There once was a time when MTV wasn't ravaged by Teen Mom or Jersey Shore. That time was the mid-2000s, a glorious epoch highlighted by the red and black squads, the relevance of Cassidy, and the irrefutable champion of low-brow, urban-centered freestyle comedy progams. I'm talking, of course, about Wild 'n Out.
Captained by Nick Cannon, Wild 'n Out was an improvisional show that spawned laughs and running gags for four brief seasons. It catapulted the careers of Kevin Hart, Katt Williams, and Affion Crockett, to name a few, and usually included a famous rapper to crack jokes and then perform at the end of the episode. With Cannon leading the red team and a celebrity guest leading the black, the back-and-forth was pure entertainment.
Wild 'n Out returns for a fifth season Tuesday on MTV2, and I'm aptly calling it the best moment of my summer. Upcoming team captains include A$AP Rocky, Amar'e Stoudemire and 2 Chainz. Seriously, this is happening. The cast looks dope and hype is steadily building, so let's toast to what we're anticipating the most from the exalted return:
1. New games
How fly are they? Well, we don't know yet. But we can bet that the new sketch games Cannon and Co. have devised will be nothing short of awesome. Popular favorites from back in the day included "star sightings," where teammates would have to pick out Hollywood dopplegangers from the studio audience, and "that's my dog," where one comedian would get on all fours and bark out a buzzphrase to be deciphered.
Cannon says he knows the jokes have to "land quicker" this time around, so you can expect a few new games. Chances are we all still lose it the first time someone motions for us to ask how fly Nick is.
2. New subject matter
Kevin Hart has a biopic. Nick Cannon has a Mariah Carey. Can you imagine the new disses coming our way?
Now that the show and its stars have more exposure, the players can afford to make fun of each other and even themselves. Yo momma jokes (wait...) went out of style right around the time Drumline did, but 2013's crazy Hollywood landscape opens itself to an array of fresh jokes and jabs.
The oft-impersonated Jessica Simpson and Shaquille O'Neal from the original seasons will be traded for Kim Kardashian, Barack Obama and lord knows who else.
3. Spanky Hayes
The dude's bridging the gap from the original to the 2013 season, and that alone warrants excitement. Hayes wasn't always the best comedian, but he'll provide plenty of much-needed energy.
Other returning vets include Mikey Day, who subjected himself to a covey of white boy taunts, only to respond with wry comebacks.
4. The wild style
The most crucial element of Wild 'n Out was the freestyle battling. After three mini-games, the red and black would take to the mic and diss each other over some generic beatboxing or synthy Scott Storch-type stuff. It was fantastic.
Katt Williams and the visiting rapper usually stole the show (Katt v. Kanye was the most jaw-dropping thing on MTV not called Parental Control), but this season includes recruited battle rappers like Conceited. With a new lineup of guest captains and cast members well-versed in the battle community, this summer's wild styles should be hilarious.
The same characters always drew the same disses, so a new crew will make things interesting.
5. The awkwardness of the celebrities
There was nothing better than when Nick or one of the guest captains made an awful joke and DJ D-Wrek waited a solid five seconds deliberating whether it would get a point or the dreaded buzzer sound. The celebrities were naturally favored, but they also weren't nearly as funny as the regular cast.
Aside from Snoop Dogg, every guest was at least a little awkward. Can you picture 2 Chainz making a joke on the spot? It's going to be something else. Watch Mac Miller put a yalmuke on and act like you're not excited.
If nothing else, a new season of Wild 'n Out is a fresh dose of nostalgia. Chances are, life was a little simpler when you threw down your backpack and tuned in. Though it'll be sandwiched by cringe-worthy MTV reruns and there's a good chance this new season could flop, Wild 'n Out is nothing but escapism. Perfect for summer.
The theme song was done by Fatman Scoop. What else do you possibly need in life?
Wild 'n Out returns Tuesday, July 9 at 8 p.m. ET.