We gave it a B
The MTV Movie & TV Awards are 26 years old — or 1 year old, if you count last year’s addition of small-screen entertainment as an existential transformation.
No question, that change has produced a hypnotically bad name: “TV” repeated twice, that infernal “and” breaking the word flow. Can’t they just call it “The Content Awards”? We all hate the word “content,” though. Maybe the network could double down on acronyms and introduce “The MTVMTV Awards”? Less of a tongue-twister, and would anyone care? Accepting the Generation Award, Chris Pratt gave a shout-out to “my son Jack, who will watch this one day.” He might not, man. In this stream everything age, it’s hard to find old iterations of this show online.
I know, because in the spirit of historical study, I tried watching as much of the 1998 and 2008 Movie Awards as I could find. The results were inconclusive, ghosts of zeitgeists past. Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lloyd being chased by the ’90s Godzilla. Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez onstage together, 20 years ago, looking precisely the way they looked yesterday. Lindsay Lohan and P. Diddy doing an Obama/Clinton riff, with Verne Troyer (RIP) looking on. The 2008 awards featured cutaways to then-dating Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, then-dating Rihanna and Chris Brown, and then-denying Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Sigh, memories, that lost continent called youth.
This stuff lives better in memory, anyway. Ages ago, the Movie Awards occupied a quiet-but-essential spot in the teen calendar, airing just before or after finals week. It was the kind of thing you watched at a friend’s house right when summer was starting. All awards shows are trying to sell you something — Best Summer Movie You Haven’t Seen Yet — but you could groove onto the hype, would consume the market-tested buzz in binge quantities, because n