Here's why MTV's 'TRL' reboot is a total bust

Friday, 13 October 2017, 08:15:43 PM. It's hard to see why viewers will watch a show largely sourced from social media that's more boring than actual Twitter timelines.

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Model Joan Smalls appears on the premiere week of 'TRL.' (Photo: Jon Pak)

TRL has no business existing in 2017.

In the early 2000s, MTV's Total Request Live was the ideal afternoon companion for young culture junkies. TRL was the place to check in with the era’s biggest celebrities, to see what they were wearing, and to hear whatever off-the-cuff comments host Carson Daly could charm out of them. And, if you were lucky, to watch whatever music videos you were obsessed with at the time, if they made the show’s fan-voted daily countdown.

TRL was a powerful celebrity gatekeeper, before the seismic shift of social media put that power back in the talents’ hands. Now, the rich and famous control what and where they share information, speaking directly to fans on Instagram and Twitter, and putting a major dent in TRL’s value proposition. Then, there’s the fact that MTV has all but eliminated airing music videos, which fans don't need to watch on TV when they're freely available on YouTube. 

With no exclusive celebrity access, and no interest in the show’s eponymous “request” countdown, it’s hard to imagine the point of a modern-day TRL reboot.

A week and a half in, it’s clear that MTV is struggling to create a show worth watching. The show’s issues transcend the missed cues and camera goofs — and there were many — that are inherent to any live show’s premiere. TRL desperately wants to speak the plugged-in language of memes and YouTube stars and trending topics of its target audience of teenagers.

But it does so with all the nuance of a faulty online language translator, bungling the final product in the process.

MTV's first mistake is abandoning the hosting expertise of Carson Daly-style talking heads in favor of greener social media personalities. Led by Vine star-turned comedian DC Young Fly and Tamara Dhia, a former host for the music/lifestyle site Complex, the voices of TRL are a revolving door of YouTubers and Internet comedians who look the part, but struggle to create the viral moments that seem to be their mandate, wasting their celebrity interviews on mindless questions about what their guests ate for breakfast.

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Romeo Santos performs on the premiere week of 'TRL.' (Photo: Zach Dilgard)

In between, the show shoehorns social media into as many segments as possible, with sometimes-cringeworthy results. Plenty of shows have tapped into Twitter participation to bring their comedy to life, but TRL isn't quite there yet, with segments that recruited audience members to build their own memes on a giant screen and forced a struggling Rita Ora to match tweets with the celebrity who sent them. Many of the sketches left participants looking visibly uncomfortable, and were similarly hard to watch.

Most blasphemous of all is TRL's replacement for the music video requests that made up the "R" of the show. Instead, there's an MTV-sponsored playlist, to which the hosts dutifully ask every guest to add a song. Instead of crowd-funding the brilliantly hip playlist that TRL was likely hoping to create, many of the celebrity guests simply added their latest single, taking advantage of the clueless concept.

And, as anyone who's logged onto social media over the past year has noticed, it's impossible for a show that wants to appear plugged-in to the mainstream to avoid talking politics. Yet, TRL can't decide whether it wants to be a woke, Teen Vogue-channeling voice of the young #resistance, or an escape from politics entirely.

Showrunner Albert Lewitinn caught heat online in the days before the premiere for telling The Fader he’d “love” to have President Trump on the show, and in its first few days, TRL either fumbled its political moments (like the premiere's awkward Las Vegas tribute) or ignored social issues entirely.

Toward the end of the week, the hosts grew bolder in expressing their political views, providing the quotable segments the show desperately needed. That's especially true for DC Young Fly, who channeled his sometimes-manic energy into sincere passion while speaking about Colin Kaepernick and Puerto Rico. 

Perhaps the show’s gradual embrace of wokeness is a glimmer of hope for fans who still want to see TRL adapt and succeed. But considering the notoriously short attention span of the teenage audience the show is so thirstily attempting to charm, it's hard to see why someone would watch a show largely sourced from social media that's more boring than their actual Twitter timeline. 

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Lil Yachty performs on the premiere week of 'TRL.' (Photo: Zach Dilgard)

 

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Article Here's why MTV's 'TRL' reboot is a total bust compiled by www.azcentral.com