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Blasts from the Past, Courtesy of YouTube

YouTube is known for David After Dentist, Charlie Bit Me, and Chocolate Rain. But you can also catch up on random shows from the past that television has long forgotten. 

Just 20 years ago, it wasn’t possible to re-watch a majority of television shows from the past. Only a tiny fraction of old hits were in syndication, there weren’t that many channels, and DVD box sets were nonexistent. But with the advent of YouTube, that all changed. You can watch full episodes (usually broken up into a few videos) of shows that lasted half a season or ended before you even heard of them.

After I wrote about MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals two weeks ago, I went to YouTube to look up old clips, because in some cases I could not remember why the teammates hated each other. While on there, I found a goldmine of old MTV clips, including two short-lived shows that I loved: Rich Girls and Sorority Life.

I don’t know how else I would ever have seen those shows again if it not for YouTube. They were blips on the MTV radar, but I loved them when they came out. Sorority Life came out around my junior or senior year year in high school, and my friends and I would watch with rapt attention, not because we were dying to join a sorority but because we were so excited for college. It followed a group of pledges looking to join an established Jewish sorority at UC Davis, and I know it lasted for two or three seasons. Rich Girls followed Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter, Ally, and her friend Jamie as they traipsed around Manhattan and spent more money in a day than I made last month. It only lasted one season, but I still remember fondly Ally having a breakdown while attempting to make burritos at one of her many vacation homes.

Based on those descriptions, it’s easy to see why these shows would never be re-aired: they’re dated and nobody got into fistfights and brawls, which seems to be standard for MTV reality shows today. But they were still fun, and there’s plenty of room for these fluff fests on YouTube.

What shows would you like to watch on YouTube, or have you already found blasts from the past on there that you’re obsessed with? Also, feel free to just share your favorite little-known YouTube clips that should be famous but aren’t… yet.

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

5 replies on “Blasts from the Past, Courtesy of YouTube”

Oh, I loved Rich Girls, too! Seems like I missed out with Sorority Life, though. *runs to Youtube*. Here’s one that’s a little embarrassing, but what the heck: I think Emma Roberts is brilliant, and from time to time I watch a few eps of the kids’ show she was in, Unfabulous, on Youtube, in which she’s gawky and sweet and makes up silly songs.

Also, my favourite Youtube clip of all time is the one with the cat hugging her kitten. Which I’m sure everyone has seen, but just in case….

(Linking to my Tumblr as I couldn’t work out how to link to it on Youtube. Am not with it today. I might make burritos and have a breakdown later.)

I love that video so, so, SO much! As for Sorority Life, I hope you enjoy it! It definitely does feel like it was filmed in 2000 or whenever it was. It’s not as compelling to me anymore nine years after I graduated from high school, but when I watch it I do think back to that time in my life and how great it was.

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