It’s the mid-2000s. You’re home from school, reeling after a particularly hard pre-calc test. Your folks just upgraded your cable package. You’re ready to unwind. What do you turn to? MTV, of course. Granted, you may not see music videos anymore, but the shows they do offer are the perfect turn-off-your-brain-and-relax entertainments. Here are the best and most memorable 2000s MTV shows that will have you reeling with nostalgia.
Pimp My Ride
If you feel like your ratty 2004 Honda Civic needs eight TVs and a cotton candy machine, this is the show to go on. Pimp My Ride, hosted by the effortlessly charming rapper Xzibit, featured hapless folks with hapless cars getting insane makeovers. Come for the dope rims, stay for the awkward banter between X to the Z and the guests.
Step one: get a horned-up guy or gal who wants to go on a bunch of dates. Step two: get a bunch of horned-up guys or gals and shove them in a bus. Step three: one by one, have these horned-up guys and gals go on dates, with the caveat being that at any time, the solo guy or gal can shout “Next!” and have a new date begin immediately. Step four: fill the show with puns, fun facts, and an annoyingly smug rhyming voice-over. Step five: enjoy the eyeballs of everyone who watches this bizarre piece of human anthropology every chance they get.
My Super Sweet 16
Have you ever had a day where you’re worried about how you came off? Where you thought to yourself, “I’m worried I was selfish today, and people no longer respect me”? If you ever have one of those days again, just pop on an episode of My Super Sweet 16 and have fun realizing that no, these are the true monsters. On this show, absurdly rich kids have their wildest birthday party dreams fulfilled. Horses, celebrity guests, cars, the works. And if their parents get one detail wrong, you better believe they’re about to have a super sweet on-air tantrum.
Would you sign up for a show if it meant a stranger would go through your room and look at all your belongings? That’s the premise of this invasion-of-privacy spin on the dating show: One single guy or gal looks through three potential suitors’ rooms, basing who he or she wants to go on a date with based only on objects they find. The three suitors watch this person from a van (why a van? Was the show just not creepy enough?), and meet up with the single person at the end. If someone was to do this with me, they would find lots of musical instruments and a plush Waluigi doll. Ladies?
It must be hard being the parent to an adult child. Watching your kids struggle their way through unfulfilling careers, growing pains, and unsavory relationships has got to get under your skin. What if you could take control in some small way? That’s the hook of this dating show, where parents who hate their kid’s significant other set them up with two other suitors. At the end, after going on a date with each new potential mate (which are observed and hilariously commented on by the parents and the old significant other), the subject must choose between one of the new people, the old significant other, or reject them all and become single.
We all have fantasies of being something we’re not. This MTV show took these wishes and made them realities, sending professional teams to folks across the country to help make their dreams come true. Some of these are relatively simple (“I want to be a homecoming queen!”), some are a little more complicated (“I want to be a male model!”), all are relentlessly fascinating and surprisingly captivating.
One of the classier efforts from MTV’s aughts period, True Life is an award-winning documentary series that highlights interesting people and simply follows their lives. The show often chased controversial and complicated subjects, from heroin addiction to PTSD, providing a sobering dose of truth to MTV’s often frothy flights of fantasy.
Rich and famous people are dope. Thus, it stands to reason, their houses must be dope, too, right? With this simple question, MTV Cribs was off and running, providing an inside look at the stars’ abodes, hosted kinetically by the celebrity in question. Humorously, many of the objects, cars, and even houses themselves didn’t actually belong to the celebrity — they were simply rented out for the episode to propagate a life of materialistic fantasy. Still, makes for good after-school television, no?
Ashton Kutcher +Trucker hat + Celebrities getting pranked + One normal camera + One handheld shaky black and white camera = Punk’d. This show felt like the essence of Mountain Dew brought to life, and I mean that in the best way possible. It is simply wonderful to learn that celebs from Justin Timberlake to Zach Braff deal with supposedly real problems the way the rest of us do: by freaking the eff out.
Which show could you spend an afternoon marathoning? Which ones made you say “Next!” and change the channel? What did we miss? If you feel like pimping your timeline, why not give me a follow on Twitter?