2014 MTV Video Music Awards Denies That It’s 30 Years Old, Ignores Its Own Anniversary During Telecast

Dan Ackroyd & Bette Midler hosted the very first Video Music Awards show 30 years ago in 1984, a fact completely skipped over by the show this year

Dan Ackroyd & Bette Midler hosted the very first VMAs 30 years ago in 1984, a fact completely skipped over by MTV

The August 24, 2014 broadcast of the MTV Video Music Awards was a performance packed extravaganza as always, with notable performances by Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Strangely enough, though, the telecast and second-screen content completely ignored the fact that this was the 30th anniversary of the first VMA’s in 1984, broadcast from Radio City Music Hall.

That year, the Cars took home the Moonman for Best Video of the Year, and the show closed out with Ray Parker Jr. joining Ackroyd onstage for the song “Ghostbusters”. Quite a difference from the amazing 14-song medley from Beyonce, no doubt, but other moments showed the vast chasm between the MTV of the past and the one we are saddled with now.

When Snoop Dogg and Gwen Stefani opened up the top of the show, both mentioned their careers as if they were speaking about a World War II museum. Also, Snoop’s old Death Row boss Suge Knight had been shot the night before, and that didn’t make it into the Doggfather’s comments at all. Stefani also missed a golden opportunity to comment on Charli XCX’s vocal on Iggy Azalea’s massive hit “Fancy,” which clearly references her vocal style.

Also, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels appeared as award presenters, looking like two guys too old to be hanging at the club. The irony of this is that Carrey provided one of the greatest VMA moments ever.

So between that and the multi-camera second screen content that just succeeded in busting all the audience members texting during performances and speeches, the night was a snooze. And with a strange and slight tribute to Robin Williams, it just felt like this year’s VMAs couldn’t figure out what it was.

Unfortunately, it didn’t address the fact that the show is now 30 years old because MTV always thinks of itself as the arbiter of youth culture, and a 30th anniversary doesn’t help. I guess if Taylor Swift has a giant “1989” prop on stage, there’s no room for 1984 anyway.

It’s just another example of how MTV, between reality TV and self-immolating denial, lost its way and may never find its way back. This used to be music television, and now what is it? Not even MTV knows anymore.


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