Without going into a long diatribe about what MTV used to be, I was fairly certain what to expect when two press screener episodes of MTV's new reality series "Caged" arrived at my doorstep and after viewing them, I was correct.
If you're into teen reality drama shows with a modicum of sports, this show is for you. Otherwise, MMA fans can skip the series which debuts Monday on MTV at 10 PM EST.
The debut sets the scene in Shreveport, Louisiana, and neighboring Minden where we're told the only thing for high school graduates to do is drink, get laid and beat some guys up. That's actually a direct quote from Wes Branch, an amateur fighter with an ex-girlfriend, a young son and aspirations to be a big-time MMA star.
He trains in a friend's backyard as he doesn't have the time to go to a real school, yet brags about drinking $100 worth of beer at a recent party before vomiting. Not surprisingly, there is concern about him making weight for a fight that weekend. Red is Wes' ex, a seemingly nice person who is attending nursing school while raising their son Jaxon. They broke up three months ago.
We also meet Daniel Payne, a likeable tall blonde fella who apparently has never been knocked out. He too is an amateur with a fight coming up, has a girl that he falls in and out of love with and he dated the late sister of his best friend. The two discuss her passing in an awkward forced scene as they're hitting a heavy bag in Daniel's garage. Along the way, fellow amateur and Payne teammate Matt Schnell is introduced. According to his coach, he's the best of the group. His sister is also a stripper. He wants his dad to be proud of him. Family drama? Check and check.
Essentially, the show is no different than any teen reality drama on MTV. It merely has MMA as a backdrop as a way to get out of this supposedly terrible situation they're all in. They all compete for Ring Rulers, an amateur only organization in Louisiana run by Will Broyles, who also co-produces the show. The events are similar to football games in "Varsity Blues" where the town completely shuts down to go watch the events.
At the end of the show, all three fighters step into the cage and compete with plenty of of piped-in crowd noise, girlfriend drama and the like laid out for the viewer. I won't spoil the results for you here, but it fits with the rest of the show. It's very MTV-like. Scenes from the rest of the series promise more of the same.
Perhaps this will be a real launching pad for some of the talent on the show, but there isn't much here of substance for MMA fans.