Bringing Sexy Back to Newscasting: MTV’s The Vice Guide to Everything

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MTV might not be the first place you’d think to go for a segment on Palestinian youth or drugs in Yemen, but the times they are a-changin’.

MTV’s new show The Vice Guide to Everything is an eight-episode Monday night series that premiered two weeks ago — jam-packed with just the kind of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll you’d expect from the network. Except there’s a twist. The sex, you see, stems from a segment on a private strip club in Detroit; the drugs are being trafficked through Yemen; and the rock n’ roll is actually a rave-rap group hailing from South Africa.

The show is an offshoot of Vice magazine which launched in Montreal and has since relocated to Brooklyn, New York. Like the magazine’s previous series, The Vice Guide to Travel, this series takes viewers all over the map — geographically and subject-wise. But unlike the previous show, The Vice Guide to Everything offers tightly focused, newsy subjects that are then custom-edited for the texting generation.

That means segments that are six minutes or shorter.

While the trailer is reminiscent of the standard MTV fare, the show itself offers a lot more substance than one might initially expect.

In one episode, host Shane Smith (Vice magazine’s founder) heads to Rio to explore Vale Tudo street-fighting, and then moves on to South Africa to check out Afrikaans rave-rap group Die Antwoord — MTV-worthy definitely, but also newsworthy. The show is news-driven but with a provocative, irreverent style that will appeal to an MTV crowd.

(Check out the 10 most underreported news stories of 2010)

It’s almost like they’re tricking you into learning something, trading in important stories and issues but packaging the experience to more closely resemble a backpacking road trip with your buddies. If that’s not enough of a draw, Spike Jonze (of Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are fame) is in charge of filming.

Not too shabby.

The show’s been dubbed a cross between 60 Minutes and Jackass, but NewsFeed thinks the finished product is far more entertaining than either show, while still being surprisingly illuminating. If you’re around tonight at 11, The Vice Guide to Everything is certainly worth checking out.

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