Sunday, September 13, 2009

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards

Welcome to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. We'll be recapping the event live as it happens!

Keep in mind, during commercials, we'll be having a Texas Tornado Iron Man Tables Ladders and Chairs deathmatch between two of the most overplayed commercials on MTV today: commercials for the new season of the Hills and the commercials for Rockband: the Beatles. Whoever is played more tonight is the winner of this fake award I just made up, which holds just about as much esteem as any award given out tonight.

Madonna is here to pump up the audience... by harping on Michael Jackson never having a childhood. Awkward doesn't begin to describe the feeling in the room as Joe Jackson is sitting near the front as a guest of honor. We know what Madonna is saying is true and heart wrenching because Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz is almost crying. He better not, that'll completely screw up his eyeliner.

Madonna proceeds to read off the teleprompter a deep and personal story about the first time she went out with Michael Jackson with the pose of a Danielle Steele romance novel. The audience of celebrities is hanging on her every word, which only makes her fake British accent come out even more.

Somehow, she actually gets to mention the child molestation witch hunts to a now stunned audience. Whatever she says now, just imagine how hard Russell Brand will have to work with his monologue when this is over. He's going to have to think up so many euphemisms for his own penis and funny metaphors for sex to bring a smile to this audience.

Cue the Michael Jackson tribute, which consists mainly of dancers dressed in various era Michael Jackson garb dancing to Michael Jackson videos. In the audience, you can almost hear the cash register crash in Joe Jackson's mind as he realizes people would pay to see this on Broadway. I do feel bad for those who are forced to dress like Black and White/Dangerous-era Jacko, though, as everyone else gets satin and sequins and they get a white shirt.

Janet then jumps onstage to sing along with Scream, and apparently she takes the point of the song way too literally and screams in a guttural yell usually only reserved for Cradle of Filth music videos. But even if she's screaming and off-key, it proves that she's singing here live, something she has yet to do at any other VMA ever.

Except to see "A Father's Tribute To His Son: The King of Pop" open up on Broadway before the end of the week.

We officially open the show with a very heavy industrial beat and Katy Perry singing "We Will Rock You" somehow. Talk about a jarring cut from a heartfelt tribute to a fallen brother by his sister... But it does give us Joe Perry playing Queen on lead guitar, and he needs something to do now that his lead singer can't seem to keep from falling off stages. I guess Singing For Aerosmith Is So Hard On The Knees. This is, of course, all a grand entrance for Russell Brand as we get a big lit billboard for his name and flames onstage the likes of which make the surviving members of Great White pee themselves a little.

Let's see how long it takes for Russell to get himself bleeped out by the censors over a Michael Jackson joke. He starts with a joke about Katy Perry's vagina, just like Michael Jackson would have wanted. He then changes topics so fast to avoid being kicked off the air that you'd think I accidentally changed the channel.

How did Jimmy Fallon get a ticket to this? Could I have been invited if I only asked?

And we get our first bleep of the night, as Russell Brand kisses Lady Gaga's ass over the recent hermaphrodite rumors. And we've got our first nickname for his own penis of the night! Tonight it's "Sack of Magic And Wand."

By the law of averages, 45% of his monologue was bleeped.

And your winner for Best Female Video of the Year is Taylor Swift, proving that wearing George Burns' glasses truly means you are playing a character that is totally not just yourself in George Burns' glasses.

Kanye West just bum rushes the stage to bitch about Beyonce not winning. Proving that his temper tantrums tonight will not be limited to his own videos or music. The audience actually boos him and Taylor Swift looks like West just took a running kick to her crotch. The producers, ever the gentlemen, respond by awkwardly cutting to a Best New Artist skit. That truly was a tribute to Sour Grapes the world over. Expect Kanye West to be the 4th Fanta Fantana Dancer, as Kanye "Sour Grapes" West. Expect Kanye to jump the stage and yell at you after ever award and he demands to know why his friends didn't win instead.

When you think about it, which pick should have won: a black and white video that features 3 women dancing in leotards only without any real innovation or new imagery or a video where a blond singer puts on a black wig to pretend to play the evil girl who hates her? The answer is neither, Lady Gaga should have won so we could sit through her acceptance speech and explanation for why half her face appears to be melting.

For the record: this show is already 1/5th over and we only have had enough time for 1 award to be given out and 1 temper tantrum from Kanye. They better speed these things up if they want to get all of Kanye's irate outbursts in their time slot.

Somehow, Russell Brand is finding a way to get half of his cry for peace and love bleeped by the censored.

Jack Black is here doing his damnedest to promote Brutal Legend, a video game you all should be pre-ordering instead of watching this. Apparently the concept of video game is above Russell Brand as he describes it as a "computer video game thingie with pictures and music and stuff and moving things and a bunny." Jack in full Brutal Legend costume is here with that Gossip Girl from Good Girls Gone Bad to give us Best Rock Video. Sadly, it does defeat the purpose of having Jack Black there if the first video nominee shown is Coldplay and it only gets pussier from there.

And Best Rock Video goes to Green Day, as MTV feverishly tries to build them as the next U2 or Beatles because Bono is getting old and they are tired of paying royalty checks to Yoko Ono. Also, I'm sure their win has nothing to do with the fact that they are the only nominee that are scheduled to perform tonight. No siree, Bob. You can sense the fear of any award winner tonight that Kanye is mere feet away from jumping the stage and interrupting their speech.

Up next, is iCarly with that 15 year old Man of the Evening we heard about during the pre-show who is apparently a singer or something as they are here to introduce Taylor Swift performing live. She's coming to us live from the subways of New York, which is odd since her stage parents and handlers usually don't let her anywhere near where poor people might congregate. She continues to sing the new anthem of the next American Civil War: People who wear Short Skirts and People who wear T-shirts, choose your side and pick up an AK-47. We've been living together in clothes-related peace for too long. It's time to make this country safe to wear short skirts for all!

Her performance is exactly what you'd expect it to be, her surrounded by models and extras hired to pretend like they care about the song when they really just want air-time. They gave her at least 4 different chances to fall down a flight of stairs on live television to make a historical moment, and she failed that.

Kanye West jumps on camera at the end of her performance to say her song is bad and she should feel bad and Beyonce should be performing instead. We cut to commercial as MTV officials lead Kanye off to the Klonopin tent, explaining that Beyonce is performing later.

Sadly, commercials for the City do not count as commercials for the Hills in tonight's commercial deathmatch. I only created this battle of the advertisements, I did not create the rules.

Ironically, they bleep out the word "Hoe" at least 30 times during 3OH!3's 30 second performance but they somehow get Pete Wentz past the censors. He's here with his own personal pet, the guy from Cobra Starship, as they introduce Lady Gaga performing as we all play pretend that she actually fell off the roof on a chandelier. Bonus points to MTV for not telling the presenters what would happen, as Fall Out Boy and Cobra Starship literally looked scared as they ran offstage.

Lady Gaga, more than just pretending to die a tragic death by falling tonight, is also here to dispel the rumor that she has a penis. She does so by wearing a leotard so tie you could probably throw a certs from the audience and she could catch it with her cameltoe.

And now her breasts appear to be menstruating. It's funny how much of this performance is going over the heads of the celebrities they are cutting to when it's really not that deep at all. So far it's the best performance of the night by the sheer benefit of not being Taylor Swift or a tribute to Michael Jackson. You depend on how proud the Gaga should feel for earning that title from me.

And we have a Hills commercial! That means it's Hills 1, Beatles 0 in tonight's Viacom-approved Commercial Texas Tornado Tables Ladders and Chairs Cage match. Pop culture as a whole already weeps at that last statement.

Russell Brand is here to verbally rape Megan Fox to appear to be heterosexual. Of course as he talks about drugging and sexing up Megan, they cut to a reaction shot of Katy Perry, because Megan Fox is such an overblown bitch that even MTV has decided to join the media boycott on her.

For some reason, there are 40,000 cobras released into the audience as Kristin Cavallari and Nelli Furtado introduce the nominees for best pop video. Either that or the entire audience decided to hiss for some reason. Since this is an award dominated by female nominations, expect Kanye to throw another temper tantrum in mere seconds.

And your winner for Best Pop Video is... Britney Spears. My god, Kanye's head just exploded. Britney couldn't be there tonight, so she accepts the Moon Man from satellite and the audience boos that. This audience is on a hair trigger tonight and will turn on anyone or anything.

Yay, the Media Boycott of Megan Fox has been lifted... either that or a blow up doll has been thrown onstage, as she introduces Green Day with some other guy I couldn't be bothered to recognize. They are here to introduce Green Day, who won an award for Best Rock Video earlier not at all because they are performing right now. Noooooope, that was completely unrelated. *cough*

Ladies and gentlemen, apparently Billie Joe Armstrong was in a bleach fight earlier today judging by his hair and yet he is still here to perform for each and every one of us. That's showmanship.

Green Day then decides to invite the audience up onstage, which would have been a perfect time for Kanye West to join in. Too bad he's being locked up in Sway's hat to avoid any future outbursts. Somehow the entire performance becomes a weird mimic of how the band would sound if played by mediocre Rockband players, complete with white noise and dropping the instruments after the song is done. Even by Green Day standards, the entire performance seemed to be lacki... LET'S HEAR IT NEW YORK CITY!

30 Helens Agree: the performances we keep getting cut into and from as commercial bumpers are better than the ones we were forced to sit through tonight.

The cast of Twilight Saga: New Moon are out to prove yet again that tonight is less about music and more about promoting this stupid movie to teenage girls. Case in point, they are using Video Music Awards time to air a trailer for New Moon. Which is a commercial in the traditional sense. A commercial for something that is not even in the least bit music based. Where is Kanye West to bitch out this bullshit?

Now to recap the New Moon trailer: Gay. Gay. Sparkles. Gay. Drama. Gay. Gay. Gay. Drama. More Drama. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Gay.

The audience responds in kind to the trailer by yawning. These celebrities cannot be bothered to care tonight.

Ne-yo and some white guy are here now to introduce another performance, this time by Beyonce. Somewhere Kanye West is finally content in his heart of hearts and can stop trying to bite the handcuffs off his wrists. To show how innovative her music is, Beyonce is apparently performing from within a showing of Laser Floyd tonight. That quickly ends as Beyonce performs Single Ladies doing the exact same dance for the 800th time on TV. They respond by cutting to Katy Perry yet again for her response, which appears to be schoolgirl giddiness. One of the single ladies dancing onstage just might be Lunell from Borat... That or Sisquo in drag.

Tonight's Beyonce performance has been brought to you by Nair leg wax, nipple tape, and A-DAT backing vocal playback machines apparently, as she just gives up and doesn't even attempt to fake singing during the chorus.

P-Diddy and Meadow Soprano are here to announce the winner for Best Rap Video. P Diddy, by law of teleprompter, has to say Kanye's name and the crowd suddenly turns into Wrestlemania and starts booing wildly and cheering "Taylor Taylor." One must question if maybe Kanye has tantrum'd once too much here.

Dear God: Please let Kanye win this award somehow.

The crowd even boo his part of the nominee package. NEVER piss off Radio City Music Hall.

Oh thank god, TI won the award but he couldn't be here because he's in jail. If Kanye would have won, Radio City Music Hall would have literally collapsed onto him in a self-made ego black hole mixed with audience hatred.

Up next, a band almost no one in the audience has ever heard of performs at a level at least 3 steps higher than any other performer could reach tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, let's sit back and enjoy Muse.

Notice Muse doesn't have to keep yelling "Let's hear it New York" because the lead singer can remember his own lyrics. During a night where people are having problems playing just one instrument, Muse easily has the performance of the night because the lead singer is singing, playing guitar, and keyboards at the same time. Too bad no one will remember who they were come tomorrow when temper tantrums and Twilight take over most of the media coverage of this event.

And we finally have a Beatles sighting! That brings our Texas Tornado Tables Ladders and Chairs Cage Match to the Hills 1 and the Beatles 1. It's a dead tie! Made even more dead since half of one side is George Harrelson and John Lennon.

MTV proves why they are a Music Channel first and foremost by cutting away from Muse continuing to tear the house down to show commercials for Taco Bell.

We come back from commercial with the All-American Rejects performing "Gives You Hell" and introducing their brand new lead singer: Nathan Dayspring Summers. Someone find the cure for the All American Rejects Techno-Organic Virus today!

Jennifer Lopez is here to present Best Hip Hop Video, which is apparently different from Best Rap Video because they say so. Either way, it's another Moon Man for Kanye to not win!

Completely unrelated: If you exist, God, please let Kanye win!

Thankfully Eminem was able to interrupt his busy schedule of fucking the reader up the ass on the last page of the Wanted Graphic Novel to accept his award tonight.

Kid Cudi is out to perform his new song, which features Kanye West, in tribute of DJ AM. Will Kanye show up to perform, too? And will the crowd boo during a tribute? Of course not, we have important commercials to get to.

We cut away from the very important commercials to have a recap of just how historic this night has been by the gay guy MTV hired to fill in for Perez Hilton because he costs too much. He tells us to do something that I ignore because his gushing about Madonna made me throw up in my mouth a little.

For a host, Russell Brand has barely been on tonight and what little time he has been on has been bleeped out. However, he does get time to call Traci Morgan a "Great Comedy Legend," proving why real stand up comedians hate Russell Brand. Morgan and Eminem are out to announce the winner of Best New Artist.

And the audience wins, because Best New Artist is Lady Gaga. This should be a fun acceptance speech. For some reason they bleep out "Moon Man," me thinks something is getting a little trigger happy on the killswitch tonight because of Brand. They also almost bleeped out "Fans." She says her award is for "God and for the Gays" which I'm sure won't be overblown and picked apart by Fox News tomorrow.

Hey, did you know Pink has played over 400 sold out "shorts" in the last few years? According to her introduction she has! And here she is to perform Sober, which might be one of the most painfully morose songs of the year. Lyrics were provided by a 9th grade goth's poetry diary.

Keep in mind, a decade ago Lil' Kim wore nothing but a pasty on a breast onstage. Pink has to cheat and wear a nude body skirt with a fake pasty on it while doing Trapeze routines a retarded clown could float through with ease.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Hills 2/Beatles 1. We all should be ashamed for ourselves.

Oh thank god, there's another Beatles ad. We're back to a tie, 2 for 2 in the Cage Match Viacom-Approved Commercial Deathmatch!

Tonight's VMAs are brought to you by Hyperbole apparently, as Jimmy Fallon is introduced as "This Generation's David Letterman." He's here with Andy Whatshisface to introduce Video of the Year and they break out into Boyz II Men, which Beyonce joins from the crowd in what might be the only entertaining thing she has ever done. The crowd is still deathly against Kanye during the nominee package.

Your Video of the Year: Beyonce. Proving that they gave the earlier award to Taylor because they knew Beyonce would get hers at the end. Beyonce actually makes up for Kanye's douchebaggery and brings Taylor out to share the Video of the Year spotlight with her in an incredible show of good sportsmanship. God damn you, Kanye, making me respect Beyonce. Beyonce stands back and Taylor gives the acceptance speech Kanye interrupted earlier and she actually looks happy to share the stage with Taylor. I'll say this: this makes Taylor and Beyonce look like the real winners while Kanye gets boos and absolutely no awards, as it should be. Maybe the twitter and myspace generation will continue this backlash and Kanye will be forced to take de-douchifying classes.

With that said, please let Jay-Z perform "Run This Town" with Rhianna and Kanye. Just to see Kanye get boo'd offstage.

Tonight will live in the annuals of history as the night Kanye west picked on a teenage girl and killed his career. That's the only memorable thing to happen this entire show next to Lady Gaga's breasts having their period onstage.

In the ultimate tribute to New York, Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes' performance will end when a 747 flies into it.

For the record, yes, Jay-Z just rhymed Bob Marley with Bob Marley. He couldn't even pull out a Marley and Me reference? And this is closing the show?

I give you the lyrics to Jay-Z's next hit single: "G-Spot rocks the G-Spot." First rhyming chose Bubba Sparxxx and now it chose him!

It's kind of ironic that this year's VMAs end with the continued exploitation of a corpse that MTV itself exploited for every penny when it was still alive. But really folks, go see This Is It live in Real3D for two weeks only next month! Do it now and reward Joe Jackson for his lifetime of child abuse that eventually led to Michael's death.

For the first time in years, the VMAs actually end on time, most likely because Kanye West bought them 5 minutes by cutting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech short.

All in all, we ended with a dead tie between the Beatles and the Hills, showing how cultural bankrupt people who used to like Kanye West are somehow. And if watching TV is supposed to yield learning and education, we all learned that yelling at an 18 year old girl with millions of internet savvy fans might not be the best idea for one's career.

The 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow

Ladies and gentlemen, pop culture junkies and multimedia whores, I'm here yet again for what seems like the 15th year in a row to bring you a live recap of the MTV VMAs as they were meant to be broughten: full of snark and with absolutely no respect nor admiration to the performers contained within.

First to lay down the general ground rules that we will be playing by tonight: our live recap will be updated every commercial break, so you can check out the television room and then come hit refresh during the most likely neverending ads for Taco Bell. Every half hour or such I will be updating my twitter page with a general overview of what we've discussed thus far right here.

Much like last year, we will have a commercial Texas Tornado Cage Match With Tables. Now last year's epic battle between and Taco Bell failed to be both a battle nor epic, but I brought out my monkey wench and fixed that for 2009. This year we present a death match the likes of which has never been seen so far this year:

The Hills vs. Rockband: Beatles

Obviously since MTV and Viacom have a stake in both of these combatants, I imagine we'll be seeing a much closer race this year in the numbers of annoying commercials played.

Much like prior years, it appears they put anyone with any kind of live show production experience on the VMAs themselves and let the children of cameramen and interns produce the preshow. All the awkward transitions and dead air of a college radio station without having to listen to Bob Marley!

Sway and his hat show us some live footage of Lady Gaga arriving at Radio City Music Hall while mentioning she brought with her a very special guest... without ever showing us the guest. Good work, Sway's hat.

Apparently this year MTV went to the utmost and foremost authority on high fashion: some girl from Twilight with zero interview experience who stole her dress and make-up from an extra in the Thriller video. Her first interview of the night happens to be with the least fashion forward people in the room, Green Day, and yet she still proceeds to ask them what they are wearing. They proceed to ignore her and stare at the camera with just enough enthusiasm to pretend they care.

Much like every other cable station this year, the theme seems to be twitter, so MTV has iJustine over the marquee of Radio City Music Hall in front of a TV screen that doesn't display any text from tweets, but she assures us that this technology is really great and it'll change the world forever.

Another awkward segue back to Sway as he literally sexually assaults Shakira during their interview. She responds with a smile and a look in her eyes that says "Where is my restraining order" as he admits to masturbating to her furiously in her latest video. She quickly runs away, so Sway is left to cry alone.

Finally we see who Lady Gaga arrived with... Kermit the Frog! And during an interview with both of them, Lady repeatedly makes jokes about having sex with the hand puppet and Kermit tries desperately to keep everything G-rated but fails almost as miserably as Sway did at hitting on Shakira. Vegas odds on what Lady Gaga is on? Xanax is at 2-1, Vicodin 5-1, and Oxycontin is even odds.

Whatever Lady Gaga is on, she's sharing it with Twilight Thriller Zombie Fashionista Girl, as she mumbles her way through an interview with her own movie co-star. He sheepishly admits that he has no clue who is performing tonight, so she rattles off a list of anyone she might have heard mentioned in the last 5 minutes, proving that a parrot could have done her job just as well.

Sway is with Buzz Aldrin to give us the award for Best Breakthrough Video, but instead they do a comedy bit about peeing on the wood. Check out Sway and Buzz Aldrin and Sway's Hat this fall on the Vaudeville stage. Sway them kindly reminds Buzz that he's there to read off the nominees for Breakthrough Video, but Buzz is distracted by the award itself. He breaks the cardinal rule and asks Sway what it's made of, followed by guessing "Aluminum?" Sway, embarrassed that Buzz guessed it right instantly, smiles and says, "No way, platinum!" Then he holds Buzz at gunpoint as Buzz fumbles his way through a list of bands and songs he never heard of. In his mind, the Best Breakthrough Video of this year was obviously Frank Sinatra's "Ain't It A Kick In The Head."

And your winner for Breakthrough Video: Matt and Kim's Lessons Learned. Fans of fake nudity and streaking through Times Square are going crazy right now! It should be noted that none of the nominees for this award were ever played on MTV.

It's at this point in the pre-show that I realize I'm being way more awake/verbose/excited about this event than Twilight Thriller Zombie Girl as she could barely stay awake long enough to read a teleprompter about some kind of "airband" contest winners brought to you by Sears. What did they win? They won the rights to jump around like idiots on the red carpet earlier today when the only other people there were the carpenters setting it up. Great prize for the children, Sears and MTV! You could have at least let them pet Sway's hat.

And we are back with MTV's British correspondent as Taylor Swift arrives in a horse drawn princess carriage, making sure all creepy pedophiles of the world can still pretend she's not 18 yet. Once again, the hosts only seem to want to talk about other people with their interviewees, so the British guy seems to be enamored with Kermit the Frog and Lady Gaga, which generally seems to please Taylor since she doesn't have to think too hard to answer any of these questions.

Did you know V-Cast by Verizon Wireless is all over the backstage area? And they are giving us crappy camera phone footage of girls screaming! Wow, it's like seeing the worst of YouTube, brought to you by Verizon.

Apparently the man of the evening is some 15 year old I never heard of, and he's here tonight with P Diddy! A girl won some kind of contest to get a shout out from random teenybopper and he proves that he has that starmaking charisma by completely forgetting the girls name. So I'd like to step in and give a shout out to this boy's manager, for forcing him into dancing and singing classes all those times he could have been learning how to read.

P Diddy steps in to salvage to interview by saying we all must "keep our legacy alive" when asked about Michael Jackson. In a rare moment of clarity, he realized what he said was fully retarded and corrects himself, creating a singularity of improbability so big it wiped out most of the east coast.

Remember past years where the VMA preshow would be full of fun performances by bands or singers that are just not quite primetime level, such as Beck or maybe the Foo Fighters? Well apparently the fun and excitement of seeing tomorrow's A-list bands perform today just wasn't fun enough. You know what's real fun? Watching Sway attempt to act like he knows who Kristin Cavallari from the Hills is! He fumbles through some awkward commercial-esque questions about her getting along with Audrina Partridge, who you would know as the star of the next #1 movie in America and next year's Best Movie Oscar Winner, Sorority Row. She keeps going on about how she's not the reason Audrina isn't there, with just as many if not more double negatives than I just used, even though no one said she was. Sway then shows he has been paying attention to what she's been saying by asking her who will win Best Rap Video. Sway's Hat really has to sue for custody of Sway's brain, because it's obvious Sway's just letting it go to waste.

Apparently Sway is a big fan of the movie Fame. Did you know that? Well apparently everyone does, because he flops that personal fact out on the poker table like it's common knowledge. He's now with the cast of the new movie Fame, who are here to bring us their music video for their modern remake of the Fame theme. Yes, it's as painful as you think it might be, complete with a new rap breakdown and the white castmates attempting to dance. You don't topple the box office juggernaut that is Sorority Row with a rap breakdown and awkward cracker dancing, Fame! Try harder and enjoy being #2 in the theaters behind what is sure to be the next Citizen Kane.

We are back from commercial with Jermaine Jackson. He promises us a big tribute to his brother tonight featuring Chris Brown, Mary J Blige, Sister Sledge, Whitney Houston, the cast of Toy Story, the last 3 Popes (both living and deceased), and Chewbacca. The British correspondent has to remind him that it appears only his sister Janet will be performing, to which Jermaine silently weeps into his lawyer's breast.

Hey, remember Fefe Dobson? You are not alone in not. She's inside the VMAs and went out clothes shopping with the lesbian not-winner from that previous season of America's Next Top Model. They choose 3 options and let the fans pick which one she will be wearing as she fills a seat tonight... and she decided to wear something else anyways. Good work, Fefe. Alienate the 4 people who remember how great that one song from you was.

Twitter is making our world a better place by pointing out that Pink and Shakira are wearing the same dress tonight. OMG, Y'ALL, CATFIGHT UP IN 'ERE.

Hey guys, Jennifer Lopez is still relevant enough to get a ticket to this show! Sadly, she is not relevant enough to be interviewed by anyone but Twilight Thriller Zombie Girl, who could not be more bored by the entire thing. Jennifer Lopez hypes her new album without giving any kind of specific release date as she apparently wears a satin bedskirt as a dress.

Remember when it was announced that Justin Bieber was the 15 Year Old Man Of The House less than a half hour ago? Well, it was a short hour apparently, because now Joe "My Son Is Dead, Where's My Paycheck" Jackson is the REAL man of the hour. He's setting the town on fire tonight by... uh... sitting in a seat watching his blackberry for emails from his accountant. Stay classy, Joe Jackson.

This is the last commercial break before the big show, folks, so strap it down or go hit up the bathroom NOW. Fun fact: this has been going on for 55 minutes and they only gave out one award. A subtle metaphor for how much MTV cares about music videos? Yes!

Hey, remember 5 minutes ago when Joe Jackson was named Man of the Hour and some 15 year old "singer" was named man of the night? Well Beyonce is apparently the Woman of the Evening. It's nice that those writing classes seem to be working for those writing the teleprompters tonight. The high point of Beyonce's interview is her bodyguard accidentally trying to get the camera man thrown out. Nothing else of interest was said or happened. I think I sense a theme occurring here.

Sway is here to give us the winner of "Video that should have Won A Moon Man" where MTV tries to make up for snubbing a truly great video of the past. He hurriedly skips over the nominees and just gives the award to Beastie Boys' Sabotage. I'm sorry to report that an MTV Moon Man can cause throat cancer, so maybe it's best that the Beastie Boys never receive this prestigious and contagious award.

Well folks, now they are killing time until the clock strikes 9. So it's time to move over to the big show!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bomberman 2 (Nintendo DS)

Game: Hudson Soft
System: Nintendo DS
Online: Wi-Fi and Single Cart Multiplayer
Release Date: Currently available in Europe, no US release planned

Hudson Soft is once again playing the continents against each other like some kind of creepy 80s cartoon villain.

With the Nintendo DS system, Hudson has taken a weird regional approach to Bomberman, their perennial mascot and flagship title. In the United States, we've seen the release of the Bomberman Land Touched games, a series of confused submissions that can't tell if they want to be an RPG or a nostalgic Bomberman trip of the past. However, in Japan, Hudson has started the Custom Battler Bomberman series, featuring RPG leveling and the ability to collect and arm your man of explosives however you want. Luckily for those who can't read Japanese, they have also translated and brought this game over to Europe for importing.

Like its original name implies, this version of Bomberman is more battle-centric than games past. Taking inspiration from the Mega Man NT series, you log into the Bomberman system at the beginning of the game and travel to different levels of the programming in a very cyberpunk or virtual reality-influenced fashion.

In Battle Mode you can set up simple, classic Bomberman matches against both humans (whether in the same room as you or over the DS Wi-Fi) or Bots. Do you sometimes regret that online ranking systems only grade you based on if you won or not? Thankfully, Bomberman 2's battle mode ranking system takes into effect how many kills you got during the battle or how long you lasted, too, so the person who ducks around getting the last kill isn't necessarily the highest ranked. In a game like Bomberman 2 that can easily take over two screens of action, that's a godsend.

Mission mode is the real meat and potatoes of Bomberman 2. You'll find various themed worlds, each with 10 levels to beat each. There's the standard factory, deserts, all the old Bomberman favorites make a return. Each world also has their own gimmick, whether it be teleporting pads, conveyor belts, or magnets that draw bombs a specific way. Each stage is made up of a handful of sub-missions that flow from one room to the next. In one such stage, you might have to kill all enemies in the first room, blow up red or blue energy orbs in the next, find a keycard by blowing up blocks in the next, or finishing it all up by destroying targets with a set amount of bombs or time. In each world there are also a battle-specific level and a mega sized boss end level. The battle-specific level plays out like the Battle Mode does against bots, with you having to win against 3 computer controlled characters in a set amount of time. The end boss levels bring back memories of the classic NES Bomberman entries or even Blaster Master as you face off against an enemy that can take up nearly half the screen with only your trust bombs.

Throughout almost all stages, you can find new helmet, torsos, gloves, and boots underneath blocks. The amount of parts found in each stage if displayed on the level select by stars. Obviously the customization is a big selling part of Bomberman 2 and does play a great part in the missions themselves. However, the game does suffer a bit of MMORPG-loot-isms. While having many options is always better than no options, you will find yourself wearing a weird looking mish-mash of different costumes so you can get the most attributes and special abilities. I played most of my game wearing parts I found in the second level just so I can have the ability to pick up and throw bombs. Also, the parts themselves are all well designed, but do lack a bit of the weird Japanese kitsch the recent Xbox Live Arcade or Wii versions have had. While it's nice to see serious Bomberman costume choices, it would have been extra nice if we also got attribute-less costumes for battle mode such as the Ninjas, Clowns, Robots, Pirates, and more found in other system games.

With Bomberman 2, Hudson Soft has gone out of their way to provide the ultimate Bomberman experience. This does mean that almost all DS specific features have been used sparingly, though. The dual screen is used only to display your current statistics and the mission text in mission mode. Touchscreen use is minimal at best. And thankfully Hudson Soft has not forced its users to use the microphone. Battle-mode can feature battles that span both screens, though, and these are often the most frantic.

Bomberman 2 is a great love letter for people who grew up on trying to block your friends against a rock and an exploding place. While prior versions have offered precious little for their asking price, with Bomberman 2, you get a fully functioning classic Bomberman in battle-mode and an almost RPG-centric Bomberman experience in mission-mode. Anyone who loves Bomberman and felt left out in the cold by the recent US releases can safely import this game from their favorite video game dealer overseas knowing there is something for everyone here.