Let’s do a quick word-association exercise. “Retro”: old, looking back, revival. “MTV”: music videos, reality shows, Moonman. “Retro MTV”: Beavis And Butt-Head, VJs, R.I.P. Ken Ober.
Anyone get “The Hills reruns” for the last prompt? MTV’s certainly hoping so: In July, the network will fill its morning hours with the full run of the Lauren Conrad vehicle, as part of its new Retro Mania bloc, a strange vision of a future where pop-culture junkies open “’00s-style” diners covered in Heidi Montag-related printouts from TMZ. While more pedantic viewers will take issue with MTV casting a nostalgic hue on a show that ended its run less than two years ago—in addition to the show that spawned it, pioneering “Rich teens’ lives are just as boring as yours” series Laguna Beach—those same pedants will be delighted to know that Retro Mania includes at least one legitimately vintage program from the Music Television vaults: Daria. Not that anyone who enjoyed the caustic wit of that animated series during its first run will have the spare time to visit Lawndale during the hours between 9 a.m. and noon on an early August day—Daria would be seriously disappointed in you if you grew up to be that lazy. These reruns are for the children, the ones on summer vacation and therefore have the time to resent the casts of Laguna Beach and The Hills before discovering Daria and thinking, “Finally, someone gets it. But what the hell happened to the bottom of Quinn’s shirt?” Now that’s retro, theoretical viewer/future A.V. Club reader.