Sunday, March 25, 2007

Remembering The State

It has long been accepted that MTV no longer plays music videos, and in the future, generations will wonder if MTV ever played music videos -- that is, if they still know what music videos are by then. The music video is a dying medium. YouTube provided a beacon of hope a while ago, but, as a certified killer-of-time, I've noticed that it's becoming more and more difficult to find music videos on YouTube, what with everyone and their mothers filing lawsuits against them. It's almost as if ViaCom is grabbing YouTube by the collar and saying to 'em, "Look, if anyone is going to NOT show music videos, it's going to be US!"

Just like "video killed the radio star" circa 1984, mind-numbing programming is killing the video star circa now. [Granted, most music videos that actually get airplay are about as mind-numbing as the shows that have largely taken their place.] Take this "Engaged & Underage" filth that I saw on MTV the other day. So let me get this straight, sweetheart -- 21 years old and you have found the man that you want to spend "forever" with? Hey, that's fine by me, I won't even dig deep into the fact that about 80% of marriages that take place between people so young end up in divorce. Instead, here's my issue -- you claim to be so devoted to that person that you dropped out of college and got a shit job sticking price-tags on canned food at the local Safeway to save up money for your wedding. Well, by my estimation, "forever" is a pretty long time. In fact, about 5 years from now, we'll still be in the midst of "forever". So, how about you use that time to get your education, establish a long-term career for yourself, and then you can get married? That'd be the sensible thing to do in my eyes, but then again, MTV's programming hasn't been sensible in a long time.

That's not to say that I expect something intellectual from MTV -- far from it. But I still want to believe that there's more to their network's programming than following people around with cameras and waiting for them to do something. I miss the MTV shows that at least appeared like they were putting forth some effort to be entertaining. Jackass. The Tom Green Show. Buzzkill. The Jon Stewart Show. Motherfucking Remote Control, even.

But the show that I miss the most from MTV's past was The State, a sketch comedy show which ran from 1993 to 1995, starring the comedy troupe of the same name. If you don't remember The State, chances are that you've come across them in some way, shape or form, as members have since gone on to star in Comedy Central vehicles like Viva Variety (which was short-lived, but wasn't that funny), Stella (which was also short-lived, but pretty funny in a "downright silly" short of way), and Reno 911! (which is a mega success though it can be hit-or-miss at times). Most would agree, though, that their MTV show was their best work -- creatively written, absurd ideas, and the ridiculous transitions between sketches were flawlessly-executed.

Fortunately, MTV is making somewhat of an effort to stir up interest in The State again, releasing 1st season episodes on iTunes, with future releases (and possibly a DVD) if there appears to be demand for it. If you are a proud owner of a Video iPod (which I recently became), it's definitely worth the $1.99 per episode. And if you're not, or are cheap (which would be odd, considering that iPods themselves cost at least 100% more than a single episode), here are a few clips of the show I was able to scrounge. Check 'em out before YouTube gets sued again.

[Note: Below is what I hope to become one day.]