In its heyday, TRL was the defining moment of the day for all us pop princess and would-be hiphop heroes. We didn't have to be on the streets of New York City below the studio, screaming up at the Backstreet Boys, NSync or Eminem. We could watch from across the country and feel like we were there, believing ourselves to be young and carefree, just months before the attack on the Twin Towers.
Carson Daly was the man. Snarky and too smart for his own good, he defied the latter by getting engaged to Tara Reid, then after their famous breakup in June of 2001, he was forced to welcome her to TRL along with the rest of the cast from 'American Pie 2.' It was moments like these that kept us watching.
As someone far past her school days, I was forced to tape the show every day and watch it back later. Why was I so fascinated? After a decade of dealing with sick parents (who had both passed on by the time I rediscovered the Top 40) and moving up the 'corporate ladder,' I was ready to relax and have fun again.
And it was fun. Those spring break specials! Those summertime beach locations. Those memorable appearances--like the infamous meltdown of Mariah Carey and her "ice cream for everyone." And, oh yeah, the countdown. We loved the countdown.
Everything changed after Sept. 11. MTV went dark for a day or so, and when TRL reconvened to supposedly help a stunned (young) America cope, it was strained and strange. Carson Daly moved on shortly after. And, for me, that was the end of my Year of Living Foolishly. I still tuned in from time to time, but the pop music I loved had lost its foothold on the music scene and the show seemed more inane than innate.
But, man, it was fun while it lasted!