For the first time in too many years to count, I was able to watch the MTV Movie Awards live on television on, of course, MTV but to my surprise it was really only so-so…But did you catch those YouTube commercials? In those few 29 second spots, my worst fears seem to be coming true, Google has managed to turn their acquisition into an Internet television channel/network.
Before going into the troubling advertisements, the first of which being for the lovely Michelle Phan, makeup guru extraordinaire, and someone that I watched for years as my daughter made me watch her latest transformation on YouTube, I have a complaint about the MTV event this year. Oddly enough, this has to do with the Google owned website sponsoring the show. Watching the Sunday award program it felt an awful lot like last year’s first-ever YouTube Music Awards, aka YTMA.
This, mercifully short, YouTube awards show felt half-done, and like a pathetic attempt to make the entire show feel like a viral video. It was cringingly bad. There was no template that the show’s makers wanted to copy so they made it up as they went along. Director Spike Jonze promised that it was going to be a “anything goes” live spectacular.
The evening was a mess from start to finish and at the end of the show, Jonze left abruptly. The MTV Movie Awards felt just like the YouTube extravaganza, but worse. Somewhat frustratingly, the show came off as just so-so and the commercials were more eye catching than the actual event itself.
MTV has, for many years, been able to be almost all things to all people. The VMA’s always manage to upset someone, whether it’s Britney Spears kissing Madonna or Miley Cyrus twerking into Robin Thicke’s crotch or an incredibly rude Kanye West yanking the microphone, and the spotlight, from Taylor Swift, the music video awards always managed to entertain at least. Just as the movie awards used to.
The movie awards this year just annoyed. Perhaps it has to do with age group of the target audience. If that is the case, it’s disturbing to think that younger people find things entertaining which, basically, are not. Perhaps the only truly “funny” bit was Mark Wahlberg accepting his, as he termed it, “Too f****** Old To Come Back Award.”
So, the overall experience of watching the MTV Movie awards was abysmal in the humor department, confusing in the star department, (perhaps that is sign of getting old, the tendency to react to introductions of new stars with the question, “who?” springing from your lips) and looking like the director took lessons from Spike Jonze in how to turn the entire thing into a shambles.
But coming back to the initial complaint about YouTube. Certainly since the show is being sponsored by YouTube, it explains the commercials for a certain number of its channels and “personalities” from the site. It is, however, disturbing in that it shows plainly just where Google plan to take the website. Turning some channels into pay-to-view, curbing back the amounts of money that creative partners can make with their channels and special emphasis on the musical aspect of YouTube was just the first steps to taking away the originality aspect of the site and turning it into another television network
Now that the site is within its goal of turning YouTube into television for the Internet, it makes a certain amount of sense to have commercials for the Google site throughout the MTV Movie Awards. The fact that the awards program was pretty much so-so was mirrored on Shailene Woodley’s face. At one point, while the camera was panning the audience, a look of utter boredom shone from her eyes like spotlamps of despair. She was obviously the replacement for the missing Jennifer Lawrence, who could not make it this year despite winning an award or two. I think that next year, I’ll follow Lawrence’s lead and give the show a miss.
By Michael Smith
MTV Movie Awards