Kristen Baldwin reveals her guilty pleasure: MTV's 'Total Request Live'

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated May 03, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Advertisement
type
  • TV Show
network
  • MTV
genre

Carson Daly is a deadpan dreamboat

My name is Kristen Baldwin, and I’m a ”Total Request Live” addict. (Hello, Kristen.) It’s not easy for me to admit this; at 26, I’m no doubt more than twice as old as the average viewer of MTV’s afternoon countdown show. I know I should just grow up and accept my fate as VH-1’s target demographic, but ever since that fateful day I switched on MTV for a little midday distraction, I was powerless against ”TRL” (as we in the know like to call it). It’s a giddy teen Xanadu filled with cute boy bands (most of the 10 videos shown come from the ‘N Sync/98°/Backstreet Boys oeuvre) hosted by a deadpan dreamboat, Carson Daly. Now my day stops between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. for a little adolescent regression.

To be honest, ”TRL” really annoyed me at first. All those screaming girls who congregate outside MTV’s Times Square studio, waving ”I (heart) Carson” signs and squealing, squealing, squealing. ”TRL” cohost Jesse Camp pretty much caused me to reach reflexively for the remote (although new Wannabe a VJ winner, Thalia, is a lot easier to take). It also really irked me that even though this is allegedly a countdown show (one of the few times MTV actually shows videos anymore), on ”TRL” you only see about 30 percent of an actual clip; it’s introduced about halfway through and Daly usually talks over the ending. And that Carson Daly (you may know him as Jennifer Love Hewitt’s beloved), with his deliberate, scruffy stubble and unconvincing ”aw, shucks” banter with his preteen minions — he just seemed so smug and way too Tiger Beat for his own good.

But then I started to listen to Daly’s between-video patter and realized that his smarmy, dry delivery masks a good-natured disdain for the teen market that pays his salary. After watching ‘N Sync’s video for ”I Drive Myself Crazy” — where the well-coifed boy crooners languish in a mental hospital — Daly cracked, ”If you go nuts and are in an insane asylum, there’s no shortage of Dep. That’s what I’ve learned from that video.” A clip for former New Kid on the Block Jordan Knight’s ”Give It to You” elicited this dry-as-dust response from Daly: ”Oh, I can officially start my week now. Jordan Knight is in my brain.

As piercing as their screams are, those crowds of giggly girls on the street do offer an enlightening glimpse into the teenybopper mind, especially when they testify for their favorite videos. My recent favorite declaration: ”This is Melissa from Pace University. I requested Korn’s ‘Freak on a Leash’ because I’m the biggest freak on a leash at Pace University, and all the boys know it! WOOOOOOO!” (Note: All declarations must end in ”wooo!”) These hyper endorsements only grow more fervent and entertaining as videos near their 65th (!) airing on ”TRL,” when they must be officially retired. Hell hath no fury like a Backstreet Boys fan who doesn’t see her cutesy quintet’s video in the No. 1 slot. But I shouldn’t scoff — someday soon, that could be me.

Total Request Live

type
  • TV Show
rating
genre
status
  • In Season
network
  • MTV

Comments