If an Awards Show Happens & No One Cares, Does It Make a Sound?

It’s strange enough that MTV exists at all in the year of our lord 2023 and stranger still that MTV continues to host an annual award show for entertainment. But the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards were an impressive snooze even by network television standards, because the event was entirely pre-taped due to the ongoing WGA writer’s strike.

To reiterate, we support the striking writers; the fact that they brought a network to its knees by refusing to supply scripted material, jokes, and banter is proof of their importance. Here’s hoping that the studios are moved to offer the writers a better deal in light of MTV’s predicament.

It all just begs the question: why even go forward with the MTV Awards at all?

Presumably, there was some contractual obligation here, given that MTV had likely sold time to advertisers, planned some big reveals, and received some filmed acceptance speeches from recipients but MTV could’ve just released everything on Twitter and received a similar amount of attention (which was pretty paltry, overall).

The major moments were really just some recognition for deserved Hollywood talent like Bella Ramsey, Pedro Pascal, and Jennifer Coolidge, the latter of whom used her pre-filmed speech to offer support for the striking writers.

So, on one hand, the 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards are a cautionary tale of what happens when laborers demands aren’t met by the powers that be — pay up, studio heads — but, on the other, they’re also a fascinating case study for what happens when an awards show is utterly ignored.

Not that the MTV Awards are the bellwether of anything more than the popular opinions of people who watch MTV but it all just underscores that these award ceremonies are effectively inessential.

At their best, events like these give more visibility to undersung talent and creative works — remember when Esperanza Spalding beat Justin Bieber at the 2010 Grammys? — and at worst they underscore inherent bias.

People will enjoy films, movies, and music regardless of whether industry kingmakers co-sign it all or not — these kind of glitzy events are holdovers of a bygone era when a select few people decided all of popular culture.

That the pre-recorded MTV Awards landed like a wet fart is a reminder that, in today’s world, these award ceremonies need people more than people need award ceremonies.


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