I never thought it would happen. I came to a realization that goes against each and every fiber of my being as a straight-up music worshipper, and defies each modicum of what I consider sanity. But it's true, and I don't think I can afford to deny the pain of my reality any longer.
I think I'm finally too old for the MTV Video Music Awards.
If you'd known how deeply I felt this event for decades (decades!), you'd well understand how I'm able to consider this a grave travesty. The years I spent begging, pleading and cajoling my parents for undisputed mastery of the remote during the prime-time hours of that night, all to virtually experience this ultimate free-fall party down where the musicians drank, snorted and shoved each other into the hellfires of FCC-bleepin' oblivion with salacious abandon. Today, it's been demoted to an act of posterity. I fast-forward through all the schlock to get to the P!nks and Lady Gagas -- or anyone else who even remotely interests me -- just to have something to comment about at the watercooler.
Last night, it was almost painful to endure all the lost opportunities for redemption. I wanted to love the former bad-boy rebel Eminem. I did. Especially since he's been at it way longer than many of the amateurs who surrounded him. But I didn't. His wild opening act was a subdued tale of redemption that bored me to tears. Hell, maybe he's too old for this shizz himself.
As a HUGE Chelsea Handler fan since "Chelsea Lately" was called "The Chelsea Handler Show" (the earlier incarnation that no one else watched), it was my civic duty to press record and see what my gurl could do to shake things up and make the show palatable. And as only she could, she voiced my feelings about how staid things had gotten in recent years: "I want to encourage everyone to be on their worst behavior," she said. "And I'm not just talking about some predictable girl-on-girl kiss. We've all seen that. I want to turn this mother out. Get your tongues ready, because I want one shoved someplace it's not supposed to be."
Poor Chelsea did her best to corral her randy sense of humor into the PG-rated barn, but it all felt a bit limited and shellacked -- even as she responded to Snooki taunts with an "It's f*ing on!" and dove into a hot tub with the entire "Jersey Shore" cast.
At least Gaga had the wherewithal to have "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discharged military as her special guests and use the show as a forum to send an indirect, non-preachy message to the masses.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm old enough to be Justin Bieber's mother, and not in a "Teen Mom" kind of way. Maybe it has to do with the fact that this year's winner for Best New Artist sounds exactly like the Best New Artist of twenty years ago. But the whole event feels so played.
I mean, is there a rehab for this kind of thing? Should I be forcing myself to go to the 25th anniversary of Lollapalooza? Listen to bands like Muse on loop? Or accept that fact that in five years or less, it will be my kid who, come VMA night, begs, pleads and bargains for undisputed mastery of the remote?
I just hope when he does, I'm able to pop the corn and cop a squat right next to him. For old times' sake, of course.