Mike's Soapbox

Welcome back to Mike’s Soapbox, though since I got no feedback(poor little me) I’m going to assume you just missed us and it’s your first time. So hello. This is a column where I get to be me, and we’ve got panelists who help out and wax poetic on different topics. If you want to be a panelist and share your thoughts with the readers e-mail me at the link below. This week I’m just flying solo. Let’s get through some appetizers before chowing down on the main course

Obligatory InsidePulse Section Devoted To Baseball- I don’t care about baseball in the least, never have never will and could not sit through a whole game even if I was under heavy sedation. I do however find it tragic that someone died over stupid rioting. First of all why the hell would you riot if your team wins? “I’m so overwhelmed with joy and excitement, MUST SMASH!!!!”. I think that there’s a direct correlation between how boring a sport is and how violent the riots are afterwards, though under that assumption villages would be razed to the ground after golf tournaments. If you do like baseball we’ve certainly got a lot of good coverage of it all over the site.

To illustrate how low my life must be, as I’m writing this I’m watching The Cat In the Hat on HBOwhile waiting for the South Park marathon to start shortly. They were right, it’s not TV. It’s much much worse. This Cat In the Hat film is beyond bad. I had to give it a peek since I’m an admirer of Seuss. If you’ve seen this awful movie too, wash the taste out of your mouth with a good film. Why not go see Team America: World Police. I can’t stress enough how great of a movie this is. A truly unique film experience that’s worth the money, unlike Sky Captain.

On to this weeks topic, my love and hate relationship with VH-1.

If crack could be put into television form, Vh-1 would be thy name. I began watching the network innocently enough in the early when they were the gentler, adult contemporary side of MTV. Instead of Nirvana, it was Natalie Merchant. The network caught my interest moreso with the quirky series Pop Up Video. I’d put in on while I was on the computer or doing homework, but pretty soon I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen, fascinated by facts such as the name of the boat Cher strutted about on during If I Could Turn Back Time, and what Mighty Mouse had to do with Madonna’s Like A Prayer”. Then Behind the Music came around, with its cyclical stories of rise/fall/rise again. It didn’t matter if it was MC Hammer or Tony Orlando, someone was going to get wasted, lose money, and make it back to the recording studio for a second shot. Game shows like My Generation and Rock and Roll Jeapordy began to trickle on, and Flickerstick was appointed winner of the first and last annual Bands on the Run competition. Where Are They Now was a particular favorite of mine, where the has-beens not good enough for their own Behind the Musics, were given a few minutes to let us know their still alive. And the list specials started trickling too. It started with 100 Greatest Bands, then 100 Greatest Songs, then 100 Greatest Albums, TV music Moments, Rocks most shocking moments, greatest music videos, best women in rock, and so forth. I watched all of these lists shows, day after day and then again when they showed them in five hour blocks down the line. Then they had the 200 greatest pop icons. Pop Up Video and Behind the Music were all but gone by this time, and specials about bad hair and loving the 80’s cropped up. And like an addict, I consumed them too. But not as willingly. And now those reality shows about reality shows and The Fabulous Life are around, and I can’t even think of digesting them.

To paraphrase Fred Willard’s character in A Mighty Wind, Wha Hoppened to Vh-1? Wasn’t it about the music originally? Sure, they still show videos, but never after 11:00 A.M. and before 3:00 A.M. unless Michael Ian Black and Hal Sparks are commenting on them. They’ve become nothing more than a glorified rip-off of E!, a network that tries to refer to itself as means of staying hip. Whatever mindless fluff they don’t focus on, Vh-1 probably will, and usually does. There are a smidgen of shows, such as Bands Reunited and In Search of the Partridge Family that could constitute as musical programming, but other than that, it’s nothing but unspectacular specials. Hell, they even had a show about women’s tennis and another about Nascar. Nascar??!!! Argghhh!!! And yet I still click the channel to see what’s on there at least three times a day. Am I just a TV junkie? There is absolutely no redeemable value to the majority of the programming. Whose responsible here, the dealer or the user? Yes I watch the Surreal Life and even review it for this here site, so accusations of being a hypocrite may be lobbed at me, but in my defense, I watched the show before it found it’s home on the network.

Now when I watch VH-1, I don’t feel the bit of escapism I sought before. It just makes me realize how desperate and sad of a person I really am. I mean, I watched VH-1 originally because MTV stopped focusing on music. MTV2’s not much better, since they can’t show videos unless it’s in some format and even then there aren’t too many of those because of all the”¦specials they show. Vh-1 Classics and Fuse do it too. All these different formats, where the same thousand or so videos are put into different categories so that people can watch exactly what they want without exposing themselves to a new genre of music. All I want is a channel that shows nothing but videos all day. Take every single video that has ever been made (international ones too since they’re really fun) and randomly air them one after another. Is that too much to ask? The list shows and exposé’s were fun at first, but there are only so many ways to glorify the Beatles and lament Vanilla Ice. I don’t want them on my video channel. It would start with one and never end. And besides, hell will freeze over before I owe Donal Louge a paycheck.

What do you think of VH-1? How would you design a music video channel? Write me and let me know, it’s always good to hear from readers. See you next time.