Beavis and Butt-head stealing porn from a sperm bank. Ashton Kutcher reducing Justin Timberlake to tears in his driveway. Kristin Cavallari helplessly watching her SUV overheat in the streets of Laguna Beach. Nostalgia takes many forms, and a new endeavor called MTV Classic is counting on memory lane’s increasing specificity. The new cable channel, announced today, will excavate MTV’s most popular programing from the 1990s and early 2000s, including comedies like Jackass, Beavis & Butt-head, Clone High, and Daria, among a slate of other reality and cartoon shows.
MTV’s hope is that anyone who came of age in the administrations of Clinton (the first one) or Bush (the second one) will be powerless against repeat viewings of their adolescent obsessions, and even discover those of another generation (LC fans, it’s time you met Daria Morgendorffer).
Even before BuzzFeed scraped the bottom of the nostalgia barrel (Only 90s Kids Will Remember These Breaker High Action Figures Recalled for Choking Hazards!), Viacom has been smartly capitalizing on the magnetic pull of pop culture nostalgia across generations with I Love the 80s, Nick at Nite, and VH1 Classic, the very channel that MTV Classic will replace (Whitesnake videos < Redman’s infamous Cribs episode). But it remains to be seen whether a cable channel is compelling to their target demographics when most of this content is already available on demand through legal streaming services and illegal torrents alike.
The rebrand kicks off on August 1 at 6am, when the network will air the very first hour of programming from MTV’s 1981 launch.