Top 20 MTV Shows That Had Nothing To Do With Music

Everyone likes to complain about MTV kicking music videos to the curb (we're extremely guilty of it ourselves). But truth be told, MTV has created some pretty awesome shows over the years. So in honor of MTV's 30th anniversary, we decided to take a look at our favorite non-music MTV shows.

Here are our twenty favorite MTV shows that had nothing to do with music:

20. The Jon Stewart Show
19. Singled Out
18. True Life
17. Pimp My Ride
16. The Tom Green Show
15. The Osbournes
14. Made
13. The Ben Stiller Show
12. Real World/Road Rules Challenge
11. Aeon Flux
10. The Sifl & Olly Show
9. Road Rules
8. Liquid Television
7. Celebrity Deathmatch
6. Remote Control

5. Jackass

Ah, Jackass. What's not to love? The paean to drunk, death-wishing fratboys everywhere premiered in 2000 and instantly spawned a generation of fun-loving punks who found new ways to ride shopping carts off roofs, shoot each other in the junk, perform amateur dentistry on each other, and basically freak out parents everywhere.

Some might call the show juvenile. I prefer to call it genius, thanks. (One of its creators was Spike Jonze, after all.) Jackass originated when Johnny Knoxville tried to write an article for a skateboarding magazine in which he tested several self-defense devices on himself: tasers, mace, all the fun toys you can use to either protect yourself from predators, or haze unsuspecting pledges. That begot a well-circulated video, which begot the hit show. For two years, Johnny, Bam, and Steve-O did serious physical harm to themselves with stunts involving wheelchairs, skateboards, homemade ramps, firehoses, and angry livestock; all so we could sit, watch, wince, and occasionally throw up a little. After the show came the movies, the video game… and a whole culture of doofuses who continue to find fun new ways to throw hammers at each other on YouTube.

The flag at Jackass World Headquarters is still flying at half-mast after the death of Ryan Dunn (due to a car crash unrelated to any show antics). Jackasses everywhere raise their glasses to you Ryan, and to all the crazy kids out there who love to do stuff that makes the rest of us clutch our genitals in vicarious pain.--Didactic Pirate

4. The State

I was in the perfect environment to be a viewer of The State: college. I had always been a fan of sketch comedy. But this was sketch comedy done MTV style. It was fast, quirky, and aimed squarely at a young audience. My friends and I lapped it up. There wasn't a single familiar face in the sprawling cast. But they were funny. Catchphrases sprung up: "I'm going to dip my balls in it." "I'm outta heeeere!" and "$240 worth of pudding." If any of those bring a smile to your face, you're a fan of The State.

It was one of the first sketch comedy shows on MTV. There have been very few since. The show lasted for just three seasons. After the members of The State dispersed like a shotgun blast over Hollywood. They spring up as now-familiar faces in Judd Apatow movies and on shows like Reno 911, Childrens Hospital, and Party Down. Two of them have gone off to have wildly successful movie writing careers (the Night At The Museum movies). One has become a go-to comedy director (Role Models). The State has never formally reunited after their groundbreaking MTV show. Most of them were involved in the unofficial reunion movie, Wet Hot American Summer (if you haven't seen it, go out and watch it RIGHT NOW!) But their influence over comedy and pop culture remains. Long live The State!--Daddy Geek Boy

3. Daria

That slightly misanthropic, boot-wearing, locker-lurker Daria was the girl I wanted for a friend. She epitomized what it felt like to be on the outside and she was also smart enough to know that the fringe was where she wanted to be. Daria was keenly intelligent, dry and witty, a perfect mirror for the foibles of those around her, but she had her vulnerabilities too, and it was those that made me love her the most... the unrequited crush, the awkward mistakes, feeling alone even when being alone was the place she chose for herself, the family she was at odds with but still loves. Although Daria debuted ten years after I left high school, I could still poignantly relate with all of those experiences. Watching the show later in life was a reminder that however much the teenage years are temporary, it still stays with you... there's even something about that pain that you want to celebrate. (Or maybe that's a misfit emo thing.)

I was a bit of a Daria in high school but she was also a lot cooler than I was. I only wished I could brush off the absurdities of high school with half as much droll self-possession. So to Daria, my sister, my hero... I miss you.--The Weirdgirl

2. The Real World

One of the great things about going to college was the free dorm cable. No, we didn't get many channels, but we did get a slew of MTV channels. Which is why I got kind of hooked on The Real World. I started watching in 1994, which was, in my mind, the glory season of the program as that was the year that the cast lived in San Francisco. The world was introduced to Puck, a stinky, eccentric, contentious, bicycle messenger, and Pedro, one of the first openly gay men living with AIDS ever featured on television. It was shocking, fascinating, compelling television. The season had it all. Fights! Gay marriage! Puck's eviction!

But for me, it was mostly fascinating to watch a group of people near my own age dealing with a hot issue: there was such a huge fear surrounding AIDS then, legacy of the '80s. Pedro really put a human face on the disease. You couldn't help but want to give him a big ole hug. Pedro actually passed away a few hours after the finale premiered. I remember watching the finale then hearing the news. I'll admit it, I cried a little.

Subsequent seasons didn't grab me like the 1994 season did. The 1995 London cast did, however, have a guy from my hometown in it so I watched it periodically to see if he'd represent us well. (Not so much, thanks Mike.) Until it got all MTV trashy, The Real World made for fascinating television when it focused on key social issues. It honestly made you think and made for interesting dinner conversation. Those kids in Jersey could learn something by watching a few old episodes.--Archphoenix

1. Beavis And Butt-Head

This is a picture of my friend Jeff and I at our high school graduation:

This is an untouched photograph of Jeff and I from earlier that week:

All the blathering morons who railed against Beavis And Butt-Head in its heyday completely missed the point. Yes, it was crude. Yes, it was juvenile. Yes, it reveled in chainsaws and explosions. But it was also was representative of a not-insignificant percentage of the population. And not just Beavis and Butt-Head themselves, so marvelously realized as to make them indistinguishable from virtually everyone I spent time with growing up in suburban Spokane. But the neighbors, school mates, and teachers also were finely-drawn subversions of American archetypes, each of whom exhibited opinions and foibles both extreme and familiar. We loved them because we knew them and their world, and we laughed at them in the same way we laugh at ourselves. Just with more "FIRE!"

Which gets to the other important reason why this is show is the greatest non-music contribution MTV has made to human society. It's fucking hysterical! In one episode there's a tornado warning, so they do what any half-wit teenager would do: they went to a trailer park to see it. In another episode Beavis spend the entire time chocking to death with a nacho in his throat, while Butt-Head wanders around only mildly and inconsistently aware that he should do something about it. And it had a very keen sense of what was cool and not cool in music. It's no accident that our protagonists wore AC/DC and Metallica t-shirts, while their neighbor Stewart had one that said "Winger." And just take note of some of these video observiations:

About Kiss: "These guys are good. For a bunch of mimes."
About INXS' "Devil Inside" video: "Is this satanic music?" "No, it's not cool enough."
About a Germaine Jackson video: "Hey Beavis. Guess where his hand has been."
About George Michael in a Wham video: "He's smiling at you, Beavis." "Shut up, Butt-Head!"
About Nelson: "These chicks look like guys!"

The show is coming back, and although I am a skeptic of near bottomless proportions I hope and pray that its rebirth will have the same brilliance as the original. America needs Beavis And Butt-Head. And until that day, please remember this one simple disclaimer from the show. "If you're not a cartoon, stove gas will kill you."--CroutonBoy

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