Last night in the world of pop culture, all eyes were on the MTV VMA’s.
All eyes? Okay… maybe not “all.” Let’s put some numbers to it. In 2009, 26.9 million viewers watched the show on the night it aired (a record-breaking 9 million people watched it on MTV alone, but if you look at the total viewership of all three channels that aired the show, you’ll find a number closer to 27 million. More on that breakdown here). And that doesn’t include the 5.5 million people that visited MTV.com the next day to watch the show online. Neilson reported that the VMA show was the #1 viewed cable show of the entire year among people age 12-34.
How about them apples.
So allow me to rephrase. Last night, “numerous” eyes were on the VMAs. I have yet to see this year’s numbers. But most people had two questions on their mind: What will happen between Taylor Swift and Kanye? And how many awards will Lady Gaga actually take home?
Personally, I only had one question: who freaking cares!
Unfortunately, most teenagers do.
The MTV VMA’s show is an interesting phenomena. Youth Culture guru Walt Mueller refers to it as a “map and a mirror.” A show this popular with young people not only reveals to us the direction that youth culture is going (map), but it also provides a glimpse of what youth culture looks like right now (mirror).
Every year I encourage parents and youth workers to take a peek at this show to get their thumb on the pulse of youth culture. This year… adults probably fell asleep watching the show. I know I almost did.
I asked my wife Lori, “Is it just me, or is this show really boring?”
She answered, “Well, we are getting old. Maybe we relate to this stuff less and less.”
Nice. I’m old!
In retrospect, I think I’d settle for boring more than the excitement that usually plagues this show. Because the buzz-worthy moments that MTV usually creates are either crude or overtly sexual.
This year wasn’t tame, by any means. The host, Chelsea Handler, was as lewd as expected, Gaga was bizarre and preachy (particularly about homosexuality), and the commercials (particularly the ones for “Gucci Guilty” and the new MTV show “The Challenge” ) were over the top. Typical of MTV to use sex to sell. (I guess the MTV execs didn’t listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics plea for responsible programming in their brand new report last week, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media.”)
You can read my entire two cents about the VMA’s later this afternoon (Monday) when we post our Youth Culture Window article on the subject.