MTV’s Total Request Live was iconic. It gave us performances from stars like the Backstreet Boys, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and Avril Lavigne—who unforgettably said that the media doesn’t know what it’s talking about by labeling her a “rebel” before flipping the bird. But it also served its purpose. It’s dead. It should stay dead.
Yet the powers that be insist on digging up TRL’s lifeless corpse and injecting it with both the power generated by a handful of aggressively millennial YouTube personalities and, from the sound of a recent interview, some very dubious values.
Yes, next week, TRL will be back, and instead of Carson Daly, five different people will be hosting the show. Also involved is something called the Dolan Twins, who were previously on a 42-city worldwide tour and whose “Hot Tub Confessions” video includes confessing to almost crashing a car.
Most concerning, however, is a recent interview Albert Lewitinn, the showrunner of the updated TRL, gave to Fader. And by interview, I mean practiced cliched talking points about “youth culture” and an insanely thirsty bid for Donald Trump to appear on the show. Let’s take a look! (Emphasis in his answers mine throughout.)
When asked if the show plans on being as politically conscious as the last VMAs were, Lewitinn responded with some stuff about “youth culture.”
It goes back to the idea of us being a youth culture show. Youth culture envelops a lot of things. The idea of woke is about culture and what’s happening right and that’s the intent of the show, to be on the pulse. I know everyone says that but MTV has always been on the forefront of that kind of thing, TRL was always on the forefront. It’s our responsibility to see what’s happening and what’s on the mind of people who are watching.
PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE YOUTHS WANT TO HEAR!!!!
Do you have anything in that area planned out?
Nothing I can tell you about.
When asked about how the show will deal with popular acts like Kodak Black and XXXTentacion who are “known abusers of women,” Lewitinn replied:
I’m not sure I want to answer that question. We want to be on what pop culture wants. When it comes to something like that, it’s something that we would have to look into. It’s a tough question to ask, I can’t answer that question until something like that happens.
As long as the kids are still into XXXTentacion (who allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman) MTV will give them XXXTentacion (who allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman) but maybe they’ll think about it first!
I ask it because it was announced that Noah Cyrus is going to be on your show on Tuesday and she just released a song with [XXXTentacion], so I was wondering if they were going to be on the show together.
Can’t tell you that part. Surprise, surprise.
So…he’s going to be on the show?
To pose a somewhat insane scenario — our president is a avid TV watcher. Are you prepared for him to watch the show and would you have him on the show?
I would love both. He’s welcome to hashtag us and @ TRL. He’s the president of the United States. Of course we would welcome him on. He’s the president of the United States.
I mean, I don’t envy anyone who has been tasked to oversee the reboot of a show whose success is rooted in screaming teenagers, but the unironic and unabashed eagerness to entertain President Trump probably doesn’t bode well for the show that wants to be at the forefront of—what, Halsey fans? Anyway, the youth culture deserves better.