BY: Dana Pappalardo
Despite being one of the most successful television networks there is, I could go with or without ever watching another series on MTV again. Most of the shows that air on MTV fall under the same genre, whether that is a reality show or a couples competing show. MTV is most known for in this day in age as a reality network. Although some people (like me) will not even turn the channel on, some people swear by it for entertainment. Shows on this network like Teen Mom, True Life, Real World, and Catfish are all very popular shows. Teen Mom was a huge hit back when I was in middle school, so much that after the second season wasn’t as popular as the original, they starting shooting “Teen Mom OG.” This featured all of the girls/couples from the very first season that everyone knew and loved. This series blew up and has been running since December of 2009. I’m not sure what everyone finds so interesting about watching girls at 16 years old go through pregnancy and also watch their relationships with their baby daddies fall apart, but I guess that question will never be answered. Not only did MTV have a show called “Teen Mom” but during the same time frame they had a series called “16 and Pregnant.” For some reason girls loved watching this show. I’m not sure if it was a popular trend during that time frame due to the fact that there were not as many people to have kids at a young age back in 2009, or just because it was entertaining to watch how their lives would turn out after having children. Whatever the reason could be, MTV did a fantastic job on finding this trend and sticking to it because I will forever associate Teen Mom with MTV. The first show that pops into my mind when I think of MTV will forever be Teen Mom.
Not only does the MTV network have a trend for teenage pregnancies, but they also produced two shows that were very similar that came out around the same time frame as well. These shows were “Jersey Shore”, and the “Real World”, in which both shows are very similar and have the same type of plot line. “Real World” is very much like “Jersey Shore” for those who know what “Jersey Shore” is. The point of the show is to ship around eight people off to a city and film them to see what kind of trouble they can get themselves into. I would say that “Real World” is the more updated version of “Jersey Shore.” MTV has a habit of producing the same kind of shows, but just slapping a different title on it with different characters. The problem with these types of reality shows is that a lot of it is usually scripted which is what pulls me away from watching it. I don’t want to watch a ‘reality show’ that isn’t even real and most of the drama is scripted, i’d rather sit down and listen to family drama at the dinner table at my house! Despite my feelings towards these types of shows, most people seem to love them. Jersey Shore was one of the most popular shows along with “Teen Mom” when I was growing up and you were ‘not cool’ if you didn’t watch them. So I guess I wasn’t that cool but I sure as hell wasn’t brainwashed by Sammie and Ron’s fighting.
Another series that MTV created that was a huge it is called “True Life.” This show is a reality/documentary that follows many different cases of drug use, money issues, and many more things. “True Life” usually features many different characters/ people from different shows on MTV. A lot of people from “Real World” have been on this show which is why I believe that a lot of this stuff is scripted and not actual reality. To have someone on the show that is addicted to drugs gives them a great opportunity to sign them longer. This also helps mesh all of the shows together and gives MTV that ‘reality TV’ title.
The most recent show that is super popular that MTV produced is not like most other reality TV shows on this network. This show is called “Catfish” and is one of the only shows on MTV that I can sit down and watch. It is actually a very interesting show about these two best friends who go around the world and help people who have been talking online for years get together and actually meet each other. The show is called “Catfish” because in a lot of the episodes of the show, most of the people are never who they say they are, and this is called being ‘Catfished.’ This is one of the only shows on MTV that is not completely scripted because the entire show is about meeting someone that you have never seen in person before. Even though it’s not like the other shows on MTV, it still falls under the reality TV category.
The things that MTV do to get you to watch their shows is basically creating shows that are trending in real life and centering their show on that. For example a couple years ago, this app called Tinder started getting super popular which is basically a dating app for college students. Soon after this show called “Catfish” was made. This is a perfect example of how MTV is keeping up with what is trending in the world.
Not only is the show “Catfish” a great example of this, but also many of their previous shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” are also examples of this. Back when I was in middle school, teen pregnancy started becoming a lot more common. After this, MTV created these two shows where you follow the day in the life of a pregnant teenager.
Although MTV has been through many different trends over the years, the one thing they never seem to stray away from is reality TV. They do have other shows on the network, but a lot of the most popular shows are reality shows. MTV I’m sure will continue to grow over the next decade, but I do not doubt that the reality TV shows will forever be there.