Of course I didn’t watch the VMAs. In fact, in the last decade, I’ve been totally oblivious to them until Kanye West was so mean to that nice girl with the hair that never moves…Taylor Swift. Because of the kerfuffle his antics created and like few other pop cultural happenings, it penetrated my addled working-mom-of-two Formerly brain. For half a day, like everyone else, I thought, What a douche. And then it was over, and I once again forgot there was a such thing as the VMAs.
But now they’re giving Chelsea a hard time, so I went online to watch. Yeah, no, she wasn’t her best. She’s hilarious and I’ve seen her more so.
But she did have her moments, perhaps moments only a Formerly who is of the age that she could conceivably have given birth to Justin Bieber could appreciate. I chuckled at her imitation of Lady Gaga’s absurdist headgear, walking out on stage with an entire dollhouse on her head. That’s because we have a similar dollhouse at home. And I thought some of the skits were a goof. At one point she kicked the crap out of a guy in a padded suit, like in the Model Mugging self-defense course I took back when I still watched MTV.
But the main reason I say get off her case is that she was doomed to failure from the start. I mean, Chelsea is 35. That’s not old, God knows. I won’t call her a Formerly, either–that’s something only you can decide if you are, by dint of the fact that you relate (or don’t) to the concept of being an adult tween, too old to be young and too young to be old. The MTV audience is not her people.
At one point in her monologue she said she’d watched all the videos to prepare for hosting–if you have to seek out and watch the videos, you are out of your element. I wouldn’t know where to find them on TV–all I know is that MTV doesn’t play them anymore. That’s a sign that you’re a Formerly, that you have to actively pursue pop culture, that it doesn’t just seep into your pores like it did when it was directed at you.
What’s more, I don’t think MTV has been relevant since I was in my 20s, sometime after I became significantly older than the cast of whatever Real World was airing. MTV first aired the year I started high school (Chelsea would have been six). We didn’t have cable, so getting to watch MTV at my friends’ houses made it doubly cool. Kurt Loder and music news…why in the world are they hosting awards for music videos they don’t even play?
I’m going to go so far as to say that MTV is Formerly Relevant, and that Chelsea Handler didn’t stand a chance, and what’s more, I don’t care about the VMAs, and that I’m hungry and am pretty sure there’s no food in the house. What do you guys think?