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.

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.