Monday, November 17, 2008

waxing nostalgic over TRL?

So until today, I didn't realize that TRL was ending it's run tonight. That's how completely out of the MTV universe I am these days. But thanks to a convenient America's Next Top Model marathon, I was informed of the occasion and I tuned it tonight for the big finale. Or at least I turned into the repeat of it starting at 11:30. And well, despite how long it's been since MTV was my go-to channel, I find myself getting a little sentimental about the whole thing. TRL started in 1998, when I was thirteen years old. I could not have been more perfect for TRL at the time. I was young, foolish and completely obsessed with pop culture. I covered my walls with magazine cut outs of the boys from Dawson's Creek (yes I had an actual full size poster of Dawson and Pacey) and boys from various boy bands (as, ahem, touched on in my last post, N'Sync may have taken up the most wall space out of anyone). And you know, I could be embarassed about it, could try to be ironic and detached about the whole thing, but well I'm just not. I was thirteen. Aren't thirteen year olds supposed to be young and stupid and have crappy taste in music and be in love with way older and way unattainable boys from the covers of teeny magazines?
I'm not gonna lie. TRL was a big part of my life in middle school (and maybe a wee bit in early high school). The second I got home from school I turned it on and watched while I ate my afternoon snack. I thought Carson Daly was dreamy. I may have even voted for my preferred video on several occasions. I have never been cool. If you've read many of these posts, then you probably already know that. I'm not one of those people who can claim to have been listening to classic rock or punk music since preschool. I have always been gloriously, dorkily obsessed with all things mainstream and unabashedy not cool. And, well, TRL wasn't cool. It wasn't supposed to be. It was just this perfect catalyst for kids to turn on the television and revel in all things pop, a place where "woooo!!!" was the language of the mob, where you could watch your favorite videos and favorite musical acts and somehow feel apart of it all. I don't know if it was our generation's American Bandstand. Really I'm not sure it matters. All I know is that for this former thirteen year old, TRL was an integral part of my preteen and early teen culture. And I'm happy about that. I'm happy that my peak of girly shriekiness coincided with the peak of TRL and boyband and pop mania. It was all silly and harmless, of course, but I wouldn't have chosen to pass my preteen years any other way.
So in honor of the now late TRL, I'll offer one last memory. The first time I went to NYC, there was nothing else that me and my best friend, MK, (she keeps popping up in these preteen related blogs-let's just say we had similar obsessions back then-okay fine we still do), wanted to do more than to stand outside in the freezing, January cold for hours outside of the MTV studio in Times Square while TRL was filmed. Forget museums, forget shows, forget even the shopping. We had one afternoon and the only thing on our agenda was TRL. So that we did. We froze and we screamed until we were both hoarse. We craned our necks upward to catch brief glimpses of the back of Carson Daly's head. Whenever the camera swooped above us, we, along with the rest of the crowd, threw our hands in the air and shredded all remaining dignity with the volume of our shrieks. We "woooo"ed with the best of them. We sang and danced to the music videos on the countdown while traffic swooped past. We acted completely and totally our age.

I can only hope that when I have kids that age, they have a similar outlet to let them be equally spazzy and young. I'm sorry, but no thirteen year old should be put together and trendy. There's no joy in that. And everyone should have the chance, at least once in their life, to scream at the top of their lungs for their favorite song in the middle of the afternoon.

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