Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Deep Thoughts From The Jersey Shore
Okay, so I finally watched Jersey Shore for the first time. I know – where have I been for the past 2 years, right? I’m not a big fan of reality television but it was on at the gym while I pedaled on my stationary bike so I decided why not give it a watch and see what all the buzz is about. Plus ESPN was running a story on the WNBA so what the hell else was I gonna do? In a word, WOW. I was a little distracted checking e-mail and playing scrabble on my phone but as best I could tell Jersey Shore is a documentary (I use the term loosely) about a group of over-tanned, sex-crazed narcissists who live together in a house in Miami even though they’re all from New Jersey. Judging from their lifestyles I’m guessing they’re all twenty-somethings but a couple of the guys might be north of thirty. They all have bad Jersey accents and work in a t-shirt shop except for the dude with magic shell hair (DJ Pauly D) who is obviously a DJ (good detective work on my part). While they’re not working at the t-shirt shop or being a DJ the guys appear to spend their time lifting weights and whitening their teeth while the ladies spend the majority of their time getting ready to go out clubbing. Oh yeah and they’re all alcoholics and I suspect one of them (Snooki) might also be slightly retarded. Have I nailed down the general plot line? The cast includes an annoying bitch who never shuts up (Angelina), a lovable slut whose boobs somehow defy every law of gravity (J-WOWW), a muscle head who apparently doesn’t own a shirt (Ronnie), a miserable tease who passes herself off as a sweetheart (Sammi), a douche bag who loves to refer to himself in the third person (The Situation), a mama’s boy who has visibly gay tendencies (Vinny), and the aforementioned DJ Pauly D and Snooki. To call this show a train wreck would be an insult to train wrecks everywhere. What immediately struck me was the (for lack of a better term) rampant incest amongst the cast members. J-WOWW claims to have a steady boyfriend yet hooked up with DJ Pauly D in the episode I watched. The Situation seems to have a thing for Sammi but I watched Sammi hook up with Ronnie while Vinny watched. Meanwhile at the club they all ended up groping on themselves, each other, and multiple other random participants. Then back at the house the party continued as everyone hooked up with someone (hard to say exactly who was grinding on who as the cast members all creepily resemble one another) except for poor Snooki who tried to hook up with some dude but instead got thrown up on (I would sincerely hate to be around on laundry day in that festering cesspool they call a house). Did I mention everyone on the show is an alcoholic?
As I watched in disbelief I wondered to myself how this pathetic show could have possibly remained on the air for over two years (with a third season in the works), and how these vacuous lowlifes could possibly be considered celebrities? Then I remembered Joseph Conrad’s character Marlow from Heart of Darkness and what he referred to as “fascination of the abomination,” and it all made perfect sense. Human beings are fundamentally flawed creatures. As such we are drawn toward destruction, debauchery, and generally abhorrent things. Don’t agree with this statement? Think about it a little more. When driving by a car accident why is it nearly impossible to look away from the carnage? And when walking by a crime scene closed off by yellow police tape why are we so damn curious to find out what happened? And after a natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, etc.) why are we compelled to tune in and watch media coverage of the tragic event? And what about when we find out about a friend’s infidelity or adultery, why are we so anxious to hear all the juicy details? As I see it the fascination with Jersey Shore is really no different than any of these things. By watching people who are so utterly shallow, loathsome, and completely devoid of moral values we can’t help but feel better about ourselves and our own lives flawed as they may be. Snooki, The Situation, and the rest of their bronzed cronies might as well be victims of a car accident, a crime scene, or a natural disaster because they’d literally serve the same purpose as they do now. And there you have it – life imitating art imitating life through those douches on The Jersey Shore. I bet you never knew the producers on MTV were so deep (and I’m sure they didn’t either).