On August 1, 1981, TV changed. MTV was created and no one had any idea of the uproar it would create. From airing very controversial music videos, to the magic that is TRL, to ‘The Hills’ literally revealing it was all fake, it’s been quite the ride. So, here are nine moments we’ll never forget.
MTV plays its first ever music video. (1981)
“Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles was the first video to ever air on MTV, the day the network began. At 12:01 AM, they showed footage of the 1969 moon landing and the 1981’s space shuttle launch, with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” That was followed up with the video.
Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” video is played on repeat. (1983)
MTV was known for its excessive playing of Michael Jackson‘s 13-minute long video and the “Making of” featurette — it was the first world premiere video for the And why not? It remains one of the most popular (and most terrifying, TBH) video ever.
The Real World: San Francisco makes a statement for the LGBTQ community. (1994)
Pedro Zamora became the first openly gay man with AIDS to deal with the situation on TV — and work through the issues with his partner.
Backstreet Boys take on TRL. (1999)
TRL had its fair share of epic moments — but one of the best was in 1999 when the Backstreet Boys took the stage to perform “I Want It That Way” for thousands of screaming fans inside and out of Times Square.
Laguna Beach introduced the first non-structured reality show. (2004)
What started with a black and white affair quickly turned into one of the biggest reality shows/guilty pleasures on TV. It later went into The Hills but The Real O.C. gave us a look at a pretty wealthy group of kids just living — and the world ate it up. Myself included.
Rachel McAdams & Ryan Gosling make everyone swoon at the MTV Movie Awards. (2005)
After they had a seriously hot sex scene in The Notebook, it was no surprise they won Best Kiss — and then recreated it on screen in one of the most watched videos ever.
The Real World: Brooklyn welcomes the first openly transgender housemate. (2009)
Katelynn Cusanelli joined The Real World and changed the world. She began living as a woman at 17, and began her transition nearly five years prior to the show. She completed her surgery in 2008.
16 & Pregnant enlightens the world in a not-so-pretty life of teen pregnancy. (2009)
A year after My Super Sweet 16 ended, which showed the really upscale life of wealthy teens throwing lavish birthday parties, 16 & Pregnant showed a whole different realm. While the question remains: did it glamorize teen pregnancy?, the rate of teen pregnancy has decreased since the premiere… and if anyone watches, they know it’s not glamourous.
The Hills was all
After six seasons of the Laguna Beach spinoff, The Hills came to a sad end — and revealed what most people knew all along: it was all scripted. The show ended with Brody and Kristen saying goodbye, and her appearing to drive away. However, we see that it’s all a set — the Hollywood sign behind him is just a backdrop. (Mic drop)
Beginning today, VH1 Classics transitions into MTV Classics, to air all your favorite old programming.