Top 10 Videos That Defined The OG TRL

Today, a new generation of kids will be introduced to Total Request Live, a fan-voted music video countdown show on a network that’s become known for not showing music videos. Of course, for millions of millennials across the country, TRL is a trigger for a time in your life where you either watched it religiously, or didn’t give a shit about the most popular TV show amongst your peers.

For me, I fell into the first category, making it a point to be sitting in front of the TV home alone at 3:30pm, relaxing after school and hoping my faves would make the countdown. I taped it when I wasn’t home, voted multiple times on the phone and online, and true story: was even the “TRL Fan of the Week” in 2002. Carson Daly said my name, my profile was featured on the website, and I use it as the one-line bio for my internet profiles.

Carson Daly not only hosted the show and introduced all the videos, but he interviewed the hottest stars in not just music, but TV, movies and more in the heart of Times Square. Today, Carson is a permanent fixture a few blocks away at The Today Show and the hosts of the new TRL are DC Young Fly, Tamara Dhia, Amy Pham, Erik Zachary and Lawrence Jackson, who are all apparently people that would entice the kids to watch TRL. Oh, but that’s not all. The revamped TRL also includes “content creators” Liza Koshy and the Dolan Twins, while Eva Gutowski, Gabbie Hanna and Gigi Gorgeous will be the show’s social media correspondents. Because it’s 2017. Again, I had to vote for music videos via telephone.

I might be slightly out of touch with the youngins these days and not recognize a lot of the artists on TRL’s new countdown, but what I can tell you is that our TRL featured iconic artists and music videos that defined a generation. Here’s (my) list of top 10 videos that made a huge impact on the show and will always be remembered in the TRL era.

10 – Ricky Martin, Livin’ La Vida Loca

Ah, the song that introduced the Latin heartthrob to anyone that wasn’t a Menudo or General Hospital fan. He was sexy, his songs were catchy, and his bon bon shook that made women (and men) fall intro a trance. Livin’ La Vida Loca is arguably Ricky’s biggest hit, but it helped also reintroduce Latin music into the mainstream again, with stars like Marc Anthony, Shakira and Enrique Igelsias becoming chart-toppers too. The video was a staple on TRL and even won Best Pop Video and Best Dance Video (because there’s a lot of dancing?) at the ’99 VMAs.

9 – Limp Bizkit, Nookie

I admit it: I was a teenybopper. I had an aversion to rock bands (white guys), but jumped on the bandwagon if said rock bands were featured on TRL (or were liked by the boys I had crushes on in middle school). Nookie of course was one of Limp Bizkit’s biggest mainstream hits, but it was also their first number one video on the TRL chart, and I still think Carson Daly had something rigged to get his pal Fred Durst on the show.

8 – Destiny’s Child, Survivor

Destiny’s Child had been around long before Survivor – in fact, the first iteration with Letoya and Latavia made the rounds early on with hits like Say My Name and Bills, Bills, Bills but they hit the jackpot when Michelle came in and because DC3 as we know them today. Survivor was all about strong independent women, and the camo lewk was one that many teen girls attempted to create.

7 – Christina Aguilera, Come on Over

You know what MTV should actually reboot? Making the Video. I specifically remember Xtina giving us a behind-the-scenes look for this music video, which made it all the more exciting to watch when it was on TRL. This era was prime time for pop princesses like Christina, which is why it’s hard to choose just one for her on this list. Genie in a Bottle? Yup. What a Girl Wants. Yessir. Dirrrty? Mhm. I really miss the late 90s.

6 – Kid Rock, Bawitdaba

Listen, I hate that I have to even put Kid Rock anywhere on the blog but here we are. This song still makes no sense to me, but it was catchy and crossed the line of rock/metal/rap that the TRL generation hadn’t really seen before. It deserves a spot on this list, and now I’m done talking about Kid Rock.

5 – Blink 182, What’s My Age Again?

TRL was the accessible way for non-pop pop stars to make it in the mainstream, and Blink 182 took advantage of this by parodying all the pop stars who topped the TRL list. It was meta and it worked and was one of the most iconic videos (I know I keep saying that, but it’s true) of the TRL era.

4 – Britney Spears, Lucky

The real pop queen deserves multiple spots on this list, so like Christina, it was difficult to choose just one. Lucky featured Brit as a Hollywood star who, while she seemed happy, wealthy and healthy on the outside, wasn’t so much on the inside. #2007. I think this best describes the fame that came with her being one of the biggest stars to come out of the TRL era.

3 – Eminem, The Real Slim Shady

There weren’t many (if any) shows in the late 90s/early 2000s that allowed Eminem to be played next to Britney Spears in a daily countdown, but that was also the magic of TRL. Eminem (another one of Carson’s cronies) blew up during this time, and over the course of the decade the show was on, Em was number one nearly 100 times with various songs, so it was clear Slim Shady was the real deal.

2 – *NSYNC, Bye Bye Bye

I have only listened to Bye Bye Bye maybe like 10 times max in my entire life. Why? I was a teenybopper/Backstreet Boys fan who refused to hear *NSync’s biggest hit. I’d turn the station or channel any time it was on and have legit sat down at a wedding because it played at the reception (that happened this past June). But real recognized real. Boy bands dominated TRL, no more so that BSB and *NSync. I couldn’t tell you anything about this video because I’ve never watched it, but I CAN tell you I’m v familiar with the gif of JT as seen in the above still. V FAMILIAR WITH JT.

1 – Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way

Am I biased? Yes. But am I wrong? Probably not. IWITW is easily the boys’ biggest hit and it was the song that started the mania. By the time their Millennium album released, IWITW was already a huge hit, and to celebrate, BSB took over TRL – and so did their fans who took over Times Square. It was insane. But it also showed the power that fans had over this show. TRL was ours. We felt like we had power in what we wanted to see on TV. We got to see our heroes either on TV or in person with some sort of weird ownership that we hadn’t felt before. And for the next generation’s sake, I hope they feel the same way too.

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11 VMA Moments That Shaped My Adolescence

OMG U GUYZ THE MTV VMAS ARE THIS SUNDAY WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!?!

Not me. But there was a time when that was me. When I was prime MTV target demographic, when I was impressionable and bought any artist that made it to the top 10 on TRL (see: Limp Bizkit and P.O.D. CDs in my childhood bedroom). Those formative years when I was a tween and eventual teen who was thriving at Backstreet Boys concerts and making websites on Geocities. Growing up, I was a teenybopper. I’m not gonna be ashamed about it. That’s just who I was. I was the girl who thought MTV was the coolest, the mecca of where all the celebs and musicians were featured. And the VMAs were my Super Bowl.

Back then, all my faves were either nominated, performing, or presenting, so it made sense that I was tuning in like a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF every year. And there were plenty of popcorn-GIF worthy moments that happened on the VMAs when I grew up. These are iconic and unforgettable performances – clips that takes me back to that time in my life when superstardom was out of reach and not a tweet away. Here are some of the MTV VMA moments that shaped my childhood. It’s crazy to think that Katy Perry and co. might have that same effect on tweens at this year’s ceremony. Guys, we are so old.

1994 ♦ Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley Make Out

Isn’t it weird to look back and think that the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s daughter was married to the King of Pop? Like, what even did they pay the music gods to get that love connection? Apparently not enough since their marriage didn’t last that long. However, this kiss is burned in my brain for eternity.

1995 ♦ Courtney Love bombs Madonna’s interview

I remember watching this live and having NO IDEA what was going on. But I don’t think Courtney Love did either. She wasn’t doing great at the time, but nevertheless, this is still rude. But alas, makes for great TV. Remember Kurt Loder? He is also part of my adolescence, which would be a weird thing to say to him IRL, I think.

1998 ♦ Mariah and Whitney Double Up

At the time this aired, I legit thought this was real. Like they definitely accidentally wore the same dress to the VMAs. I was concerned. Of course, it’s just a bit. I love bits. And I love Whitney Houston. Prince of Egypt forever.

1999 ♦ Diana Ross, Lil’ Kim and Lil Kim’s Lil’ Kim

Lil’ Kim’s outfit was outrageous then, and it continues to be even to this day. The 1999 VMAs were (and maybe continue to be?) my favorite VMAs ceremony of all time, and this is definitely one of the reasons why. I admit, I barely knew who Diana Ross was at the time, despite being obsessed with Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ You Can’t Hurry Love. I didn’t know it was the same person! Anyways, I my mouth was agape when Diana bounced Lil’ Kim’s boob, and hoped that neither of my parents saw what had just happened as I watched the VMAs in our living room.

1999 ♦ Britney Spears and ‘N SYNC Take It Back To School

As I mentioned, 9.9.99 (it was on September 9th obvs) was a big year, particularly for pop music. It felt like it was at its height again, thanks to my boys BSB, Christina Aguilera, Britney, ‘N Sync, all the other boy bands, etc. This was one year after Tearin’ Up My Heart was released, but right around the time …Baby One More Time was becoming super popular. We all know the Britney/’N Sync relationship, but this was everything you could’ve wanted in a pop music performance on the VMAs. Singing, dancing, a school story, a surprise element of the ‘N Sync boys at the desks! As a BSB fan, I willingly admit this is and forever will be one of the best VMA performances in the show’s history.

1999 ♦ Backstreet Boys win the Viewer’s Choice VMA

As I mentioned, I am a BSB fan til the day I die, and 1999 was the height of BSB mania. Millennium had been released earlier that year, and the boys had basically shut down Times Square during their MTV special on release day. I was also at the height of my BSB mania, and voted non-stop in hopes they would win the Viewer’s Choice award against their rival (and mine), ‘N Sync. I remember jumping up and down, so ecstatic that “my” hard work paid off, and that my boys earned the much-deserved moonman. And yes, that white dude in the beginning pulled a Kanye before Kanye.

2000 ♦ Eminem and A Fuck Ton of Real Slim Shadys

Eminem also was a hot commodity in this era, releasing hit after hit after hit, including The Real Slim Shady. The song posits that there are many wannabes but only one Marshall Mathers, and because of that, he invited a whole lot of white guys in white t-shirts and jeans to be extras in his performance. Is this where my real fear of white men started? JK. A little.

2001 ♦ Britney and the Snake

I mean, obviously, right?

2002 ♦ Eminem vs. Moby and Christina Aguilera

Eminem wasn’t necessarily known to be a congenial person that got along with every artist that came across his path. He had beef with DJ Moby, which is why this awkward exchange with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog happened – right before Eminem won a moonman. Which as you can see from the clip, was handed to him by Christina Aguilera. If you recall, Em name-dropped Xtina in The Real Slim Shady, saying:

“Yo Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs
So I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst
And hear ’em argue over who she gave head to first
Little bitch, put me on blast on MTV
“Yeah, he’s cute, but I think he’s married to Kim, hee-hee!”
I should download her audio on MP3
And show the whole world how you gave Eminem VD”

Which makes this clip even more memorable (and chilly) thanks to the shade from Ms. Aguilera herself.

2003 ♦ Britney, Madonna and Christina, You Know

The Mickey Mouse Club Was nothing but a memory after this performance.

2011 ♦  Beyonce and Blue

This did not have a hold on my adolescence, but I was still very much awakened when B revealed she was preggo with Blue after singing Love on Top.

I Want My MTV (Classic)!

Yesterday, executives over at MTV decided the repeats of the Eric Clapton hour-long jam band special on VH1 Classic just wasn’t getting the ratings they were expecting, so they decided to rebrand and turn VH1 Classic into MTV Classic. Just like the regular VH1 and MTV, MTV Classic is the cooler, more hip cousin as opposed to your slightly off-colored uncle who was a diehard DeadHead back in the day.

What this rebranding means is that now millennials can watch “retro” shows from the 1990s like MTV Unplugged, Cribs, OG Road Rules and an animation block featuring the likes of Daria and Beavis and Butthead. Plus, MTV Classic promises more 90s and 00s music videos, including a TRL Retrospective, so I better be seeing more Carson Daly and Jesse Camp in my life. JK about that last one.

Growing up, I was the kid who thought watching MTV made me cool. The first season of The Real World that I ever watched was London, which aired in 1995. I was nine years old. MTV was a staple throughout my teen years, including my teenybopper days when I was legitimately named TRL Fan of the Week (Something I take pride in all my social media “about mes”).

A) this is a printed out webpage because it’s from 2002. B) the answers to all my questions are embarrassing but at this point in my life, like, who gives a shit C) lol my screen name

All this to say that MTV was as much a part of my life growing up as books I read or movies I watched, and it’ll be interesting to go back and watch these shows as an adult. Will the cast of The Real World: London look like babies to me now? Is Beavis & Butthead still as offensive and stupid as I remember it? Will I still get an unenecessary aversion to ‘N Sync’s Bye Bye Bye video because I was hardcore Team BSB (yes. the answer is yes and always yes)? Here are a few shows I hope pop up on MTV Classic moving forward – do you have ones you are DVRing too?

Making the Video

Maybe it’s because MTV doesn’t show music videos any more, but can we get new eps of Making the Video? I guess for now I settle for anything from Making the Video seasons 1 through 3, where fans were given a behind-the-scenes look of how stars like Britney, 98 Degrees, Mariah Carey and Sisqo create their TRL-worthy videos.

Diary

You think you know … but you have no idea. This the Diary of  :: insert every big MTV celeb here:: This documentary show focused on one artist for each episode, usually as they’re in the midst of doing something big like a press tour or photo shoot or releasing an album, whatnot. It’s important to remember that celebs didn’t have social media back then, so having this kind of backstage access was exclusive in the purest sense of the word. With a simple Snapchat, Demi Lovato can show you what she’s eating in her dressing room before a concert. That would’ve never happened in the 90s + 00s with Britney unless it was through a show like this. In the episode above, the late, great Aaliyah gives a glimpse of her diary, and it aired just a couple weeks before she died on August 25th, 2001.

Fear

To be honest with y’all, I maybe watched a full episode of this show then immediately called it quits. After being freaked out by the episode I watched, I maybe saw a clip here or there, and just pretended I thought it was the best show ever. *I was trying to be cool*. Fear is a reality competition show that features a group of contestants alone in a haunted location. There are no camera men, only the night vision cameras as well as some attached to them as they went on their dares. Dares, you say? Yes. Contestants spend the night, are given a dare, and if they complete it and make it to the end of two nights in the haunted location, each survivor gets a monetary prize. You couldn’t pay me enough to do this. Or maybe even to watch this again.

Singled Out

Kids, Nerdist/@ Midnight icon Chris Hardwich used to host a dating show on MTV and his eye candy co-host was Jenny McCarthy. I just want to see if I think the people on this show are truly hot or not in 2016.

Say What? Karaoke

It’s basically karaoke on a much bigger platform than the dive bar club you used to go to in college. Everyone embarrasses themselves and celebs are the judges.

Making the Band

Ok, but OG Danity Kane – 👏 THAT 👏 IS 👏 WHAT 👏 I 👏 AM 👏 TALKING👏 ABOUT 👏 . There was a lot of drama in the literal making of the band and subsequent downfall, but for a period of time, they had so much potential. They were the ultimate 00s girl group and I was sucked into the process from day one. In the video above, Diddy Sean Puffy Daddy Combs P had narrowed it down to a handful of girls and had them perform in groups a la Hollywood week on American Idol. The first song, which featured eventual Danity Kane members Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres, was my JAM and I ripped it off the TV somehow and made it into an MP3 that I listened to more often than any normal human. #BoomKat

2ge+her

One of the most brilliant ideas MTV ever had was to make the TV movie 2ge+her, a mockumentary on a fictional boy band. The director of the 2000 film was Nigel Dick, a frequent staple on Making the Video as he was one of the top music directors for Britney, BSB, Jessica Simpson, etc. Then, they cast actual cute guys and truly catchy pop tunes and soon, what was supposed to be a joke became a real life boy band sensation, and it took on a life of its own. After a successful movie and soundtrack, the boys did another album and a spin-off TV series. It didn’t last long for multiple reasons, but one unfortunate reason was the passing of member Michael Cuccione, who died in 2001 at the age of 16.

The Real World

Seasons I want to see again: 1 through 12 (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Hawaii, New Orleans, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas).

Road Rules

None of the “Challenge” shit. I’m talking Mark Long. I’m talking Semester at Sea. I’m talking Theo and Abe before they became Challenge/Gauntlet veterans.

Rich Girls

There was only one season and 10 episodes of Rich Girls, but it felt like so much more. Before the Kardashians and Laguna Beach, MTV had Rich Girls, which follow Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter Ally, and her best friend Jaime, whose late father was a millionaire. Their life in New York was fascinating to me, and my main takeaway from the show was that to calm themselves down, they used one finger to tapp their “Third Eye” aka the space right above your eyebrows on your forehead, to keep calm. I did this before going on stage in high school. I don’t think it really worked.

Room Raiders

I just want more of this.

Miley Cyrus as the VMAs host? It Could Be Worse

There’s nothing that makes us feel more old than the Teen Choice Awards, as we’ve discussed before. Now a few weeks after our faces have gone back to normal, we’re faced with the annual MTV Video Music Awards. Growing up, I always thought of the VMAs to be the edgiest out of all the awards shows – the one that if I showed up to school the next day and talked about it in 5th grade, I would feel super cool. That didn’t mean I actually was. Over the years, whether we care to admit it or not, the VMAs are a gem in the zeitgeist crown. Even if we don’t know some of the songs or artists nominated, there will ALWAYS be something to talk about around the watercooler (or conversational landmark of your choosing) the next day. This year, plenty of people have already been talking about the show, thanks to their choice of host:

Having not abused my eyes with this picture for a while, it looks absolutely ridiculous. What even is this world we’re living in. Beetlejuice and a grown-up nude Kewpie doll are grinding.

No it’s not Robin Thicke OR that foam finger. It’s obviously Miley Cyrus. Good ol’ Destiny Hope is returning to the VMAs stage two years after the performance that rocked her entire career. One year after she weirdly let her homeless friend accept an award on her behalf:

KATY AND SAM COORDINATED SIDE EYE FTW

But let’s be real here folks, no matter what you think of Miley, we can all agree that whatever she does is entertaining and will garner the attention of… everyone, whether it be positive or negative. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do at the VMAs, and I might be watching with my head down shaking it in disappointment, but I’m looking forward to what she’ll do. Also, brilliant move by MTV.

In saying this, there have been way worse hosts of the VMAs than I expect Miley to be, so let’s just thank MTV head honchos for at least making us want to tune in. Here are some questionable emecees MTV has hired over the years that pretty much make me long for Miley.

1984: Dan Aykroyd and Bette Midler

Ok, let’s attribute this choice to the fact it was the inaugural VMAs, and in the early era of MTV itself. Maybe they didn’t know what they were doing, or what kind of audience they were going for. I guess to be fair, Dan Aykroyd was popular at the time because of SNL and Ghostbusters, and Bette Midler was, more Bette Midler than she is now. But were they really the voice of the youth culture back then? Also, who decided to put these two together? Couldn’t have been one or the other? I have a lot of questions.

1986: MTV VJs: Downtown Julie Brown, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn & Dweezil Zappa

Again, for perspective, MTV was a huge deal in the ’80s, primarily because there was no network like it ever before. MTV was a channel that wasn’t ABC/CBS/NBC, that didn’t show scripted programming, and dedicated entirely to showing visual representations of music heard on the radio. It was groundbreaking, and in those first few years, it was such a big deal that the first VJs subsequently became a big deal too. So again, it makes sense that these folks were the hosts. But come on, that must have been a bore for the regular viewers. Even spreading them out throughout the country – and London? – is mediocre at best. They see these people all the time. It wouldn’t hurt for some new blood in there. I imagine it was so boring that that’s why I couldn’t really find any good clips of them. Which is why I’m sharing this video of a young Whitney singing How Will I Know. There’s something so special about her just singing and dancing without anything else except the neon MTV logos behind her. It’s a  far cry from the superproduced performances we’ve seen over the past decade. ‘N Sync and Britney, much? (As a BSB fan, I admit this is one of the best in VMA history).

1993: Christian Slater

You’re reading this right. Christian Slater, movie star and 90s hunk/bad boy, hosted the Video Music Awards. At the time, he was the hottie from Heathers and on the verge of hitting rave reviews in True Romance, so he was more or less the Zac Efron type of the era. However, he still didn’t quite fit into host of the VMAs, as evidenced by this clip of his monologue. He’s going through it as if he’s reading a presentation in science class. Except making horrible jokes like, “How ’bout that Madonna? I didn’t want that number to end but I ran out of quarters backstage”, in reference to this performance. He also made a joke about the Moonman being able to see up Sharon Stone’s dress from the stage, so, I mean, obviously a solid night.

 

1994: Roseanne

I do not like Roseanne. I do not think she’s funny. I hated her sitcom. The above outfit is physically hurting my eyes. I can’t even get myself to watch this clip of her hosting, but I’m assuming it’s bad.

2008 and 2009 Russell Brand

It’s not that I think Russell Brand isn’t funny. Because sometimes he can be. But also he can be a lot annoying, and bottom line is that I don’t find him entertaining. But hey, who am I to say what the youth of the world finds entertaining these days? I’m just saying do we trust a man with that hair and who divorces someone over the phone???

 

The Real World New Orleans: Where Are They Now?

June 14th, 2000 – the day The Real World: New Orleans premiered on MTV. It’s been 15 years since we were introduced to the true story of seven strangers – David, Melissa, Kelley, Jamie, Danny, Matt and Julie – and found out what happened when they stopped being polite and started getting real.

Turns out that story became one of the most memorable seasons of the groundbreaking reality show, and my personal favorite. I was the kid who watched too much TV when I was younger – not only a lot of it, but probably stuff that was out of my demographic. The first season of The Real World I watched was season four, in London, like, in real time. It was 1995 and I was nine years old. By 2000, I was a seasoned vet of TRW, and the New Orleans cast/show spoke to me on a deep level. It probably had a lot to do with Melissa, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

When I moved from Boston to LA about six years ago, my two friends and I stopped in New Orleans on our road trip, and I had to put the Belfort Mansion on the To Do list. The house is a huge two-story 19th century Greek revival mansion in the Garden District, and when producers found it, owners were in the process of turning it from apartments to a single-family house. This is what it looked like during filming:

After the cast moved out, it took about four and a half years to turn it into the single-fam residence, and that’s what it is today. This is what it looked like in 2009 when we creepily stood outside and took pix of ourselves in front of it:

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The color is more beige in person, and the “Belfort” sign on the door is gone. So now that you know what the mansion is up to these days, let’s take a look at what the Real 7 at 7 are up to today.

David Broom

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Then: A student from Chicago who had a 4.0 GPA, didn’t drink or smoke, as working out was his vice. He was known as a ladies man and aspiring musician, as evidenced by his classic hit, Come On Be My Baby Tonight.

Now: David now goes by the name, Tokyo Niyeli, a nickname given to him by his friends because of his love for Japanese anime. He lives in Chicago and continues to do some work with MTV, but he’s also a YouTube personality, thanks to yet another moniker, Chef Showtime. He’s combined his love of cooking and music into one by creating videos of original tunes with recipes of his favorite foods, like this apple pie. It’s actually annoyingly catchy, just like Come On Be My Baby Tonight, which I still think about and sing outloud to this day.

Melissa Howard

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Then: Originally from Tampa, Florida, Melissa was known for bringing comic relief to the house, and is possibly the funniest person to have ever been featured on TRW. She liked to paint, was often the center of attention, and butted heads with David. Often.

Now: Melissa moved to Los Angeles after TWR to be a stand-up comedian, and when she was a guest on The Late Show with Craig Kilborn, she straight up asked for a job, and ended up working as a PA on The Jamie Foxx Show. Later, she became a cast member of Oxygen’s prank show Girls Behaving Badly, and later appeared on Bravo’s Battle of the Network Reality Stars. In 2007, she married Glassjaw rocker Justin Beck, and converted to Judaism.  They live in Long Island, and they have two daughters – Shalom, 6, and Maja, 2. She is an excellent writer and her pieces can be found on her personal Tumblr here.

Kelley Limp

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Then: A sorority girl from Arkansas who was steadily dating a medical student called Peter throughout her time in the house. She became BFFs with gay friend Danny, and had an aspiring career in broadcast journalism.

Now: After the show, she was a caterer and event planner, and eventually moved into being a life coach. Scored big time after marrying actor Scott ‘Dimples’ Wolf in 2004. They live in Los Angeles with their three really super cute kids.

Jamie Murray

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Then: A web entrepreneur from Illinois who had that haircut all the cute boys had in the 2000s. Melissa had a crush on him, but he always brushed it off.

Now: Jamie is still in Chicago and works for Internet company Pauwow.com, which apparently is ” easiest and most conclusive way to poll your friends on Facebook.”

Danny Roberts

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Then: Gorgeous, southern boy from Atlanta, who is close to his mother, but not so much with his father. He’s BFF with Kelley, and was secretly dating Paul, an officer in the military, whose face had to be blurred out to protect his identity thanks to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. Four years after TRW, he and Paul appeared in an MTV special in which Paul revealed his identity.

Now: Still gorgeous and still based in Atlanta. He scored a few acting jobs, including a season four cameo as a ‘French’ guy in Dawson’s Creek, and toured schools talking about diversity in sexuality, coming out, and public policy, particularly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He jumped from career to career, working at a corporate non-profit foundation, to working as a recruiter for real estate website Redfin, and now he works as a talent scout at MailChimp (Yes, that MailChimp). In 2013, he married someone he became friends with in college, and reconnected with after TRW. He also goes by Jason Danny Roberts, his real name, now.

Matt Smith

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Then: Despite looking like a ska/punk rocker with crazy shirts, the Georgia Tech web design student was a devout Catholic who was a big hip-hop fanatic. Julie had a crush on Matt, but he treated her more like her protective brother.

Now: Matt is the founder/CEO of smithHOUSE, a Phoenix-based design focusing on mobile, web, social media, and branding. He is happily married with four daughters who are really super cute. You can keep up with him via his blog, on which he still calls himself a ‘hip-hop mogul’.

Julie Stoffer

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Then: The Mormon girl from BYU. Because of the school’s strict policies, she was constantly worried about her living with men on the show, which goes against the school honor code. She was the ‘innocent’ one and arguably learned a lot from being in the ‘real world’ the most out of all her castmates. She flirted with Matt a lot, but alas, he’s just not that into you.

Now: After appearing in a Real World/Road Rules Challenge or two, and co-hosted G4’s video game-centred show, Electric Playground. She ended up transferring to University of Connecticut, and in 2004, she married Spencer Rogers, an ophthalmologist. His work has taken them across the country, where they lived in Northern California, and currently live in San Luis Obispo, along with their daughter Evelyn and son Westley. Oh, she also changed her name to Juliet.

BONUS:

Some of my fave moments from the show, all happen to feature Melissa. She’s said in an interview that after she saw Ruthie on TRW: Hawaii, a fellow ‘brown girl’, she thought she had a shot of being on the show too. For me, it was one of the first times I had seen a young Filipino girl/woman on TV, and I found her fascinating. Her impressions of her mother, Mercy, was so familiar to me because I knew her. I knew Mercy in real life, not necessarily in my own mother, but parts of her, her friends and relatives. Melissa’s humor was also something I related to, because that is also my default quality. So, here it is, maybe my favorite moment from the season, and all of TRW (that I’ve seen). There are so many things to love about this, the kertanging, the friend playing the computer, Jamie and Kelley listening to David, but the best is Melissa’s comedic commentary.

 

MTV’s Spring Break: Expectations Vs. Reality

First things first: before you ask “but Molly, isn’t Spring Break just a trash-cation for college-aged garbage people?” Yes. Yes it is. I should know – I used to be a college-aged garbage person.

But before I was a college-aged garbage person, I was an impressionable tween learning about my world through MTV. I have no idea if MTV is still considered cool or relevant to today’s teenagers. I just know that when I was 12, MTV was “all that.” My parents didn’t love it, but I was like “guys, they’re marketing to ME! Now, can you please buy me some Clean & Clear and a Seventeen Magazine subscription? I’m told I want both.”

Late 90s, early 2000s MTV is where I learned about the American rite of passage known as Spring Break. This, coupled with watching P.C.U. on cable, formed my basis of what college was like in the 1990s. Imagine my surprise during my 2008 trip to Panama City Beach, when I learned that Spring Break is nothing like I was led to believe.

Expectation: When you go on Spring Break MTV will be there, filming everything.

Reality: A tenth-level MTV affiliate, like MTV-Z or MTV-X, will be there. But creepy old men will also be there filming everything. Yeah, the internet gets pretty weird in the 2000s.

Expectation: You won’t just dance to awesome party jams, you’ll BE the awesome party jams on Say What Karaoke. By the way, Say What Karaoke is where I learned the lyrics to “Too Close” when I was just old enough to know what it meant.

Reality: Say What Karaoke goes the way of the dinosaur by the time you’re in college. However, your first night in Panama you will find a seedy karaoke dive bar with cheap drinks, and you’ll go there every night. The troll-looking bouncer becomes obsessed with one of your friends and for some reason, you find this not just okay but hilarious. But seriously, college kids: if it still exists, you should go to the cheap karaoke bar in Panama. It’s a blast. It’s just not Say What Karaoke-level glamorous.

Expectation: You will spend the weekend in the sand and sun, surrounded at all times by a crowd of fun-loving drunk college kids.

Reality: No, that’s all true. But all of those things are awful.

Expectation: You’ll make friends with college kids from around the nation and maybe the world!

Reality: Here is a rundown of “friends” we made on spring break:

  •  The kids from Ohio who taught us all the OH-IO cheer. Actually, they were cool but it only goes downhill from here.
  • That troll-looking Karaoke Bar guy.
  • These guys we met the first night at the karaoke bar after a 24-hour sleepless bus ride. They were from the South and took us to a diner for grits. Then they took us to see the high-rise the one kid’s dad owned; they were staying in the penthouse. Then they were like oops, that driver we said would take you home just left and it’s 5am, guess you all have to stay! TL;DR I got kidnapped.
  • The girls from our college’s most vicious sorority, whose room was next to ours. When my friend accidentally went into their room and fell asleep like Drunk Goldilocks, she woke up to one of the girls saying “If I were you, I would kill myself.” My friend responded “If I were you, I wouldn’t be such a bitch.”
  • The Christians in a white van who offer free rides to people.
  • The DJ who was from the same super-tiny town as my friend, which gave us a pass to request See You Again by Miley Cyrus more times than was even okay in 2008.

Expectation: You’ll probably run into Jesse Camp!

Reality:  Nah. You’ll run into a lot of people talking like Jesse Camp. That’s because they’re all wasted. The one that stands out in my mind is a girl in our hotel lobby raving about the Baconator she just bought. I congratulated her without any irony, because she was really proud of that Baconator.

Expectation: You will observe and take part in all kinds of wacky contests and win fabulous prizes!

Reality: The contests all involve things like mud and jello, and the grand prize is an extra-large giveaway t-shirt that for some reason people will go apeshit for.

Expectation: College spring break is the best you’ll ever look in your life, just like those girls on Fashionably Loud.

Reality: Let me break it down for you:

After an hour of pre-trip bathing suit shopping, my friends and I were so miserable that we decided we must have low blood sugar. We bought some Auntie Anne’s pretzels, signed up for department store credit cards that we should NOT have signed up for in order to get a 20% discount, then wore our bathing suits occasionally at our house to get used to them. This is probably not an advisable bikini-body plan.

I was also day-glo pale the whole time, because even in Florida, even on Spring Break, I’m still a freckly redhead. And I had giant bags under my eyes because bars closed at 4 A.M. and the free band on the beach started playing at 8 A.M.

Finally, the week before Spring Break I decided I wanted my hair to be more manageable. Do you see where this is going? I went to the bargain salon chain in our small college town for something between chin and shoulder length. This was the second of three times in my life when “between chin and shoulder length” ended up being ear length. I don’t know if it’s my hair type or if all of these hairdressers went to some weird anatomy class where your ear is located somewhere after your face. Then I had to go back the next day and get it cut even shorter because the right side was two inches shorter than the left.

Anyway, I looked sort of appealing, in the same way Dorothy Hamill did and also with the same haircut. It was the haircut every mother hopes her daughter will get right before Spring Break.

So yeah. I did not, in fact, belong on Fashionably Loud, even from far away in one of the crowd scenes.

Expectation:  You will be so pumped for SPRING BREAK! that you’ll have energy for days.

Reality: After a full day on a bus, which kicked off with you scurrying down a gully on a bathroom stop to get shots at an Applebee’s, you will still be shouting “SPRING BREAK!” That’s because you’ll have energy drinks for days. Energy DRINKS. One of my friend had a bunch of Red Bulls then totally tweaked out. He called us in a sweaty panic because his wallet was missing. His wallet was in his bed.

Expectation: One of the hottest bands of the 90s will play for free!

Reality: One of the hottest bands of the 90s WILL play for free. At 8 in the freaking morning. In 2008.

Expectation: You’ll have a crazy week full of wacky stories that you and your friends will laugh about for years to come.

Reality: That’s completely true. But you’re sort of laughing at yourself instead of with yourself, if that makes sense.

 

What to Expect at the VMAs

The 31st annual MTV VMAs are this Sunday, and as the years go on, the older I feel and the less I care about who wins. When I was growing up, I feel like the VMAs was the biggest award show of the year. Like the Oscars for teens, if you will. This might have been partly to do with the fact I was obsessed with BSB and needed them to win every award over ‘N Sync (for the record, this is the third time this week I’ve mentioned BSB. I’m not usually this hardcore). But it was also the days of Courtney Love throwing things, Britney & ‘N Sync performing together, and Diana Ross giving a love tap to Lil Kim’s one boob. Now it’s all about twerking and meat dresses. Ugh I’m starting to sound like Drunk Uncle. But I’m assuming the main reason a lot of people tune in to the VMAs is just to see what ridiculous things could possibly happen. So what’s in store this year? Probably a lot of things that will make you question where your youth went. If you’re thinking of tuning in on Sunday, here’s a few things to look out for so you know what you’re in for.

Girl Power

Everyone’s favorite female Australian rapper whose name sounds like a flower, Iggy Azalea, is tied for Beyonce with the most nominations at eight, and there’s no doubt Iggy will be walking away with at least one of them. It’ll also be a big night for Ariana Grande who is nominated for four VMAs – all of which are for Problem with Iggy. You know who doesn’t have a problem? These two. GET IT??

Crying, because, Sam Smith

All hail the male Adele! I’ve loved Sam Smith ever since the first time I heard Latch last year, and I’m so glad he’s doing so well for himself. Performing on the VMAs is big for any artist, but when you’re a British nobody one year and 365 days later you’re on stage for one of the most talked about awards shows of the year, it’s a big deal. I’m probs going to cry because I have a soft spot for success stories. Also, I have a lot of feelings.

Something Ice Bucket Challenge Related

Apparently there’s no host for the main show this year, but someone is bound to make some kind of reference to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Perhaps Nicki Minaj challenging Iggy? Demi nominating Taylor Swift? Every celebrity in the audience should just pull out $10 bucks and a giant bucket of ice water should just pour over them from the rafters.

Already Being Over Taylor Swift’s Pop Phase

Taylor is performing on Sunday, and one can only assume she’ll be debuting her new single Take It Off for the first time live. I already divulged my thoughts about her new pop record, but seeing it in all its glory will take T Swizzle to a whole new level. That level is not necessarily good.

Referencing Miley’s Twerking

Miley is officially confirmed to return to the VMAs after her shitshow of a performance last year, because MTV bosses are gluttons for punishment. It doesn’t really matter if she’ll be performing or presenting – either way, Miley is going to make her presence known and make sure you don’t forget it – just like her twerking.

Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda Don’t Want None

If the Television Parents Council or whoever always gets their panties in a bunch over the oversexualizing of celebrities onscreen need something to complain about this year – it will probably be over this. Nicki’s video for Anaconda is already risque, so imagine it on the stage in front of a live audience. Butt. There will be a lot of butt.

Bey Being Bey

The Queen is receiving this year’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. If you recall from last year, Justin Timberlake won the same award, with a 15-minute medley of his best songs, including that epic ‘N Sync reunion. So will Bey be able to top it? I believe B is able to do anything she puts her mind to, but it’ll be a close call. If you watch anything from the VMAs, watch this.

Still Figuring Out Who 5 Seconds of Summer Are

So they’re a real band? They’re not even that cute? But the tweens love them? IDGI.

Categories That Should Be Added to the MTV Movie Awards

The 2014 MTV Movie Awards are on Sunday and if you had no idea this was happening, congratulations – you’re officially an adult. The following seems like an obvious statement, but the older I get, the less I am in touch with youth culture. Let me rephrase that: the older I get, the less denial I’m in realizing I’m in touch with the youth culture.

And the older I get, and the more MTV Movie Awards/Video Music Awards that happen, just make me yearn for the days of yore, or basically when I cared about who was winning. For example, the best moment ever in MTV Movie Award history was in 2005, when power couple Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were still dating, and they won for Best Kiss. Reminisce with me here:

I will hand it to MTV, because this is the only awards show where you can get away with a category like Best Kiss. Not to mention, they also give out the Best Scared-as-shit Performance, Best Shirtless Performance, #wtf Moment and Best on-screen dirtbag (RIP to that category).

Because MTV is in the business of giving out ridiculous, truthful awards, here are some suggestions of what they can add to the show moving forward. Maybe I’ll actually remember and take note of the Movie Awards if that happens…

 Best Red Carpet Style

Lupita Nyong’o

I think it’s pretty clear that no one else deserves this more than our girl crush, Lupita. After this awards season, she proved to be the one person that everyone was anticipating to come down the red carpet. From her epic Ralph Lauren red cape dress to her Oscar-winning Prada gown, no one else even came close to her fierceness this year. We all need to bow down to Queen Lupita.

Best Onscreen Couple That Is Actually An Offscreen Couple Too

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not even a big fan of superhero movies, and have only seen a handful, but I strangely ship these two? Maybe I even saw the first Spider-Man because of them as a couple? Ugh whatevs. It’s clear they have off the charts chemistry on screen, and in interviews it’s clear to see that their personalities click so well too, despite the fact they never want to talk about their relationship. But I mean come on. How cute are they?

The couple that dances together… stays together? That’s an old adage right?

Best Hookup You’ve Been Waiting for for 10 Years

Veronica Mars + Logan Echolls – Veronica Mars

SIGH. What can I say? The Veronica Mars Movie was everything I’ve been waiting for and more. Fellow Marshmallows were expecting this hookup to happen so it wasn’t a surprise, but boy was it worth all the money I gave to Kickstarter JUST for the epic Logan and Veronica scenes. I could talk about this for hours, but what’s great about this is that even after 7 years off the air, all the characters fall into their old rhythms, and just like the fans, they’ve grown up over the years. But Logan and Veronica, no matter where their lives take them – will always come back to each other. Epic.

Best Kids’ Movie For Adults

Frozen

The last animated/kids movie I saw before Frozen was Up, and that made me cry like a fool. This movie, however, made me laugh and feel all warm inside like all the classic Disney princess movies did when I was a kid. And that’s what’s made it one of the most successful movies in the world. Literally. The story is great, the jokes are on point (see: Arrested Development refrences for the adults) and IDGAF, but I blast the soundtrack and sing Love is and Open Door at the top of my lungs driving down the streets of Hollywood. Let it go, motherfuckers. Let it alllll go.

Scariest Non-Scary Movie

Gravity


I’m not into watching horror movies. I used to be able to watch them and laugh nervously when scary parts came on, but I just don’t have the time nor patience to do that anymore. But Gravity is the closest thing I’ve seen to a horror movie in a long time, and that’s good enough for me. I saw this in the theater, which is really the only proper way to seen Gravity, and the extreme scale of the movie makes you feel like you’re out there in space with Sandra Bullock, leaving you with an odd feeling of emptiness or just a wonderment of how vast the world really is. I legit had to sit in my seat and not move for like 10 minutes because it was so jarring.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Horrible Movie

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine


Couldn’t tell you what happened in this movie except  the fact that Cate Blanchett was the best part about it and she deserved allll the awards for this performance. Oh and Ali Fedotowsky, former Bachelorette, made a cameo in it. Yup, you can tell I’m not a cinephile.

Best Worst Movie You Forgot Existed

Movie 43


I actually forgot this movie existed until I saw it won Worst Movie at the Razzies this year. Second hand embarassment for everyone involved in this.

Best Movie That Turned Your Laughter Into An Ugly Cry

The Best Man Holiday


I CAME FOR THE HBMS AND LEFT WITH MASCARA RUNNING DOWN MY FACE. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK. Taye Diggs didn’t warn me about this. No spoilers, just watch it for yourself, because it’s actually a really good movie. Except IDK if I could ever put myself through the pain of ugly crying. My friend and I had no idea it was going to take a turn and since I didn’t come prepared with tissues, ended up crying into my sleeve. Ugh.

Best Movie That’s Definitely NOT About Scientology

After Earth

Will Smith wrote the story for After Earth and stars in it, and there’s a lot of people who think this is reflective of his beliefs in Scientology but I’m not saying it is because I definitely don’t want them to come into my apartment and secretly audit me, because this movie is definitely NOT about Scientology…

Best Least Believable Couple

Theodore + Samantha – Her

Falling in love with an operating system? Come on. What is this, the future? Not believable at all.

5 Things You Missed At The VMAs

Missed the VMAs yesterday? Don’t worry, because I got you covered. And it’s probably for the best because there was a good amount of people on the red carpet that I had absolutely NO IDEA who they were. I am old.

Also, before I go into the top moments from the show, can I just share something that’s annoyed me since I started watching this awards show back in the day? WHY is it called the VMAs – as in Video Music Awards? Shouldn’t it be MVAs – Music Video Awards?? Someone from MTV get back to me on that.

Anyways, the storied “VMAs” headed back to NYC and for the first time were held in Brooklyn at Barclay’s Center – aka the place where Jay Z’s basketball team plays. To me, MTV goes hand in hand with New York, probably because of the TRL days, so it’s great that the show was back in the Big Apple.

People are probably going to be talking about things that happened during the show, so here’s a breakdown of the things that went down on Sunday so you can talk to your 20-year-old co-worker/intern about what happened…

5) Amen! Hallelujah! Praise Yeezus

^click for video^

Kanye is on hand (without North or Kimmy K) to sing Blood on the Leaves. He starts off with a red light on his face as he raps into a mic, and then pans out to show just his shadow against this background, and it’s actually really great. Just him performing without all the extra shit. If anyone saw him on Kris Jenner’s show on Friday, he talked about how he went to art school, had three scholarships, and considers himself an artist above anything else. This performance just proved it.

4) Taylor Swift is still an asshat (see here)

So the very first award of the night is for Best Pop Video. Presenting is One Direction, and among the nominees is Selena Gomez. If you haven’t put it together yet, Selena is BFF with Taylor (hence them sitting next to each other) and Taylor used to “date” Harry in 1D (the most famous one with the brown shaggy hair). As 1D was talking, the cameras went to Taylor and Selena, and Taylor said this:

You first.

Selena incidentally won the award, and politely kissed Harry on the cheek.

Later, Taylor won the award for Best Female Video, and said this during her speech:

When winning Best Female Video, Taylor says, “I want to thank the person who inspired this song – who knows exactly who he is – because now I got one of these.”… CUT TO HARRY STYLES LOOKING AWKWARD.

TAYLOR YOU ARE 23 YEARS OLD. GET IT TOGETHER. Even Selena’s over your complaining – look at her face. You always make it look like you’re the victim, but here you are standing in front of the world practically bullying your ex-boyfriend. Just a simple ‘thank you’ would have been sufficient. The girl really needs to learn the art of letting go…

3) Lady Gaga out Gagas Gaga

Gaga opens the show and the very first sight you see of the MTV VMAs is this:

And then this:

 Okay Stefani, you look creepy even for Lady Gaga standards. You look like an extra on a kids’ daytime show like the Teletubbies or something. But if you’re not disturbing by that sort of thing, watch the whole performance.

Oddness aside, I appreciated the fact she kicked off her performance by singing without overproduced beats in the background and just showcasing her voice. But then she broke out into Applause. Through a series of quick on stage costume changes she kind of goes through her discography from Poker Face to Telephone and finally to Artpop. Also all her dancers look like Mike Myers’ Sprockets sketch from SNL.

PS: Another reason to love Gaga despite her odditties – when One Direction won for Song of the Summer, apparently people were booing, and she was not okay with it. She even told the boys themselves.

2) Miley Cyrus twerks with Robin Thicke

click on image for the performance that will damage your brain

First off Vanessa Bayer shows up with her Miley Cyrus impression and it’s the best thing to happen so far (you know, like 20 mintues in). If you wanted more Miley twerking besides that one video of her in a onesie, here it is. Miley’s been toting around this huge stuff bear Boo (like the one in the video), and now the entire stage is filled with bears. Miley breaks out into We Can’t Stop in her furry swimsuit and her mohawk pulled into tiny buns like Gwen Stefani during the Tragic Kingdom days.

Incidentally, this was at the VMAs in 1998

And then she sheds the furry thing off to reveal a bathing nude bikini akin to the girls in the Blurred Lines video, and she begins to twerk on Robin Thicke while they duet on his song. I am uncomfortable, mainly because Hannah Montana should be wearing more clothes and not humping a married man that maybe could be her dad. If Liam hasn’t broken up with her yet, he should now.

But really, the audience reactions were the best. And they were more or less the same.

if your eyes haven’t burned out yet…

Drake bobbin his head, but not being able to actually look at her out of longterm damage

Second hand embarrassment from 1D and high as a kite Rihanna barely understanding what’s happening and if Miley is stealing her moves

Jaden’s face is usually like that, but entirely appropriate for this occasion…

1) Justin Timberlake proves he’s meant to be a solo artist aka *NSYNC reunites

look into JT’s eyes & click the pic for video!

First off, my boy Jimmy Fallon is (fittingly) giving this award to JT. We start off in the lobby and it looks like a love lip dub – and ironically similar to the opening number Jimmy did at the Emmys a few years ago. Basically I just want a posse of dancers to follow me everywhere I go. He then goes into an epic medley of his greatest hits and it is amazing. I had the chance to go to the Legends of Summer tour at Fenway Park in Boston a couple weeks ago, and it was seriously the best concert I’ve ever been to. I think sometimes we forget that JT has so many hits until he sings them in succession and you end up knowing every single word to all his songs. That’s a legend right there. At the VMAs, he spent a minute or two cover a bunch of his hits, making each one seem like its own mini concert.

And then came *NSYNC. Too bad they couldn’t keep that a secret, because it would have been awesome to be surprised when these four other guys joined him on stage. But I get it – they wanted to make sure they got the *NSYNC fans to watch – slash any viewers they could get. Speaking as a Backstreet Boys fan, I even felt like they could’ve been up there longer. But as my friend Meghan (a *NSYNC fan) said, ‘Pretend you hadn’t seen BSB for 10 years. That 90 seconds was well worth it.’ So I suppose the 90 seconds was better than nothing. But at least they came out singing songs I actually liked (Gone, Girlfriend). Chris proved that he should’ve been training for this reunion since the day they broke up because boy needed to keep up with the rest of the group (also, apparently Chris’ trap door failed…). And what was with JC sneaking in a riff at the end? But since JT wasn’t done, the four others went back on their platforms, and slowly descended back down into the pit of being in Justin Timberlake’s shadow.

JT continues his 20 minute medley and the cameras keep showing Taylor Swift singing and dancing in the audience. Okay, so at the Grammys and the CMAs (or country like awards show) they kept doing the same thing and showed TSwift awkwardly dancing. THIS IS A FORMAL PETITION TO START BANNING HER FROM DANCING AT ALL AWARDS SHOWS. NAY, THIS IS A PETITION TO STOP ALL PRODUCERS OF AWARDS SHOWS FROM SHOWING HER IN THE AUDIENCE EVER. I WANT TO SEE AS MUCH JT AS POSSIBLE. GOOD DAY SIR.

Finally it comes to an end and Jim Jam comes back on the stage hyped as ever and legit going to lose his voice from pumping up JT so much. Worth it. Bros ❤ JT is as humble as ever, even thanks his boys of *NSYNC for being the reason why he was up there in the first place. “I don’t deserve this ward but i’m not gonna give it back” Fair.

Honorable Mentions

 – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis promote equality with Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson. Those harmonies between the ladies tho.

Katy Perry roars under the Brooklyn Bridge. NGL, I love that song. I felt like I could wrestle a lion after that.

– A collective ‘Who da fuck is that??’ from all the millennials who were tuning in to see the *NSYNC reunion.

August is National Catfish Month

No, you did not read that incorrectly, and no I did not make that up.

In fact, National Catfish Month has been in place for over 20 YEARS. It was appointed to honor the U.S. farm-raised fish as well as the great farmers all over the country who take care of them.

But really, you didn’t click on this post because you’re a fish enthusiast, right?

If you’re like me, your brain probably immediately went to this image:

“Hi, I’m Nev. And this is my buddy Max.”

I’ve previously live blogged an episode of Catfish before, but many hopeless internet daters have come and gone since then. Nev and Max have exposed us to many fake people across the country, and they’ve also let us into their own special bromance that I can’t get enough of (But also, I love Nev and would probs try to Catfish him again if he didn’t have a girlfriend).

So I thought it was only appropriate to celebrate National Catfish Month by honoring our own American heroes – the ones who have helped bring a dose of reality to dozens of people in the U.S – as well as the Catfish they’ve caught in the past two seasons.  Here are a list of the best Catfishes (so far).

5) Sunny & Jamison

Sunny’s search for her true love Jamison was the very first episode of the series and really set the tone for the show. Turns out Jamison is really Chelsea, who created the profile to get revenge on a friend. But then we find out she’s bisexual and actually really likes Sunny. She’s also been teased a lot as a teen, and just wanted to be liked for once without the judgement of how she looked. Unfortunately, this is a common theme throughout the series, which explains why a lot of these folks make up the fake profiles.

4) Lauren & Derek

OH MY GODDD WE’RE IN DEREK’S DRIVEWAY

Lauren met Derek on MySpace and have been dating for the past 8 years. In those 8 years, she’s had a baby, was engaged, and broke it off because she  still had faith in her relationship with Derek – whom she’s never met. What’s crazy about this is that they met on MYSPACE. Tom would be so proud. Anyways, I hate to admit that this episode actually made me cry. It’s probably because of Lauren’s dad, but also maybe because she never doubted that he was who he said he was. Even Nev, who is usually the one who thinks ‘it’s really them‘, had to express his doubts that Derek wasn’t real. One of the few successful stories in Catfish history, Lauren and Derek go down in the internet record books.

3) Trina & Scorpio

Call me crazy, but this may be the first time I’ve sympathized with a stripper. A stripper who goes by ‘Trina the Natural’. And in all honestly, she’s the one that made this episode so great, not “Scorpio” aka Lee, who has 4 children instead of 2 like he told her, and is actually 32 and not 27 years old. She seemed so hopeful about Scorpio – and one of those women who are way too smart and charismatic to be an ‘exotic dancer’.

2)  Cassie & Steve

The second season of Catfish didn’t disappoint. Cassie had been through a lot over the past few years, after her father was brutally murdered. Amid alcohol, drug use, and sleeping around, Cassie found solace in a guy she met online named Steve.  They built a relationship and she began to turn her life around – and she even asked Steve to marry her – to which he said yes. Too bad he wasn’t real, because he turned out to be Cassie’s best friend IRL, Gladys. Oops. Gladys insisted she only did it to help Cassie turn her life around, which I guess is a good reason, if any?

1) Jasmine & Mike

If you only watch one episode of catfish, let it be this one. Jasmine had been in a relationship with Mike for the past two years, but had online chatted online and texted – never met or talked on the phone. Turned out that Mike was a girl named Mhissy, who Jasmine knew in real life. Mhissy was getting back at Jasmine for not leaving her boyfriend alone after they hooked up. But the first confrontation is out of this world – I don’t know how Nev and Max made it out of there alive.