Most networks shy away from controversy, but MTV revels in it. Over the last 23 years, the channel has crafted a multitude of the most obnoxious, over-the-top (and occasionally inspiring) moments in pop culture history. Here’s a definitive list of the landmark events that simultaneously defined MTV and America.
10. The Smooch Seen ‘Round the World (2003)
In an utterly calculated moment of “shock TV,” Madonna plants big, wet, tongue-tinged kisses on Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. The – media go wild, but for once nobody really seems to care – not even the Christian right. In the wake of this desperate plea for attention, all three see their careers plummet.
9. “Unplugged” (1989)
Umm, does anybody really want to hear Aerosmith rock out on acoustic guitars? Turns out the answer is, “Totally!” Everyone from Lauryn Hill to Eric Clapton to Duran Duran drops their amps, turntables and synthesizers and gets mellow. Unplugged albums become big business and some, like Nirvana’s and Jay-Z’s, become classics.
8. “Jackass” (2000)
Beavis and Butt-head come to life as Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O. No stunt is too dumb, too gross, too likely to cause bodily injury. Highlights include: “Blind Driver,” “Beard of Leeches,” “Jockstrap Rollerblading” and “Shark Hugs.” A copycat teen, unfortunately, tries a home version of the “Human BBQ” and winds up in the burn ward.
7. “The Osbournes” (2002) & “Newlyweds” (2003)
Shaaaron! Being the Prince of Bleep-ing Darkness isn’t easy. Turns out that incontinent pets, unruly adolescents and a badgering wife dominate Ozzy Osbourne’s home life. But wobbly Ozzy’s embarrassments have nothing on Jessica Simpson, who somehow succeeds by defining the term “dim bulb.” Chicken of the Sea, anyone?
6. Live Aid (1985)
MTV devotes 16 straight hours to televising one of the most ambitious benefit concerts in history. With feeds from two continents, the channel features performances from enduring legends – such as Madonna, Sting with Phil Collins, Queen, Elton John – and the quickly forgotten – Adam Ant, Japan, the Hooters, REO Speedwagon.
5. “Total Request Live” (1998)
During the teen-pop revolution of the late ’90s, “TRL” practically serves as a second home to Spears, Aguilera, Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync. With its countdown of the top videos, the show is the engine that drives record-setting multiplatinum sales. Plus, it turns host Carson Daly into MTV’s semi-official “nice guy.”
4. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (1983)
After spending its first year ignoring black artists, MTV finally adds Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to the rotation in 1982. But when John Landis directs a 14-minute, choreographed zombie dance for “Thriller,” the video sets standards for creativity and production values. Widely considered the greatest music video ever.
3. “The Real World” (1992)
Who knew that Andre, Eric, Julie, Heather, Norm, Becky and Kevin would alter the course of television? The very first reality show kicks off here in NYC and establishes types that recur into the present,including: “angry young black man,” “naive small-town white girl,” “wanna-be musician” and “gay guy.”
2. Boxers vs. Briefs (1992)
On the campaign trail, MTV News’ Tabitha Soren hosts a Q&A with presidential candidate Bill Clinton and 200 MTV fans. Soren calls on Laetitia Thompson, who asks the now-infamous, “Mr. President … is it boxers or briefs?” His answer: “Usually briefs.” Suddenly, the youth vote seems to really matter – and so does MTV.
1. The “Virgin” – Madonna (1984)
Presaging the controversy she’d generate with her outrageous “Like a Prayer” and “Justify My Love” videos, Madonna creates a scandal at the first-ever Video Music Awards. With a crucifix around her neck, she writhes in a wedding dress, simulates sex and stimulates legions of religious conservatives to protest. With a single performance, Madonna gives MTV an indelible identity, and the modern, post-MTV era of pop begins.
source : nydailynews.com