Do you feel that tingly spark in the air today, especially as you near Times Square? It's because Total Request Live, MTV's long-running afterschool music video special is coming to an end after ten years, signing off on Sunday with a special big send-off bash. Yes, one of the last remaining programs on the cable net to still air videos (albeit at truncated lengths and often interrupted by shrieking teenagers) will be no more, ceding like everything else to the Date My Moms and Hills of the world. Ironic, because in some ways, actually, the top 10 videos of the day countdown show helped create the new MTV landscape that eventually came to usurp it. The draw of TRL was never really the actual videos. It was the spectacle view of dizzying Times Square, the live-ness, the celebrity appearances, the affable and comfortably hip hosts (Carson Daly! And, um, Jesse Camp! And that girl from One Tree Hill!) It was really about the lifestyle of liking music, the thrill of just being thrilled, the ecstasy and immediacy and bittersweet fever dances of being a kid and out of school and having stumbled upon this great big infinite thing called Personality (I like this song—I am rock! You like that video—you are pop!). That celebration of the culture of music, rather than the music itself, has spilled over into the network's current top hits, like The Hills. That particular reality dollop of non-fat Cool Whip expertly employs the hit songs of tomorrow to evoke, along with the swirling cameras, a soaring and sprawling range of feelings. Like music usually is in real life, music on MTV now serves as the illustrative background to the people dating and getting made and dancing and competing and existing in the fore. And we've TRL to blame/thank for that—for adding a bit of shape to the world as it's seen through the MTV lens. It said "here we are, set at on all sides by movies and television and pretty people and hormones, and here, in brief, is the soundtrack to accompany all of it. And you chose it." And those huge picture windows overlooking the crowds and lights and glitz, through which we could look out and others could look in! A glass case of emotion! !!! Click to view

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