By Darren Franich
Updated October 11, 2011 at 04:22 PM EDT
Credit: MTV

There are two kinds of people who complain that MTV is not as good as it used to be. On one hand, you have people who just feel left out because they’ve aged beyond the network’s target demographic. (Admittedly, the network’s target demographic has consistently gotten younger: It used to skew towards pretentious twentysomethings, then towards angry teenagers, and now appears to be aimed almost exclusively at 12-year-olds with massive feelings.) This argument has always seemed silly to me, not too different from complaining that kids these days are worse than ever, music was so much better when we were in high school, etc.

But there’s a bigger, and more accurate, gripe against the network: It used to be so much weirder. Like, uncomfortably weird. Like, PlayStation-When-It-Was-Called-The-PSX weird. Case in point: Liquid Television, the early-90s animated variety hour that prominently featured the work of sick, disgusting, totally awesome cult animators. Blessedly, MTV is now streaming the assorted Liquid Television weirdness online. The showcase featured the debut of Beavis & Butthead and Aeon Flux, but the central joy of Liquid Television was the sheer array of weirdness on display. There are a relentless array of curios that are indescribable. (My personal favorite: The oddly poignant “Elvis Meets the Spider People from Hell.”) It’s worth checking out, if only to remember a time when the network didn’t have to constantly justify itself by pretending to have a social conscience.

PopWatchers, do you have any loving/terrible memories of the original Liquid Television run? For that matter, don’t you just miss when MTV did cartoons? I could watch Celebrity Deathmatch all day.

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