As previously noted in Rocks Off, August 1st, 2011 will mark the 30th anniversary of that moon man planting that flag, claiming cable for MTV. In 1981, even the biggest dreamers at the channel couldn't have imagined what it would become, or that they would relegate videos to 3 a.m. to show pregnant teenagers and juiceheads during the day, but that's a discussion for another time.
In the three decades that have passed, the network has had its great moments bringing monumental artists together for performances. It's had its sad moments honoring those musicians and entertainers who left us too soon. And, most notably, MTV has had its fair share of moments that made us say WTF?
Here is a list of Music Television's - a name by which it is no longer called, seriously - most WTF moments. Of course, people like Tom Green and the Jackass crew are disqualified, because we have the lowest expectations for them.
Most members of the KISS army would like to forget this moment. To those who are familiar with the Detroit Rock City rockers, they are known as unbridled, unrelenting badasses. At least as much as you could be with cat whiskers.
So in 1983, when KISS decided to ditch the makeup as an attempt for a fresh start, it shocked everyone to discover that they really just looked like our ugly uncles. There's nothing really dangerous or badass about that.
It would take over 10 years to rectify this misstep, when in 1996 KISS returned to the stage with full makeup and costume. Now those are the dudes who wrote "Love Gun" a song about, well, if it isn't obvious already.
The '90s were a simpler time. A time when someone could make a three-minute-long fart joke, and it was pleasantly accepted. On his trip to becoming the "king of all media" Howard Stern decided to crash the crux of the day's youth, the VMAs, with the very thing the youth identified with strongest: fart jokes.
Borrowing wardrobe inspiration from his purple highness Prince, Stern descended from the rafters of UCLA's Pauley Pavilion only to have Beverly Hills, 90210's Luke Perry hold on to his buttocks for power. Also, fans rushed the stage to touch Stern's ass, but this crowd surprise was welcomed, unlike others that were to come in the future.
Notably, while this was happening onstage, Nirvana and Guns N' Roses nearly had a backstage brawl after tough talk between the bands' two lead singers Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose. However, not even a whiff a fight occurred.
Jesse Camp Wins I Wanna Be a VJ
Resale Concert Tickets
VJ. The term seems so odd and outdated to say now, but in the heyday of MTV's musical dominance they were the gatekeepers to all the stuff we wanted to see and all the info that we needed to know. They were fun, goofy; they could be our best friend, and in 1998, the channel gave us, the viewers, a chance to live the dream.
After many young hopefuls auditioned for the gig, it was down to two contestants: Dave Holmes and Jesse Camp. Holmes seemingly was a more knowledgeable type than scarecrow-like Camp, and appeared surer of himself on camera. But to everyone's surprise, it would be spaced out, alleged former hobo Camp who would win the job, although ultimately, both were hired.
Later, the Village Voice revealed that a hacker under the name UglyPig assisted in voting for Camp by voting more than 3,000 times by himself. While Holmes has landed firmly on his feet at a gig on FX's DVD on TV as well as guest spots on Reno 911, Jesse Camp has all but faded into obscurity, save for an appearance in 2008 on Total Request Live's final show and a parody Twitter account under his name that insults people.
The Slap Heard Round The World: Real World Seattle
MTV, for better or worse, was instrumental in launching and sustaining reality TV. The Real World, when it started in 1992, was a place that said they were going to stop being polite and start being real, which really, is another way of saying you're going to be an asshole. But the pioneering show had several honest and touching moments, most notably The Real World: San Francisco's Pedro Zamora's proud and heartbreaking battle with AIDS.
But along with the heartfelt or genuine moments, The Real World also had those moments that made our jaws drop in shock. Such was the case of The Real World: Seattle with cast members Stephen Williams and Irene McGee. Shouting matches and fights were nothing new in the world of reality TV, but this was a line that had not been, and probably should not have been, crossed. Irene cited leaving the house due to her Lyme Disease (later, she would reveal she had grown weary of the show), and on her way out, had an argument with Stephen that would culminate in his assaulting her.
Following her stint in Seattle, McGee would become an outspoken advocate against the manipulative practices of reality TV and the media in general, taking many of her opinions to podcasts and blogging. Williams, was quieter in his infamy, until he announced he was coming out of the closet and got engaged in 2008.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Speaking of unwelcome guests... Nobody was more unwelcome than Kanye West at the 2009 VMAs. In accepting her award for Best Female Video, Taylor Swift was overwhelmed with joy, almost speechless for one of her first mainstream accolades, until The Louis Vuitton Don had something on his mind that could not wait. Though it's a smart bet that Beyoncé and Taylor felt it could.
West was already on shaky ground with MTV for making a stink numerous times with the VMAs. First with not winning, classic Kanye, then he had a problem with letting an unready Britney Spears open the show over him in 2008. This was supposed to be the straw that broke the camel's back as he was rumored to be banned from the VMAs. Until the next year, where he premiered his first single from his best-reviewed album to date, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
After a whirlwind apology tour and throngs of hate-filled mobs directed Kanye's way, all three artists involved would be successful post-stage-crash and can look back at this moment with a shrug, but there probably isn't a collaboration coming anytime soon.