There are currently three different shows that I look forward to on three different nights on MTV. Three. And that’s not including when Catfish is on, or when the tragically though understandably cancelled Buckwild earned a DVR season pass last year.
I am currently watching—and what’s more, I’m eagerly anticipating—as many MTV shows now as I did in high school, when watercooler talk was discussing a Road Rules challenge in first-period bio or raving at lunch about the True Life episode where they go to fat camp. For me, high school was Next and Made, The Osbournes and Newlyweds, afterschool reruns of Singled Out and Undressed and Elimidate and Daria and Celebrity Deathmatch.
Well, those times are now far gone, and truth be told I’ve seen MTV’s programming lineup come and go these past few years with little piquing my interest save for the addictive Catfish. I’ve been unaware of the network for years. This could be because I’m no longer in high school, of course, but I do believe that good material can always be consumed by multiple demographics (hence why your grandma is reading Mockingjay).
That’s not to say that the programs I’m relishing on MTV now are particularly good, per se — but for whatever reason they’re working for me, and I’m digging this random new resurgence.
Mondays, I’ve got Teen Wolf, a show where the people are beautiful and nobody turns on any lights except fluorescents (yet they still remain beautiful, contrary to everything I ever learned about fluorescents). There’s a long-running mythology to the series—and I’m definitely not invested enough to bother following it—but I’m enjoying the eye-rolling dramatics and occasional genuinely scary moments. Guilty pleasures don’t get much guiltier than a show about supernatural high schoolers. Plus, I’m drawn to the surprisingly good cast, particularly Tyler Posey (the titular teen wolf), Dylan O’Brien (who will break out this year, just you wait), and Holland Roden (who ought to be a movie star if only so we can see her on a red carpet).
I perhaps feel the most compulsion to confess my Tuesday obsession, and it speaks volumes that there’s only been one episode and I’m already hooked. Are You the One? is being billed as an unprecedented social experiment, so let me break it down for you: MTV’s romance scientists have assembled ten perfectly-matched couples and dropped them in Hawaii, and if these 10 guys and 10 girls can figure out their perfect pairing by the end of the season, they’ll all split a million bucks. In the first episode, a couple had already started hooking up and then turned out not to be matches, and I just about lost my marbles.
And of course, this year I’ve found myself back on the voyeur train with the new season of The Real World: Ex-Plosion, in which the housemates will go on vacation and come back to discover their exes have moved in (the big event will finally happen on Jan. 29). Maybe it’s because of the bats—t insane villain Ashley or because the show has a certain nostalgia, but this season feels like a hearkening back to the silliest days of Real World, before cohabitation on TV lost its novelty. The ex twist is going to shake everything up, and for the first time in years it feels like new life has been breathed back into the franchise (and thank heavens for that, since MTV suits must believe this season to be one of a few last-ditch options to revive an increasingly irrelevant show).
So, there’s my confession. I’m watching MTV and I’m not ashamed. I’m recommending these shows to my friends as a refreshing salve to the increasingly banal offerings on the networks. Sure, I still need my fix of Parks and Rec and Modern Family, of Survivor and The Voice, of Homeland and Girls and Scandal and SNL. But hear me: if you’re in search of a guilty pleasure to replace your Bravo and E! nonsense, I would seriously suggest you might find it (and your youth) again on MTV.