11 MTV Shows You Probably Forgot You Watched in the 90s
MTV has changed a lot since the 1990s. It went from being the cool channel where you could see your favorite band’s new music video to the reality TV dumping ground it is today. Gone are the days of big budget music videos (or any music videos really) making it on the channel, now you’re lucky to see 15 seconds of a video between episodes of ‘Teen Mom 2′ and ‘Snooki & J-Woww.’
Back in the 1990s, MTV was still using a video-heavy format, but there were plenty of shows that aired as well. Most of those programs were actually pretty good compared to the garbage that dominates the network these days. We started talking about some of the non-music shows we used to watch on MTV and it turned into a couple week long project. Every day we’d remember another show that we hadn’t thought of since the 90s. It was such a fun trip down memory lane, we decided to share some of our favorites with you.
‘Remote Control’ (1988 – 1990)
‘Remote Control’ was like ‘Jeopardy’ for the younger MTV demo. You didn’t have to be a genius to answer the questions and you could win cool stuff like mopeds and vacations. Most people probably don’t remember that a pre-SNL Adam Sandler was a regular on the show.
‘Yo! MTV Raps’ (1989 – 1995)
Sure, you may remember the resurrected version of the show from the late 90s, but we loved the Ed Lover and Doctor Dre (not to be confused with the man who discovered Snoop and Eminem) hosted version of the program. Much like its hard rock counterpart, ‘Headbanger’s Ball,’ anything could happen on the show. Like, for instance, the time Ol’ Dirty Bastard was really drunk and trying to freestyle or when Tupac admitted to assaulting filmmakers The Hughes Brothers over his role in the film ‘Menace II Society’ (an admission that later got him thrown in jail). The hosts later starred in the film ‘Who’s the Man,’ and Ed Lover currently hosts a show on SiriusXM’s old-school hip hop channel BackSpin.
‘The Ben Stiller Show’ (1990 – 1991)
Yes, Ben Stiller did have a sketch comedy show on MTV. Though it was short-lived, it did feature a number of people (both in front of the camera and behind the scenes) that would later become heavy hitters in the world of comedy. Bigger names include writer/co-creator Judd Apatow, David Cross and Janeane Garofalo.
‘Liquid Television’ (1991 – 1994)
‘Liquid Television’ was like an anime, acid trip induced fever dream. The show was all over the place stylistically, but introduced many characters and stories that would later get their own stand-alone programs like ‘Aeon Flux’ and ‘Beavis and Butt-head.’
‘MTV Sports’ (1992 – 1997)
This show never made much sense to us. Why would anyone want to watch Dan Cortese go rock climbing? But just the mention of the name was enough to make us realize we did see the show a handful of times and completely forgot it existed. The show was ahead of the curve on all of the X-Games type sports though, which were no where near as popular as they are today. Perhaps the show played a role in that, but we honestly have no idea.
‘The Grind’ (1992 – 1997)
This show was basically a half hour of people dancing. No plot, no games, just dancing. The show doesn’t make much sense on paper, but when you’re a teenage boy you don’t really need an explanation why watching boobs shake for a half hour is good. It just is.
‘The State’ (1993 – 1995)
The most memorable part of this sketch comedy series was Ken Marino’s “Louie” who was the hit of the party because of his catch phrase, “I wanna dip my balls in it!” Most of the crew from ‘The State’ have maintained a working relationship over the years, appearing in shows like ‘Reno 911!’ and movies like ‘Role Models,’ ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘The Ten.’
‘Singled Out’ (1995 – 1998)
‘Singled Out’ was a wildly successful dating show, thanks to the beauty and quirky personality of Jenny McCarthy, and unfortunately inspired the network to create several less entertaining and just plain awful dating shows. Imagine ‘The Bachelor’ with 2-3 times the contestants and all compacted into 30 minutes and you have a pretty good idea of how the show worked. After the show stopped airing, host Chris Hardwick disappeared for like 15 years (he didn’t really) and reemerged on G4 and, eventually, AMC’s ‘Talking Dead.’
‘Road Rules’ (1995 – 2004)
This reality competition, featuring travel and physical challenges, seemed like it was only on for a few seasons. But in doing some research, we realized it was on for way longer than we remembered. The show’s legacy continues as its participants continue to appear on MTV’s ‘The Challenge,’ which is headed for its 24th season.
‘Celebrity Deathmatch’ (1998 – 2002)
This claymation program was a fun escape from reality that let us see our favorite celebs battle to the death over real or imagined reasons. Scott Stapp and Eddie Vedder once fought over who was stealing whose vocal style, while David Letterman and Jay Leno battled (to the death) for late night supremacy.
‘The Tom Green Show’ (1999 – 2000)
Tom Green is one of those dudes who will do anything for a laugh… and we do mean anything. Whether it was painting pornographic scenes on his dad’s car or pretending to hump a dead moose, his oddball, Canadian brand of humor knew no bounds.