There's a scene in the Huckleberry Finn novel where the townspeople, believing Huck is dead, fire a series of cannon shots into the river based on the theory that the concussion of the shot would dislodge his body from the river bed. It seems appropriate to mention this, since you could view tonight's MTV Video Music Awards as the blast attempting to drive the bloated, rotting corpse of the "good channel" back to the surface. But no, all we get is the stench of death and despair.
I admit that I didn't see it all, didn't even know it was on, or that Britney Spears' "big comeback" was a part of it, since MTV is about as relevant to the life I live as the infant's department of Walmart. Having said that...JESUS, that was one of the most depressingly inept things I've ever seen on a major channel that wasn't connected to the Adult Swim schedule. The focus was on a badly lit, badly dressed main stage, with random cutaways to snatches of songs played in barely lit hotel suites which nevertheless made it look like the show we didn't see was ten times as fun.
Sarah Silverman's scowl at the end of her unfortunate routine told volumes. This is the shit that will bring the kids back, eh? The Chabad telethon was probably a better time all around.
That brings us to Britney, and busting on her performance would imply that she actually performed, instead of literally walking through the whole production. Her costume designer must be out to get her, since the bra and panties look only served to accentuate her mommy waist and give her a whiff of desperation. They should've talked her into a one-piece.
Still, the Channel In Question smacks of "whiff of desperation" every time I decide to subject myself to it, insisting on itself too much, becoming the televisual equivalent of the guy who thinks drinking himself into an incoherent stupor and making an ass of himself in public makes him "edgy", not a "pain in the ass" or a "candidate for early death". My advice is the same as ever, and will never be heard (let alone followed): burn the channel down for the insurance money. At least after you get The Human Giant out of the neighborhood.
Somebody at the New York Times actually watched it all the way through, so you can go to them for a proper recap.