Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Maybe we buy the scene if West, a notorious bad loser, had lost to Swift, which, of course, he hadn't. Or if West isn't smart and savvy, which, of course, he is. Or, most of all, if we weren't already suspicious of the VMAs, which—ding! ding! ding!—we are.
Let's think about this. Conspiratorially.
The VMAs have been around for 25 years. In that time, Madonna has lolled around in a white wedding dress, Andrew Dice Clay, whoever he was, has told R-rated nursery rhymes, RuPaul has accused Milton Berle of wearing diapers, Diana Ross has fondled Lil' Kim's breast, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee have fought over Pamela Anderson's honor, Britney Spears has opened the show with a trainwreck performance, and, now, West has hijacked a special moment from the young Miss Swift.
Gee, but that sure is a long list of notorious moments, especially considering we shouldn't have included Madonna's bridal-gown limbo (clearly, Madonna just being Madonna), didn't include Madonna's lip-lock with Spears and Christina Applegate (clearly, Madonna just being Madonna—some more), omitted Michael Jackon's clinch with Lisa Marie Presley out of respect for the deceased (and the fact we still have no idea what was up with that couple), and, for the sake of brevity, declined to mention other assorted foul-ups, bleeps and boa-snake blunders.
The VMAs lend themselves to craziness, you say? The show caters to creative types (read: temperamental weirdos), you say? These things happen, you say?
Combined, the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys have been around for about 200 years. And, despite the wealth of "creative types" who have walked their red carpets, how many viral moments do these shows have to show for themselves: A streaker here? A Bret Michaels head-bonking there?
According to our suspicious mind, there is only one explanation for the VMAs being so VMA-y, and the explanation goes a lot like how Eminem came to be "enraged" by Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno at the MTV Movie Awards: It's all scripted, baby!
Honestly, we don't know how the VMA writers do it. The Spears "Gimme More" stunt must have taken years of plotting—the breakdown! the haircut!—all designed to make the singer seem as out of it as possible so that she could deliver a culminating performance that was, yes, as out of it as possible.
We don't mean to suggest every VMA stunt is so elaborate. In fact, we figure the West bit was a spur-of-the-moment thing—perhaps an idea that came to a producer during a fearfully slow, Nielsen-challenged stretch of the show. ("Go ask, Kanye! He'll do it! He'll do anything!")
Oh, did we mention how Sunday night's show did? Largest TV audience in five years.
Now, don't ask us how or why people tuned in to see something that they didn't know beforehand they were going to see. We haven't figured that part out. One convention-smashing thing at a time!
Music-industry veteran Al Masocco—he's worked at major labels and a top management firm—assures us there's no way the VMAs, in general, are scripted, or that the West incident, specifically, was planned. Certainly, not by the network. Says Masocco: "I can't imagine that somebody from MTV would go up to this person and say, 'Would you like to commit public suicide?"
But then how to explain the VMAs being so VMA-y?
"I think the MTV awards have always been looser. It's more artist driven. It's got a little bit more of that James Dean attitude," says Masocco, adding of the West moment, "Still there's no excuse for it…I think people grab headlines because they can grab headlines."
Well, we suppose that does sound a bit like a certain rapper…