Okay, VH1, I give. I love you and your incessant way of showing sub-par shows until my eyes glaze over and the remote drops from my hand. The way you frequently show them in marathons makes my heart swell. What they’ve figured out at VH1 is the golden rule of television programming. Air mediocre shows, and air them all the time.
Yes, any network can take a whole host of top-notch actors, pay them buttloads of money, and spend millions of dollars on writers and editors and create a great show. Go right ahead, NBC. But what VH1 has managed to do is completely remove the quality cast members, the big budget locations, and those pesky plot lines. And people flock to audition for these shows. Willingly. Repeatedly.
There are three types of shows on VH1, as far as I can tell. There’s the Redemption Shows featuring formerly quasi-famous people making one last stab at their 15 minutes of fame. This includes shows like Celebrity Rehab, Celebrity Fit-Club, Surreal Life, Flava of Love, Rock of Love. To an extent, any of the “I Love the 80‘s, 90‘s or New Millenium shows also fit in here, based on the questionable quality of social commentary given by D-listers like Hal Sparks, Mo Rocca, and Biz Markie. I wonder if they work for Rubik's Cubes and Backstreet Boys Cds.
Then there are the shows that launch the careers of so many impetuous young men and women who will eventually end up back on the Redemption shows (ah, the circle of life). These are shows like Tough Love, The OCD Project, The Pick-Up Artist, and You’re Cut Off. Personally, these are my fave. The cast members are on their way to their own show a la Flava Flav. It’s like I’m watching the process of concentrated carbon turning into a diamond. Or, whatever makes cubic zirconia. You start with no-namers, pick a quick and vague theme, have Dr. Drew appear in some way, then just throw in a twist or ten. All hell breaks loose. Stars (or black holes, whatever) are born.
Finally, there’s actual MUSIC on VH1. Yes, people. There is a Music Video Countdown Show, and every morning they air Jump Start. These are shows that feature ACTUAL MUSIC VIDEOS. A concept that once ruled the world sadly disappeared after Carson Daly started going grey. Bands pay big bucks to make videos! Where are they airing them!? The answer, my friends, is from 5 a.m. - 8 a.m. every weekday morning on VH1. And lest ye forget, VH1 also brought Pop-Up Video into my life. My one suggestion to the programming geniuses at VH1, if I may be so bold, is to bring back Pop-Up Video. Immediately.
I don’t need more medical dramas. And until they make CSI: Minneapolis and fire David Caruso, I’ll pass. My one beloved scripted show, Lost, is gone forever, and I don’t get HBO. So unless you want me to slit my wrists, please stop asking me if I watch True Blood. I don’t. I watch The Top 100 Songs of the 90s.