July 12, 2004

The Top 100 Reasons to

The Top 100 Reasons to Hate VH-1

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” are old enough to recall the early days of VH-1, the American cable television network that touted itself as the thirty- and forty-something’s answer to MTV. Back in these old times, VH-1 appears to have made a secret pact with the devil, through which it promised to play endless “music videos” by the likes of Starship and Billy Ocean.

It appears as if VH-1 was targeting viewers who were moronic enough to enjoy the visual and aural format of the more exuberant MTV, but who found certain brands of “rock music” a bit too hard-edged.

As loathsome as a gaggle of Heart videos may have proven to be, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” actually prefer VH-1’s olden days. Sure, this is much like saying that one prefers Franco to Mussolini: It ain’t that much of a complement to the former. Still, we feel as if VH-1 has miraculously deteriorated in quality, even though it was so horrendous to begin with.

In a way, then, VH-1’s history is akin to the cinematic masterpieces “Mannequin” and “Mannequin 2, On the Move”—although beginning at an almost uniquely low level of quality, they somehow managed to get worse.

Why, you may be asking yourselves, does the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” believe that the halcyon days of VH-1 are behind it? Well, for one thing, the network seems strangely intent on offering its viewers hideous programming built around the “Top 100” or “Top 50” theme.

This, we must declare, is one of the most tepid examples of running out of ideas in television history. And that, of course, counts “Night Court.”

For networks such as VH-1 appear to have no reasoning behind offering a some “Top 100” or “Top 50” list; pretty much any phenomenon will do, provided that it is given an order whose rationale is always left unexplained. Top 100 Songs of the Eighties; Top 50 R&B Singers; Top 100 Hideous Moments in Music History—these are the kinds of sordid topics that make up an average three-hour block of VH-1.

To be sure, dear reader, there are many other networks that dally in this brand of irksome garbage. The “E!” network—which makes “Lifetime” appear intellectually hefty—has put much stock in this cultural detritus.

And this leads us to wonder, dear reader: Why is it that people who care very little about any given “hideous moment in music history” will blithely flock to the tube the minute they find out that one hundred such moments have been set in order by a bunch of culturally illiterate television programmers?

Perhaps this question is best answered in “Top Five” format?

1. Most people are incredibly stupid.
2. Anyone watching VH-1 is probably about as clever as the average termite.
3. At least it beats “The Real World.”
4. Such lists allow D-List critics and comedians ample opportunity to ridicule C-List celebrities.
5. If VH-1 weren’t displaying such lists, it would certainly be playing more soft rock. So pick your Poison.

Posted at July 12, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack