It’s late August, which means that with one notable exception (which I’ll discuss at some point soon), there really isn’t much in the way of new television to watch. That, plus the fact that I was miserably puttering around all day because my back hurt, left me sitting there with nothing better to do and making the conscious decision to watch MTV’s Video Music Awards last night.
As you might expect, I have thoughts.
• Mark this day down. It’s not often that you can have Lady Gaga open up a show with what appeared to be a ridiculously over-the-top, kind of peculiar number that ended with her in a seashell bikini, then have her sit in the audience in that bikini for the rest of the night…and have that blown out of the weirdness water within a half hour.
• That’s right, just like everybody else today, I’m talking about Miley Cyrus. As if Robin Thicke mugging Beetlejuice and stealing his suit before he went on stage wasn’t bad enough, Miley doing her Showgirls 2 audition in front of a national audience was…special. Special in the way that you’re never going to see anything like that again, mostly because after having seen it, you’re not likely to ever see again. She no doubt set the giant foam finger business back decades.
• I know it’s been controversial, but “Blurred Lines” is undoubtedly one of the songs of the summer. I have it second on my list, only because T.I. ruins it with his verse. And now, as summer begins to turn into fall, we’ll also have the image of Miley Cyrus “twerking” during the VMA performance. Strike two.
• Number one on my list? “Get Lucky.” I loved how Daft Punk was committed to the “we’re going to wear suits, and these ridiculous helmets, and no one is stopping us” thing. I was disappointed they didn’t perform, though. I mean, we had Gaga’s opener, and then…well, that, and then…
• …Kanye West. Like, I just…why can this guy not be normal? He rapped, but all we could see was his shadow. For like four or five minutes. Is that supposed to be artsy or something? Oh, Kanye, so edgy! Stupid. You know what else is stupid? Performing a song where every other word can’t be said on television. Imagine reading #### sentence like #### and #### other word #### blocked #### and #### ####. That was what listening #### his performance #### like.
• I actually feel legitimately bad for Taylor Swift. A little, anyway. She was sitting in the crowd trying to enjoy herself, but because MTV put a camera on her every three minutes, she came off as just trying way too hard. Which she usually does, so it fits the narrative, but just stop already. Let her live for like five seconds.
• I also feel bad for Selena Gomez, too. She makes me a little uncomfortable because no matter how much she tries to do the sexed-up, “I’m not on Disney anymore” thing (see: Spring Breakers), she is always going to look like a 12-year-old. As opposed to Swift, who will simply always write songs from the viewpoint of a 12-year-old.
• Speaking of Taylor Swift, when did Ozzy Osbourne join One Direction?
• And is it just me, or did Kevin Hart bomb?
• Why is it that people from Brooklyn act like it’s some sort of sovereign world superpower? Brooklyn is a borough. Of another city. Call me when the UN adds The Democratic Republic of the BK to the Security Council.
• Okay, so everything I’ve said so far has been mocking, derisive, or mockingly derisive. However, no matter your opinion of his music, you have to give it up for Justin Timberlake. Dude performed for like 15 minutes. I know he sang four lines of like 34 different songs, but I imagine it’s difficult to traverse the arena and stage like he did and sing for that long. And I think I actually recognized all the songs. That was a big effort from him, and undoubtedly the highlight of the show.
• Of course, the rumored reunion of ‘N Sync happened…for two minutes. It was surely still enough to send the hearts of millions of 14-year-old girls from 1999 aflutter, but come on. While I wasn’t a fan of the group – although I would have taken them over the Backstreet Boys any day – as a child of the ’90s, it still would have been cool to see them actually perform a song and, like, I don’t know, talk? Basically, JT traipsed on in, the other four guys came up from under the stage, performed like they were his backup dancers (which, let’s be honest), and then disappeared as Timberlake continued on. Hello, and goodbye, bye, bye.
• Oh, MTV: cut it with the spotlights pointing directly at the camera. When I can’t see the people on stage because there is a giant white spot in the middle of the screen, that is not good.
• Lots of Macklemore. I feel like the category of “Best Video with a Social Message” was created solely to give an award to “Same Love” so that the people producing the show could feel like they were doing some good. I’m sorry, but when you have Jason Collins, without question a courageous advocate for the gay community, co-introducing with A$AP Rocky, whose first words were a plug for his upcoming album, that almost serves to undo any message you were hoping to promote. If you’re going to do the whole “social message” thing, commit to it all the way, and let Collins present by himself.
• Katy Perry closed the show with a performance near the Brooklyn Bridge. K. They said she was going to perform her “biggest hit ever for the first time.” She then performed the song “Roar,” which I had never even heard of.
Katy Perry is one of the biggest pop music stars in the world right now, and I had never heard of a song that is apparently her biggest hit.
It took more than two hours, but I eventually found the reason why I should never have been watching in the first place.