MTV’s ‘reality’ not like real world, has negative influence

Ryan Szymczak

MTV has obviously run dry for ideas.

Are they even trying?

Take “Next”, for example. Cue the dumb-dumb, “Hey, muh name’s Brandon, I need a girl who knows how to handle a big stick. Let’s see how good you can shovel snow.” Shovel snow?! I’m sitting here watching kids shovel snow? I’m starting to feel light-headed at this point. My brain’s going numb. Nexxxt!

Okay, let’s see what happens when people start getting real. Translation: Let’s see what happens when a crew of co-ed dropouts are placed in a mansion, pheromones are pumped through the vents, and peach schnapps is mixed in. C’mon MTV, get real.

From 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. you’ll find MTV’s newest overplayed program. “Exposed” begs the question: Does the truth really matter? Nice. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Even mannequins aren’t this empty. Take dude number one, a basement-dwelling, jean-jacket-sporting nobody. He’s more than too high on himself, and judging by his I-just-stuck-a-fork-in-an-electrical-socket hairdo, at least he didn’t eat the entire bottle of Elmer’s glue. He asks the important questions like “Would you let me wear your bra while we did it?” And the girls by this time are more than wooed. “Umm, yea,” they coo like helpless little playthings. It’s that easy, huh?

With that said, swallow this. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research and public education, “teenagers in the United States are more likely to have sexual intercourse before age 15 and have shorter and more sporadic sexual relationships than teenagers in Canada, France, Great Britain and Sweden.” Boys and girls are all too ready, willing, and socially obliged to actually turn down the opportunity to be sexually promiscuous.

This scares me. When I was 15, I was just getting over Saturday morning cartoons (still am, shh). Today’s 15 year olds spend their Saturdays sleeping off hangovers and sexual trysts.

MTV and it’s duh-worthy programming is not solely responsible for the downfall of wholesome in today’s youth. However, these shows do depict attractive people, who are but a few years older than the high school demographic MTV execs prey upon. Through programs like “Next” and “Exposed,” meet-greet-hook-up is being mainstreamed as the normal evaluative process.

But is it normal (outside of being plastered at the rugby house) to ask a stranger a few questions, and then dive in, tongue first for a soggy exchange? Our underage siblings are delving much further than that. The Center for Chronic Disease Prevention shows that about half of teens aged 15-19 have admitted to engaging in sexual activity. A staggering 34 percent of those chose not to use a form of protection during their most recent sexual encounter.

It seems MTV is in a prime position to put some quality programming on the air. “True Life: I Embarrass My Parents” is fitting. But where’s “True Life: I’m Getting an Abortion?” There’s a need for shows that actually acknowledge the consequences of absent-minded behavior. Heck, they could even throw some actual music in there every now and again. Right now, they’re only contributing to the diminishing importance of an individual’s self-worth and personal responsibility to be selective and informed.

Conceivably, Music Television — yes, that’s what MTV stands for — could one day wake from it’s drunken stupor and realize the negative influence that tasteless and poorly scripted reality has on today’s youth. If only they’d stop clinging to “sex sells,” MTV’s think tank might be able to develop programming that is more focused on encouraging teens to live by a higher moral code. In turn, MTV could help them to “no” better.

In the meantime, expect more of less from MTV.

Ryan Szymczak is a junior English major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].