My interest in music has taught me many things over the past couple decades of my life. It taught me that there’s good music in every genre, that music videos can be a good supplement to a great song, and that Weird Al ages like a fine wine. I mean, just look at the guy! The dude’s nearly 60 and he looks like a man in his late 30s or early 40s! Here’s hoping I look that good when I’m his age!
Regardless, Weird Al Yankovic is a man who needs know introduction. Al has been known for making parodies of popular songs for decades now. His brand of weirdness permeates throughout his parodies, while making them truly entertaining jams to listen to. In some cases, his parodies are event better than the original! A big example of this is “I Lost On Jeopardy”, which is way more popular than the original song by the Greg Kihn Band: “Jeopardy”.
Suffice to say, Weird Al’s material is extremely entertaining. Due to this, it’s only natural he’d get his own TV show! Most people will probably think of “The Weird Al Show”, at least when it comes to shows featuring Al. However, Weird Al also has a series of specials on MTV called “Al TV”.
These 10 episodes were aired sporadically from 1984 to 2006, which is pretty insane when you think about it. It’s crazy to think that even after MTV went off the deep end in terms of quality that they would still make new Al TV specials. To be fair, the later specials definitely had lower budgets.
So what was Al TV exactly? This is something that’s quite hard to describe. Al TV was conceived as a parody of MTV, which had just started around that time. The show was hosted by Weird Al himself and often focused on him making a ton of surreal gags while talking to the audience. Al would also show plenty of music videos, a fair amount of which featured songs made by him.
The early episodes had a lot of music videos from other stars at the time, but they were eventually phased out. I’m glad they did this, since I feel having real music videos in this show takes away from Al’s content. Al does his best work when he’s poking fun at something, rather than just showing something unedited/unchanged.
Each episode of Al TV took songs from a different Weird Al album. The only exception to this were the first two episodes, which were both based off Al’s second album: “In 3-D”. I always liked the idea of basing each episode off a separate album, since it allows for each episode to have its own unique taste.
The episodes also have plenty of skits, several of which are still entertaining to this day. My favorite one has to be a fake sweepstakes put on by Al, which goes by the name of “Lost Weekend”. The gist of it is that you win a trip in a Limo with Al, but neither you nor Al know where you’re going. You end up completely lost, and without money. At least you got to hang out with Weird Al and that’s what really matters here!
In all seriousness, I feel that the jokes on this show were pretty great for the time. They still hold up surprisingly well to this day, even decades after the fact. However, Al TV couldn’t go on forever. We were given the last episode of Al TV in 2006, and it definitely was the weakest one in the series.
A lot of the music videos made for the final episode were from random TV shows that featured Al or videos that were made with relatively small budgets. Heck, some music videos were even made in rudimentary Flash animation! Honestly, I just did not like that last episode much at all.
However, I do have to give props for Weird Al to do this show for over 2 decades. It’s especially surprising when you consider the fact that MTV stopped showing music videos long before this. Seeing a show centered around music on MTV in the mid-2000s was an absolute rarity, so it was nice seeing Al try to bring back the original spirit of the channel even if it didn’t change anything in the long run.
With that being said, what are my thoughts on this show as a whole? I’d say this series of specials is great despite the lackluster final episode. However, watching the series in its entirely can prove to be difficult. Several of the episodes of the series are floating around YouTube, albeit in a heavily edited form. Most of the episodes on YouTube have the music videos edited out of them due to copyright, which is a definite shame. Still, I can highly recommend this series to anyone with even a passing interest in Weird Al Yankovic! If you’re a fan of his brand of weirdness, then I suggest checking this series out ASAP!