Shore
All of your favorites are here. “Snooki“, “JWoww“, “Pauly D” and countless other household names appeared on the show that should have never been allowed into your household in the first place. The show followed around friends from the Jersey Shore area and most of the time ended up in fights, cry-fests, arguments or drunken monologues that even gibberish experts would have a hard time deciphering. Some members of the cast did fairly well cashing in on the show’s success, but many of the viewers that watched the show are now wondering why on Earth they ever made such a mistake.
1) The Hills/Laguna Beach
Does your brain hurt yet from trying to wrap your head around how MTV could have put these shows on the air? Our final pick is a duo choice of The Hills and Laguna Beach. While Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari are counting paychecks from the show, we were forced to watch a bunch of incredibly spoiled and privileged kids trot around Southern California and we were supposed to care about their problems. The backstabbing, cheating and romances turned ugly were all documented here on these shows. That may make it sound like the perfect soap opera but these shows were the pinnacle of what MTV did wrong and continues to do wrong on their network. A once proud generation now looks at MTV with nostalgia and a newer generation lives with the question of “Wait. MTV used to play music videos?”