Thursday, June 5, 2003

MTV tries to reach imaginary target audience

By Mandy Jenkins
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It may have lengthy dance sequences, surreal music performances and glammed-up movie stars, but no one will mistake the MTV Movie Awards for the Oscars.

Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man
Actor: Eminem, 8 Mile
Breakthrough female performance: Jennifer Garner, Daredevil
Breakthrough male performance: Eminem, 8 Mile
Trans-Atlantic breakthrough performance: Colin Farrell, Phone Booth
Comedic performance: Mike Myers, Austin Powers in Goldmember
Villain: Daveigh Chase, The Ring
Kiss: Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man
Fight: Yoda vs. Christopher Lee, Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones
Action sequence: Battle for Helm's Deep, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Virtual performance: Gollum, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
On-screen team: Sean Astin, Elijah Wood and Gollum, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
After reading about the details of tonight's pre-taped show, it sounds as though MTV has outdone itself in its efforts to demean the intelligence and tastes of its viewers.

Why does MTV assume I'm stupid? Just because I have indulged in the guilty pleasure of MTV Spring Break does not mean I think Vin Diesel's a real actor or Jackass was a cinematic coup de grace.

The awards (9 p.m. today and hundreds of reruns in the coming year) make it seem as if MTV viewers don't know the difference between popcorn flicks and film masterpieces.

The awards are decided by viewers, but MTV's choice of nominees assumes we have the mentality of 12-year-old mallrats who wouldn't know a good movie if it bit us in the back of our low-rise jeans.

Here is one example: "Best male breakthrough performance" pits great acting against pretty faces straight out of Tiger Beat. Is this a desperate attempt to seem "hip" to a wide variety of people?

In this category, throwaway teen roles from Ryan Reynolds (National Lampoon's Van Wilder) and Nick Cannon (Drumline) are considered on par with the talented performances of Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down) and yes, Eminem (8 Mile).

MTV can't decide who it wants to impress more, teenagers or twentysomethings. Seriously, how many people actually saw both Van Wilder and Igby Goes Down?

As if the awards were not bad enough, the show itself is more insulting. One of the most-hyped performances of the night is by Russian duo t.A.T.u., whose dancers are said to strip off their schoolgirl outfits and passionately kiss each other.

While this grandstanding may appeal to hormonal teenage boys, what about the rest of us? I am offended by dancers wearing faked lesbianism as if it were a hot new accessory.

This booty-filled popularity contest is a prime example of MTV's failed attempts to be everything to everyone. What happened to the smart network that brought us Daria and (gasp!) music videos? Now, it is little more than a televised fashion statement for a fictional generation of idiots.

Well, this idiot has had enough - I think it may be time to jump ship to VH1 or BET. At least they would never claim to speak for me.


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