MMVA set up, Queen St., Toronto, ON, June 2009

Do people do throwback Thursday on Tumblr?

In honour of Now declaring MuchMusic dead, here are some photos of the set up for the Much Music Video Awards that I took back in 2009.

I hope Much Music can resurrect itself. I do believe it has a place showing Canada back to itself, and for every jaded journalist who thinks protectionism is a sign of weakness and CanCon should be burned at the stake, I’ve got the memory of a little Canadian tween who moved to the U.S. at eleven and would watch MuchOnDemand religiously to feel at home. I always hoped one day I’d be a VJ and get to walk around the Chum building like Strombo and Amanda Walsh and finally find out whose hand was up Ed the Sock’s ass. I think there’s a misconception that Canadians want to be Americans, particularly Torontonians and particularly with our media. TRL was more glamorous, but I always wanted to be on a street corner with Rainbow Sun because to me it always felt weightier, more real, more of who I was. We were always a little bootleg, but we swore more and had better videos and everyone seemed like they were having more fun.

So here’s to you not dying Much Music. I hope you re-find your voice, dig yourself out of the grave with some Canadian know-how, and inspire another generation to know it’s okay to embrace who you are, even if you don’t have the prettiest face or the best production values.

Teen Mom 2, Season 5, “Overload”

Jenelle has another car (a Camaro?) Two-door, I think, which is great for babies. Either way it’s a cherry red tiny penis wagon, which makes me wonder if it was a purchase for Nathan. No girl in her early twenties is looking for American steel. If that relationship ends she will be in a Mini Cooper covered with Roxy stickers in under 24 hours.

She also has a cat. That Nathan did not strangle like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. It was a tense moment for me though, screaming ‘Nathan put that cat down your pregnant girlfriend is crying in the bathroom’ at my television.

Fucking Norm. Norm is North Carolina Randy. I have no idea what this man is like in his personal life, but in the five minutes we had with him on television, I fell in love. That accent. Those thick-ass arms. The JAGERMEISTER PAGEBOY HAT (I didn’t know such things existed.) Norm is Jersey chivalry at its finest. I don’t know where Norm is actually from, but his heart belongs to the Eastern seaboard I’m sure. “What do you need from me bro? You need me to check up on her? Put down your pride, lets talk man-to-man.” Dude is just a straight-up, no bullshit, old school morals kind of guy. Teddy Roosevelt would have dry humped this motherfucker.

It would have been a rare, sweet moment for Teen Mom 2 had Nathan and Jenelle not seemed totally oblivious. I know they’re in front of a camera, and probably psychologically drained from an unborn child and a toddler and nine pets and twelve cars and a metric fuck- ton (fuck-litre?) of legal troubles, but these two seem so hollow all the time. Does anyone else get that sense? I know the easy answer would be “they’re stupid” and/or hiiiiiigghhh but it seems like there’s something else there. Even when people try to help them, they just seem completely shut-down.

Too much real talk about Teen Mom 2. RAAANNNDDDYY. I think Randy appeared in under 5 minutes this episode. It’s a Randy best. Randy didn’t do anything besides be Randy, but that’s fine. My favorite moment of the episode actually involved Chelsea‘s dogs, who you could hear snorting in the background throughout Chelsea and Randy’s serious conversation at the table. How much do you think the MTV producers hate that she has a pug and a french bulldog, two breeds that are incapable of breathing quietly? (fun fact from too much Animal Planet, the word for flat-faced dogs is bracocephalic.)

Not much to say about Chelsea specifically, since her only woe is her license troubles which is kind of out of her hands. But holy shit Adam.

‘The only thing they have against me is my DUIs and when I got in all that trouble but that doesn’t have anything to do with parenting.’

Holy shit Adam are you even hearing yourself? Sure, if you get charged with non-payment of child support you’re probably going through some family-law channels, and if you get a DUI and you’re going to criminal court, but what is written on the door isn’t really the point. If you’re racking up charges like you’re trying to unlock the child-endangerment achievement, that’s obviously a “parenting” issue.

I just wanted to beam out the Dr. Drew signal watching that scene with the oddly fancy restaurant choice for dinner with preschoolers. (Side note: What is the Dr. Drew signal do you think? A crossed spoon and a crossed syringe with an 80s child star’s face? A bottle of Wellbutrin *womp womp*? Loveline-related answer would be A DIME, obviously.)

Leah. Leeeaaahhhh. I want to hug this girl so bad, but I would never know what to say to her because I cannot fathom what it must be like to be Leah on a day-to-day basis. It’s terrible, because I have a feeling the number of Leahs in this world far outweighs the number of Chelseas or even Jenelles. I pray to God MTV is throwing her some extra cash on the side to help with Ali’s medical bills, I don’t care if they film it like it didn’t happen, someone help her because this girl is sinking. The scene with her nodding off while speaking to her social worker/counselor was particularly heartbreaking because I’ve taken a buffet of different anxiety medications and sleeping pills at different points and the combination of feeling like you are (initially) constantly underwater and doing and saying things you have no control over really adds another fun layer to the alienation cake that no one ever warns you about.

I think Leah should slap Jeremy. I realize the situation is nuanced and is probably tied up in very complicated, deep running ideas about men and women’s division of responsibility within the family! gender roles! providing emotionally vs. providing financially! but I don’t think slapping Jeremy would hurt. Just once, open handed. He gets forewarning. I think it would help Leah let off some steam, he could take it and the long term consequences would be minimal.

At least I get to end on a happy note with Kailyn. Omg, Kailyn and Javi and Jo and Vee at dinner together, laughing, smiling babies, family pictures. It can’t last, I know, but I’m going to savor it. Kavijovee? Kavijovie? Kajovie? So cute.

I do have one final question though.

If: A=B, B=C, then A=C, right?

So then why: Jo looks like a turtle, Isaac looks like Jo, but Isaac does not look like a turtle?

In Praise of Esther with Hot Chicks

UNDERRATED. I don’t know why MTV isn’t promoting this more, I only found it because I was looking for videos of Little Esther’s stand up. They should up the advertising budget a bit, because I’m not sure Little Esther could promote this by name only just yet. Little Esther is a bit under the radar right now, which is a travesty because she has jokes that tie together Friendly’s and abortion.

If nothing else you think MTV would want an easy opportunity to let a bunch of hot girls with zero presence and short resumes promote their “lifestyle blogs” or whatever. That seems to be the quandary of our time, how to put people who don’t really do anything on television. They have the perfect alibi with this series. Esther’s gentle waterbed-with-the-softest-worn-in My-Little-Pony-sheets tone, and excessive self-deprecation form an offensive which leaves her guests feeling superior and unaware we’re laughing at them not with them.

Esther with Hot Chicks has got the convenient Daily Show it’s-not-you-it’s-our-culture excuse going on, where you can watch a correspondent slaughter someone who is ultimately just grateful for the bump in Google search results, then shake Jon Stewart’s hand because they have no idea whose team he is on. If you’re a jaded asshole, it doesn’t get much better entertainment-wise.

Actually I’m going to pat myself on the back and say Esther would be great at heavier satire. Someone should make me a network executive. I want to be head of creative development. I’d like to see Lindsey Graham try to deflect this bitch. That would be brutal. Politicians looking into the eyes of this doe-eyed child and then she unleashes some foul, Andrew Dice Clay-level rape joke? Oh God, I love the thought of it.

Hold them hostage for more marketing money Esther, then run to HBO.

In Awkward Praise of Amy Schumer

Besides, the fact this is eerily… precise? the cat in a sun hat shirt just throws it right over the top.

I remember hearing/reading someone say of Karen O., that she is powerful because ‘she’s not afraid to look ugly, she’s not afraid to take a bad picture,’ (for counterpoint, see: Beyonce.) This was in the context of female musicians seeming less authentic than their male counterparts, and the relationship between prettiness and perceived legitimacy. I feel this way about Amy Schumer’s artistic choices. She’s not afraid to make herself look horrible. If anything, it is almost like you can see the mechanics of her decision-making, ‘oh, that’s going to make me look awful? Oh, okay, I’m going to do that then.’

We seem really resistant as a society to allow women to do things at the expense of their own attractiveness, whether it’s physically or more in terms of appealing qualities. We can tolerate a hot, talented woman, we can tolerate an ugly, talented woman (so long as she dare not think she’s hot) but we can’t tolerate a human woman. That seems to be changing with Tina Fey and the case of Bridesmaids and Amy Schumer, women who are clearly taking conscious steps to be publicly imperfect, not in a sometimes-I-sneak-chocolate Cosmo cover way, but in a very raw, human way. Hopefully with them comes the message that a woman’s attractiveness, which seems to be very unfortunately tied to the absence of humanity, is hers to do what she wants with, not something to be preserved for the comfort of other people.

Amy Schumer is one of the most clever, incisive comics of our time and one of the most gloriously rebellious teenagers that ever lived. She makes me cry because her comedy makes me realize our shared humanity, and then cry even more because our shared humanity is comprised of all the things that are ugly and horrible about ourselves.

Teen Mom 2 Recap

Omg, I finally got around to watching the Teen Mom 2 premiere.

Nothing explosive, but I guess they’ve got to set the stage.

Jenelle seemed to have her shit in relative order. I did notice that as she was leaving the house with Nathan to go to the ultrasound technician, that bitch has some sort of guinea pig/rabbit cage by the door. Girl, wtf do you need to be adding a guinea pig into your life for. I realize given all her responsibilities, small mammal care is probably not going to swing things either way, but why bother. ALSO OF COURSE SHE BOUGHT A HUMMER. ALSO WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF HER DOGS? At least two are unaccounted for.

You know who’s dogs aren’t missing? Kailyn‘s. When their Rottweiler stole Isaac’s pizza and he started crying, best/worst moment of the episode. It was just so mundane I thought, ‘oh my God, this is sooo real life.’

Kailyn’s got the most relatable problems I think. I’m a big Javi fan, but when Javi started fighting with Kailyn over having to watch both kids at once, and asked her to take their newborn grocery shopping, as a woman, my blood started to boil. It’s the man/woman childcare as a responsibility/childcare as a privilege double standard.

Back to Jenelle, Nathan is a slow-burning Kieffer. The weird combination of stone-faced (if you’re going to be nice) or delusional (if you’re going to be real) and being oddly perceptive of what is happening around them. It’s a combination patented by Scott Disick. You think they’re over the top douchebags until there is a sudden moment where you consider that they might be the only sane ones.

Nathan had a couple memorable lines tonight. “It’s Anglo-Saxon or German for Emperor” was a solid entry. He had a good double-negative incident where he said something like “I can’t not not see my kids anymore,” which was obviously an accident, but was still funny. The best exchange was Nathan and that badass lawyer, when he asked why he was charged with resisting arrest and she said ‘because you were being an asshole and then you asked to be tased.’

Regardless of where Nathan falls on the genius/stupidity spectrum, I am sure Jace is the smartest one on the entire show. His side-eye game is impeccable, Miss J from ANTM would gladly accept him into Miss J’s school of throwing shade.

Speaking of gays, Chelsea‘s friend Landon OMG. I’m so glad he is return (wow serious grammar error but I like it.) I’m very wary whenever a white girl on TV is friends with a guy that wears makeup, but Chelsea and Landon seem so genuine and he and Aubree are adorable together. Also his hair is fantastic.

Also, Randy. Randy is his own sentence, he needs no explanation. I would seriously love to see Randy write a divorced Dad sitcom based on his life, where he’s all salt-of-the-earth North Dakota-y, then his teenage daughter gets pregnant and becomes a reality star. That has got to seriously impede your parenting plans. So many hijinks.

Who is left, Leah? Leah just makes me sad. She is so isolated. Every time she is featured I just want to tell her to move closer back to her family because Rob Thomas Jeremy isn’t going to understand her anytime soon, nor is her relationship with Cory getting less awkward. I am glad Ali is still the most adorable badass little girl and that THEY FINALLY CAPTIONED ALEEAH/GRACE AS “ALEEAH GRACE” because that was getting so confusing.

Things I want to see: whatever Jenelle does next, more Jace side-eye, more Barbara, Nathan enrolls as a philosophy major at the University of Phoenix, the triumphant return of Kieffer (ugh I wish), more of Randy’s girlfriend (Rita?), Cory pimps Ali’s wheelchair with streamers and NOS and she becomes a toddler street racing champion, an entire episode of Isaac saying whatever he wants, a continuation of Chelsea’s more tasteful makeup looks, a Landon and Aubree tea party, Janelle’s dogs show up at Kailyn’s house