“Hi. My name is ______. Welcome to my crib.” These short phrases are how every episode of MTV Cribs begins while they walk outside their front door to “greet” viewers. Having celebrities “greet” viewers at their front door makes viewers feel like they are guests, going exclusively into homes as if they were personally invited. No matter what makes these celebrities famous, viewers can always rely on the consistency of the layout for every show. MTV Cribs aired its first show in 2000. Although the show has stopped creating new episodes, reruns are still available for viewing periodically on MTV and instant access to watching episodes online. The show goes coast to coast going inside homes of celebrities, ranging from 50 Cent to Shaquille O’Neal. Here, they give us an insider view of what a multi-million dollar mansion looks like inside and out. As celebrities give tours of their homes, viewers get to see their lavish swimming pools, closets filled designer clothes, and expensive vehicles. And how could I forget the inside of their refrigerators? The show does not just show off their materialistic lifestyle, but goes as far into what they consume on a daily basis. American society has reached a new level wanting to know as many details as possible about their favorite celebrities. People want to know where they vacation, what they do in their spare time, what cars they own, etc. Because of this, celebrities, then and now, feel pressure to give access of their personal lives to fans, and MTV Cribs was the very beginning to having that connection with them.
Now, let me introduce to one of the music industry’s most famous rapper: T-Pain. In one episode of MTV Cribs, the MTV camera crew goes inside T-Pain’s home in Atlanta, Georgia. Like every episode, he greets viewers at the front door of his home before beginning his tour of his house. He introduces the viewers to his wife and daughter, and then proceeds to show off his game room, “man cave,” recording studio, Grammys, expensive vehicles, and backyard swimming pool. Just to name a few features. T-Pain shows every detail of his home to viewers to share as much of his private life as possible. There is not one room nor closet that he does not show to viewers, giving us access that goes beyond what we see in magazines and newspapers of celebrities. Having T-Pain show off his crib, rather than a MTV host, makes viewers feel as if T-Pain is giving a tour exclusively to individual viewers. This type of connection makes fans feel like they are their number one fan getting this type of attention from celebrities. Therefore, celebrities continue to give access to fans because they feel pressured that in order to keep their celebrity status, they need to open up as much of their personal lives to fans.
But, as MTV Cribs stopped producing new episodes, social media became the next best tool to stay connected with celebrities do to its increase in popularity all over the world. This ultimately became the next alternative for celebrities to stay in touch with their fans. Instagram gave celebrities the opportunity to post “selfies” of themselves. James Franco explains in his article, The Meanings of Selfie, that attention is what drives this power for celebrities to post selfies. If people are interested in a certain celebrity, there is going to be pressure for that celebrity to gain their fans’ attention by posting selfies to give fans an insider view of their personal life. MTV Cribs worked in the same way that Instagram does today. The show goes into celebrities' lives because they know fans want their attention to be tuned into their personal lives. For instance, as MTV Cribs shows celebrities’ vehicles, Instagram can do the same thing by posting a picture of their newest vehicles to their account while writing a caption about it. However, with MTV Cribs, fans would have to wait for their favorite celebrities’ shows to air in order to see into their personal life. But, with Instagram, celebrities can post pictures immediately and do not have to wait for the MTV camera crew to be knocking at their doors. This is a major change that connects celebrities and fans faster than ever.
Not only has Instagram increasingly been used, but Twitter can dig a little deeper into celebrities’ lives. Tweets can be sent out directly from celebrities whether thanking supporters for helping grieve the loss of a loved one or sharing important news such as the birth of a child. Yes, a picture says a thousand words, but having a 140 count character limit on Twitter can show emotions and personal messages. Even Instagram pictures can be attached to tweets to capture every media outlet to connect with fans about their everyday lives. Society has gone so far in wanting attention and connection from celebrities that there are instructions on the Internet on “How to Get a Celebrity to Reply to You on Twitter” and “How to Make a Celebrity Follow You on Twitter.” It has never been more crucial for celebrities to continue to put out more information about themselves. MTV Cribs started this revelation of access to celebrities, and social media has only brought this idea to life even more.
We have always wanted to be connected with our favorite celebrities, but how we connected with celebrities has changed throughout our society. MTV Cribs started this revelation of getting to know celebrities from a more personal level rather than just reading about their lives in magazines and television news. Celebrities feel pressure to let fans into their personal lives as more access to them is readily available whether through shows or social media. The American society has spun out of control wanting to know every detail about their favorite celebrities, and this idea will never stop because celebrities will continue to feed information through television shows and social media about their personal lives.
Considine, Austin. “Celebrity Spats Thrive on Twitter.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
Franco, James. “The Meanings of the Selfie.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2014.
“MTV Cribs Gives Peek Into Stars’ Homes.” ABC News. ABC News, 10 Apr. Web. 4 Apr. 2014.
“MTV Cribs (Season 16) Episode 2.” MTV Cribs. July 27, 2008. Television.