To get you (back) up to speed, we’ve put together this primer on some of the shows they’ll be airing and what made them so great. It’s also just a chance to remind you that Jesse Camp existed.
Total Request Live
What exactly was it: A live video countdown show filmed in a glass-walled corner of MTV’s Times Square studio, much to the excitement of tweens who’d huddle below for the chance to catch a glimpse of a visiting celeb’s back.
Who was on it: Carson Daly, who was thought of at the time as the Dick Clark of the ’90s but is now remembered as a Ryan Seacrest of the ’90s. Also, Jesse Camp, who won the inaugural Wanna Be a VJ competition, which secured him a brief but shining moment hosting alongside Carson. Luckily, Dave Holmes made a solid career out of coming in second.
Why you loved it: By the end of the ’90s, it was the only block of time you’d get to watch music videos on MTV.
Its high point: “Oops!... I Did It Again.”
Its nadir: Hanson hosts.
It’s probably responsible for: American Idol. Therefore, Sanjaya.
Beavis and Butt-Head
What was it: A cartoon starring a couple of suburban slackers going about their lives and watching music videos (yes, very meta).
Who was on it: Beavis, Butt-Head.
Why you loved it: It was dumb, but actually kind of funny. In a dumb way. You might have even gone to theaters to watch the movie, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.
Its high point: “I am the great Cornholio and I need TP for my bunghole.”
Its nadir: When MTV resurrected it in 2011 but with Jersey Shore instead of classic music vids.
It’s probably responsible for: Mike Judge, who went on to create Office Space, King of the Hill and Silicon Valley.
What was it: A live taping of an intimate concert by a musician, or band, playing all acoustic instruments.
Who was on it: Just about everyone except Liam Gallagher, who ditched Oasis’s gig at the last minute and sat in the VIP balcony drinking and heckling his own.
Why you loved it: You found out if artists were up to the task of performing without a net. Or because you’re just a fan of oriental rugs.
Its high point: Nirvana.
Its nadir: Korn.
It’s probably responsible for: The lo-fi folk from the likes of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes.
What was it: Tours of celebrity homes, led by the celebrities themselves.
Who was on it: 50 Cent. Sisqó. Richard Branson. Hugh Hefner. Devon Sawa. Jewel. The list goes on.
Why you loved it: It was a peek behind the curtain—usually punctuated by a look into a highly curated, champagne-filled fridge and the utterance “This is where the magic happens” when the camera panned into the bedroom.
Its high point: A tie: Redman’s shanty and Mariah Carey’s bubble bath.
Its nadir: Any teen star who still lived at home.
It’s probably responsible for: The housing market crisis.
Pimp My Ride
What was it: People with terrible cars would let the powers that be at MTV get their rides “pimped.”
Who was on it: A fun-loving gangster rapper by the name of Xzibit was the host. This made sense at the time.
Why you loved it: You always dreamed of having your hooptie magically turned into the envy of the neighborhood.
Its high point: Turning a backseat into a fish tank.
Its nadir: Turning a backseat into a fish tank.
It’s probably responsible for: All those fish tanks you see in backseats today.
What was it: Lovable celebrity scamp Ashton Kutcher would devise elaborate ways to make other celebrities very uncomfortable on television for our viewing pleasure.
Who was on it: While Kutcher masterminded the pranks, everyone from Justin Timberlake to Frankie Muniz were his marks. You can’t say the show didn’t have range.
Why you loved it: It’s fun to see celebrities getting taken down a peg. Possibly crying.
Its high point: Timberlake thinks he’s lost everything to government seizure and one of the biggest pop stars of the era was reduced to tears. Ha, ha.
Its nadir: The Kutch dusted off the trusty old trucker hat for a 2012 MTV Awards promo, and his attempt to prank Kim Kardashian fell flat—it appeared that the whole thing went over her head.
It’s probably responsible for: The trucker hat epidemic of the early aughts.