I grew up watching MTV. It wasn’t what it is now, being 1-2 shows aired all day. They actually had quality content. Some of the most enjoyable shows they had, were the most wild, absurd, and craziest shows I’ve ever seen. Absolute madness. Let’s take a trip to the Wild Wild West of MTV.
I remember being up late as a kid and sneaking to watch Jackass. I thought that they were living a kids dream (they really were). Pranks, stunts, and funny skits is what the core of Jackass was. This show was also my introduction to skateboarding, I had never seen it on TV until then.
Today I researched how Jackass began. It all started with the Big Brother Magazine. Jeff Tremaine was the editor of Big Brother. In the magazine, they had a ton of controversial, and humorous articles based around skateboarding community. Johnny Knoxville at the time was a struggling actor trying to find his way into the world. Tremaine linked Knoxville and got him to do some stunts on film for the magazine; some including testing out self defense equipment and shooting himself. These videos gave Knoxville clout in the skateboarding community, he was now a known face.
Knoxville was a natural star. Tremaine noticed this and wanted him to become the face of the new, Big Brother TV show. Bam Margera was also making waves during this time. He was in a crew called CKY that made skateboarding videos. These videos incorporated skits and funny pranks, a perfect blueprint for Jackass. Bam Margera flew out to meet Tremaine and they agreed on using CKY footage in the new Big Brother video. Later on, Tremaine tapped filmmaker Spike Jonze who was known for directing music videos early on hip hop legends such as The Notorious B.I.G. to start filming Jackass. Bam Margera had friends join in on the cast. Steve-O was a clown (literally) calling to get on Big Brother magazine consistently when he finally got the call to be on a new show, called Jackass. It was an immediate success.
This show was just as entertaining to me as Jackass. I loved it. The show, Wildboyz, gave a look into the human dangers of nature with Steve-O and Chris Pontius. Both were featured on Jackass and you could argue that they did the most extreme stunts out of everyone else on the show. Pontius barely ever showed fear or even reaction to what was happening; it was nuts, and so damn entertaining. The show started in 2003, being a sequel to Jackass, and featured stunts including baiting a great white shark while wearing seal costumes, and getting stung by king scorpions.
These guys were true to the name, they were some wild boys for real. Interestingly enough, the show actually gave some educational information as well. You could learn something by watching the show. It was definitely one of my favorites.
Viva La Bam
When I was in middle school, every day, I would come home and turn on MTV and watch Viva La Bam. I’ve probably seen every episode at least 10 times. Of the 3 shows i’ve discussed in this article, Viva La Bam was my favorite. Bam Margera was the most entertaining, cool, cruel, and charismatic guy on TV during that time. The show followed his real life and family in his Westchester home. As nice as that may sound, this family was not the Kardashians. It was a disaster waiting to happen every single episode of this show. That’s what made it great.
This show was made soon after Wildboyz in 2003. How I see it, this was basically the “CKY” show. There was skateboarding, pranks, family, concerts, just about everything you could think of. It was such a fun environment to watch. He had most of his friends living in one big mansion, where all the chaos would ensue. Somehow, the show was inspiring. Friendship, crazy ideas, it was all really entertaining to watch. By watching this show, you felt like you knew Bam personally; It felt like you were also a part of the family.
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