There was a time when TRL was the show to watch, and, if you were a pop singer, the show to be on. However, in the nearly 10 years since the shows finale, much has changed. To put it bluntly, the new TRL sucks.
It's not just that the show is different, or that the hosts are obvious greenhorns. Worse than all of that, the very essence of the original show, the spirit that made TRL so uniquely TRL, seems to be missing. And that absence is precisely why the new TRL fails so spectacularly.
From 1998 to 2008, Carson Daly hosted the original show, which was a staple of MTV's programming. The top singers, bands, and musicians all took to the TRL stage, and watching the show was a daily habit for teenagers across the country.
Since the show's first exodus, many aspects of our modern lives have evolved: how we listen to music, what kinds of music we like, even the ways in which we elevate our celebrities have changed. Unfortunately, this second incarnation of TRL doesn't keep pace with that evolution.
Read on for more details regarding the worst things about the TRL reboot.
Since the shows premier in early October of 2017, the reboot of TRL has been met with overwhelming dislike from critics and viewers alike. Many questioned the need for such a reboot, outside of the obvious longing for nostalgia that seems to have overcome the nation in recent months. But this isn't the old TRL. No, this is a failed makeover that has left critics cold and fans confused.
There's no cozy set or intimate performance space on the new TRL. Instead, the studio is a massive 8,700 square feet, and the entire layout is confoundingly off-putting. As Lizzie Plaugic at The Verge observed:
"The best way to describe the studios is 'loud,' in an orange pants kind of way, not a volume way. A red couch made of the letters T, R, and L manages to combine obvious branding and the allure of comfort, even though sitting would be at odds with the show's manic energy. The DJ booth is barricaded by a supremely corny pair of four-foot-high headphones. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out across Times Square, where musicians can peer down at dozens of adoring fans."
Social media plays a big role in modern life, but most of us agree that there are certain venues where the services fit in more naturally (and more appropriately) than others. Well, nothing about the new TRL can be described as natural.
TRL hosts try and fail to insert social media into the show whenever they can. The goal is to engage the viewing audience, but most attempts only add awkwardness to an already awkward set. "The show shoehorns social media into as many segments as possible, with sometimes-cringeworthy results" USA Today said.
If you're considering attending TRL as an audience member, be prepared to dance, a lot. Kelly Conaboy of Stereogum wrote about her TRL audience experience, where an angry "hype woman" was constantly getting in everyone's face, pushing them to dance both before and during the show.
"Most of the people I encountered were not very responsive to the palpably angry level of audience participation-demand in the air," Conaboy noticed. Forced participation is not something any audience member likes, whether you're at TRL or your local dinner theater.