Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When MTV Was Cool: Al TV (1984)

Song satirist "Weird" Al Yankovic had done one of MTV's monthly "Guest VJ" gigs in February 1984. The ratings must've been so good, the network invited him back, but this time giving him a 4 hour block of unfettered silliness.

Fittingly, Al TV launched on April Fool's Day, April 1, and would appear sporadically over the next 22 years, with the last two installments---all of the episodes were glorified infomercials for Al's albums---airing on VH1.

Yankovic pretended he had built a pirate satellite, and "took over" MTV for 4 hours, using outsourced interview footage and pretending he was the one conducting the interviews, producing commercials for non-existent products, and so on. It was just flat out wack.

This, of course, led not only to Yankovic's 1989 movie, "UHF", but also a subsequent, short-lived Saturday morning comedy-variety show for CBS.

Let's take a look at some excerpts from the opener, on April 1, 1984. The music videos have been edited out for obvious reasons.

Yankovic, of course, is still recording. With MTV and VH1 having forsaken music for lame reality shows and off-network reruns, there might not be room for a return. Or is there?

Rating: B.

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