Was MTV Banking On Britney Being A Trainwreck?

noah | September 10, 2007 3:48 am

You’d think that pumping out 4,300 words-plus about last night’s Video Music Awards would have been more than enough for me, but when you’re this hung over, the things that you experienced the night before tend to stick with you. So let’s use what I swear is going to be my final post about last night to look into a theory that friend of Idolator Jami Attenberg floated my way earlier: What if the powers that be at the channel were sort of banking on Britney Spears’ show-opening performance being a trainwreck? Our IM conversation on this topic follows.

instantlove: do we not think this was mtv’s plan all along–for britney to fail? mauraatidolator: you think? instantlove: well everyone’s talking about the mtv awards, certainly more than in years past i would say mauraatidolator: hmmm instantlove: CONSPIRACY mauraatidolator: so it’s like the sort of response to the tmzization of culture? i like where this is going instantlove: i mean the woman prepped for like three days, she’s clearly a wreck mauraatidolator: yeah instantlove: mtv was like, good or bad we want to see it happen instantlove: i actually think there was a lot of bizarre/interesting stuff going on last night. the girls from the hills as big stars, and then justin timberlake slamming reality tv as he accepts the award from them. everything the foo fighters did, and fall out boy was trying to work it out so hard that i think they get extra bonus points. instantlove: it was a fucking mess, but sometimes that’s interesting instantlove: but that’s totally tmz mauraatidolator: they tried to bring the incoherence of the internet to tv

If anything, the incessant Internetization of this year’s Video Music Awards–the Twittering, the Second Life-ing, the “watch the full performances online!” exhortations–makes this hypothesis completely plausible; MTV has, after all, seemed nothing short of desperate for attention with this installment of the show, and coupling that desperation with the idea that all press is good press could have created quite the toxic stew, if you’ll pardon the pun. (You need look no further than the pageview counts for all of our VMA-related stories in the past 24 hours to realize that people are, in fact, seeking out news on this show whether they watched it or not, and whether they’re fans of Britney or not.) It seems pretty cruel, but that’s also sort of why it seems plausible–after all, any network that actually put on the shitshow that was last night isn’t really feeling altruistic towards its fellow media consumers, is it now.

Earlier: Idolator’s 2007 Video Music Awards coverage: Gimme gimme more, gimme gimme more