Tuned In

MTV Embraces a New Era's Optimism, Underwear

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“After years of celebrating wealth, celebrity and the vapid excesses of youth, MTV is trying to gloss its escapist entertainment with a veneer of positive social messages.”
–The New York Times, 4/19/09

“There’s a palpable generational shift in attitudes that’s informing a new point of view as we develop content and the brand…. Millennials have a great sense of optimism and are filled with a ‘can do’ spirit that’s infused into all areas of their lives.”
—Tony DiSanto, head of MTV programming, 4/28/09

“How do you go into a ____ing Jacuzzi with a thong? And a bra. Wear a thong bikini, that’s a little bit more classier, if you’re going to wear anything at all.”
—Angelina, MTV’s Jersey Shore, 12/3/09

Well, there are a couple of ways of looking at this. On the one hand, the two-hour debut last week of reality-show/Italian-American-defamation-fiesta/STD-awareness-film Jersey Shore could be seen as further proof that the network’s vaunted turn toward idealism and altruism was actually as laughable as it sounded at the time.

On the other hand, the show’s debut itself post only OK ratings, despite a fairly heavy promotional push. Maybe the buzz over the show’s thong-baring shamelessness will boost the numbers in the second week. Or maybe a show about a house of young people volunteering in a literacy program on the Jersey shore over the summer would have done far better.

Ah, well. At the end of the month, MTV debuts The Real World: D.C. Maybe it can work in drunken Jacuzzi parties and social activism!