MTV

The Emptiness of MTV’s Faux-Lesbian Dramedy ‘Faking It’

After watching the first three episodes twice each, I’m still unsure as to what I’m supposed to make of Faking It. The very basic premise — two teenage girls pretend to be a lesbian couple in order to become popular in high school — was worrisome from the beginning. MTV’s announcement of the show and the subsequent trailer release swiftly earned it detractors, but the network and showrunner Carter Covington, who also originally found the premise offensive, stuck by it, harping on the fact that there’s an inspirational message behind it. That’s somewhat true; there isn’t much to be offended by, but that’s only because there isn’t much to the show. Faking It, which premieres Tuesday night, is too average to offend. … Read More

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40 Best TV Shows Available Only On Amazon Instant Video

When it comes to streaming video sites, Netflix and Hulu are the most popular. However, Amazon Instant Video has been establishing itself as a fierce competitor. The price for Amazon Prime may seem steep after its recent increase to $99 a year, but it works out to just $8.25 a month. To compare, Netflix and Hulu Plus are both $7.99/month, although Amazon’s price also includes free two-day shipping and the Kindle Lending Library. Plus, Netflix takes much longer to put up newer episodes, and Hulu still has annoying commercials even if you opt for the paid service. But the TV selection on Amazon Instant Video is also just superior — exclusive NBCUniversal deals and vintage Nickelodeon favorites and one-season wonders galore! These 40 shows available on Amazon, but not on Netflix or Hulu, may just convince you to switch… Read More

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“Bossy” Is for Girls, “Hero” Is for Boys: Why Gendered Language Matters

“I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” Maybe it’s because those words came out of Beyoncé’s mouth (and Jane Lynch’s, and Diane von Furstenberg’s), but Lean In’s minute-long “Ban Bossy” video grabbed my interest, whereas the organization’s previous efforts just raised my eyebrows. The campaign, co-sponsored with the Girl Scouts, is far from perfect, and it’s already attracted its fair share of flak. But it calls attention to an issue that’s gotten far less air time in high-profile feminist rhetoric than the gender breakdown of the Fortune 500: the way words can subtly shape our conceptions of what is and isn’t appropriate for girls. … Read More

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‘Ex-Plosion’ Is the Stupidest, Craziest ‘Real World’ Season Yet — But Is That a Bad Thing?

For 22 years, The Real World remained a staple in reality television without ever drastically changing its original format. The Real World never needed any tweaking. It is often considered the first reality show — though it was predated by identical Dutch program Nummer 28 and, most notably, PBS’ An American Family, a documentary series that directly inspired Real World co-creators Jonathan Murray and the late Mary-Ellis Bunim. Yet The Real World is known as the television series that launched this massive reality-genre world. It was beloved by its viewers, built for office water-cooler conversations, and, during earlier seasons, hailed by critics for its groundbreaking format and depiction of serious issues. The series was a runaway hit for MTV (and is its longest-running program to date) and managed to stay that way for 28 seasons without any major changes. Until now. … Read More

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Miley and Madonna’s ‘Unplugged’ Hoedown

In case Lynard Skynard was planning on covering Miley Cyrus’s party anthem “We Can’t Stop,” too bad, because Cyrus already… Read More

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Watching ‘Nirvana: Unplugged’ 20 Years Later

Kurt Cobain had surely lost any bit of the enthusiasm he once had for performing by the time he strapped on his acoustic guitar, let out a long, audible breath, and addressed the ’90s coffeehouse crowd MTV had assembled for Nirvana: Unplugged with a self-consciously stiff “good evening.” Less than five months after the special’s November 18, 1993 taping, he would be dead. And in his suicide note, Cobain would cite his alienation from fans at live shows as part of the reason he was taking his own life. “[W]hen we’re backstage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowd begins, it doesn’t affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd, which is something I totally admire and envy,” he wrote. “Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage.” … Read More

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Who Will Be the Katniss of ‘The Real World: Catching Fire’?

Perhaps you watched the trailer for The Real World‘s 29th season, which debuted online today. And perhaps your response was, “Oh no. Oh no. It wasn’t enough to drop the average IQ of the housemates by five points with each new cast? They had to throw these intoxicated clowns’ deranged exes into the mix, too?” That’s entirely understandable! But something quite different occurred to me as I previewed The Real World: Ex-Plosion. I think there’s a radical producer at MTV — one who may be taking her cues from a certain obscure showrunner named Plutarch Heavensbee. … Read More

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It’s Time for MTV to Kill ‘The Real World’

Last week, MTV announced that the 29th season of The Real World, the seminal reality TV show that launched not just the music network’s foray into original programming (and eventual transition from playing actual music videos) but also the reality TV boom that carried over onto network television in the late ’90s, would be returning to San Francisco, the setting of the series’ third season. The Real World set up a pretty easy, oft-repeated template that worked with a variety of gimmicks, ranging from romantic competitions to ropes courses set in exotic locales: put a group of diverse young people together in a too-small space, all of whom seek the same goal (fame, or as it was later evident, temporary infamy), and watch all hell break loose. Sources close to the show have told Variety that it could be the series’ last season. To that, I say: Good riddance.  … Read More

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