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MTV- stop ruining remakes

Do you remember when MTV launched its first music video, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles? Neither do I, but I hear it was an exciting moment in pop culture.

Well, The Buggles were a British synthpop/New Wave band and their song entered history in 1979 when MTV used the band's to-be one-hit wonder (random fact: about 2 minutes and 57 seconds into the video, Hans Zimmer can be seen playing a keyboard).

The Limousines, an Indietronica band from California, released an album last year that included a single called "Internet Killed the Video Star." And believe it or not, it's a reworking of The Buggles' original song.

I don't want to say the song is bad, because I like it and actually do think it's more of an homage than a rip-off, but it's a great example of how Americans have a habit of taking things already made and trying to do it all over again, and some people are really bad at it.

MTV is a prime suspect.

When I heard MTV was picking up "Skins" to be Americanized, pure horror and rage flooded through my mind, body and soul. The UK version of "Skins," which airs on a British cable channel called E4 in the vein of HBO, may just be about a group of college-attending teenagers who drink, sleep around and consume drugs like water — but it was the characters that made the series unforgettable, not necessarily their outrageous actions.

The kind of character I'm talking about is the type that cannot be recreated, the one-in-a-million kind of people who can only be played by the actors that first slipped into them. And MTV thinks that a handful of nobodies who can't act could manage to pull off the casual ease of personality actors like Joe Dempsie and Jack O'Connell had in playing Chris and Cook (from generations one and two, respectively)?

I'm not saying it's impossible to remake things into equal or even better versions. I enjoy the U.S. version of "The Office" with the kind of pleasure small children experience when consuming their pillowcase of candy on Halloween: gleefully gluttonous.

But TBS did it right. Yes, they took certain archetypes of characters from the British version and threw them at American actors to run with. But who cannot agree Steve Carrell plays an amazing Michael Scott? And who isn't in love with John Krasinski and his plethora of Jim faces?

It's about who picks it up and the way they handle the show. If you're taking something that is known to be raunchy and controversial, why would you put it on a channel where you cannot give it enough room to be dirty?

Watching the MTV version of "Skins," I couldn't help but laugh whenever characters' f-words were bleeped out — that, and the actors had two modes of talking, monotone and yelling. The essences of characters I love were dissolved into cheap American remakes with awful wardrobes and a lack of believability.

An example of a remake gone great and executed correctly is Showtime's launch of "Shameless," a racy show about a low-class Chicago family whose troubles revolve around their alcoholic, mostly-absent father. Although the characters are almost completely derived from the British original, the actors have run with the molds and made them into real people.

In the case of "Shameless," I have not seen the original and do not feel the desire to —especially since its eight seasons are virtually unavailable unless bought, and I'm too poor. Showtime did a more than sufficient job, giving them the room to curse and drink profusely and swim in a pool completely naked.

It was announced last month that MTV plans to remake "Inbetweeners," a popular British show that could be described as a wacky, clever teen-sex comedy. This isn't going to go well, guys. Especially since other up-coming shows include "Teen Wolf" — really? Two movies weren't enough? — and a revamp of "Beavis and Butthead."

So let's review. Problem: Taking something once great and making it crappy. Culprit: MTV. Underlying issue that would take another column to articulate: Our culture has a lack of creativity and cannot think of its own ideas.

Warning to MTV: If you dare try to pick up "Misfits," I will be furious. And it would tank, because there is nobody else on this planet as hilariously crude and inappropriate as Robert Sheehan.

 

Taylere Peterson is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in journalism and media studies and English with a minor in art history. She is the managing editor of The Daily Targum.


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