This may not be news to you folks with cable, but to “cordcutters” like me (translation: people who watch tv on the internet), seeing this ad for the “new” 120 Minutes in a music periodical came as a half-shock. I was initially excited that anyone even remembered the only MTV show of my youth that showcased well-curated, independent and emerging bands. And super excited to see that in reviving the brand, Viacom also brought back the host of show we grew up with; un-photogenic music nerd Matt Pinfield, who, even in the 90s, seemed like he should have been the friendly clerk at Eugene’s House of Records, not the palest MTV personality this side of Tabitha Soren. However, seeing that theshow now airs on MTV2, at 6 am on Fridays, and that Pinfield came back because he clearly has nothing going (and is probably pushing 50), made me a bit sad about everything.
120 Minutes was like the KCRW of music video in the pre-YouTube, pre-music blog, pre-death of the music industry era. As a middle schooler, you had to stay up til midnight on Sunday nights to watch 120 Minutes, which added to the feeling that this was music for grown-ups. Well, maybe not grown-ups, but cool college students, which is all I wanted to be when I was 14. And the fact that the host, Matt Pinfield was clearly a music expert, who came off like a more genial, Generation X version of Lester Bangs added to appeal. Pinfield singlehandedly introduced a whole generation to good, independent rock and was one more reason why they couldn’t wait to get out of their stupid hometowns.
However, after watching a streaming episode of the new 120 Minutes, I can’t figure out why they brought it back. Pinfield seems uninterested in any of the music, most of which has nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that’s all blog pulled from a handful of indie music blogs. Or not even rock at all. He opens the episode I watched with a (frankly not terrible) live performance video from Santigold. Maybe all along, Pinfield was just reading from the prompter and had nothing to do with the video selection. In the 90s, he could at least fake enthusiasm.
It seems like a waste of a brand/show/personality that me and people my age have such an affection I just have to wonder what was even the point of bring the show back, if they couldn’t turn me into a 14 year old.
You can check out some episodes of the new show here.