There are some exciting things happening out there in the wasteland of modern pop culture, kids. Of course I’m referring to Jersey Shore, first and foremost. Have you seen this show? My friend Katie turned me onto it the other night, and it’s pretty wild. Essentially, they took a gigantic tub of gel and a gigantic can of axe body spray and a bunch of self tanner and put it in a house on the jersey shore along with about six apelike dagos, and their various nicknames and abs. There’s also alcohol. Did I mention that? Good. So you’ve got the setting right? A bunch of browned spiky greasy things grunting their way through a real-world like scenario each wearing so much cologne that you can actually smell it wafting out of your television. There’s punching, girl on girl hot tub action and everything else that you’ve come to expect from MTV’s reality experiments. The difference with this one is that it’s SO fucking racially motivated and it absolutely wallows in the most hilarious stereotypes. It’s a little bit like if they had “mexican house” and then went and gathered up a bunch of illegal immigrant busboys with mustaches and cowboy hats as their cultural representatives. I dunno…that actually seems better. Well, here’s the real thing that’s awesome about Jersey Shore: The ‘stars’ are so absolutely repellant that there’s no sense of guilt. It’s fun to watch these muscled sleeveless gold chain wearing hair gel hosts grunt around and try against all odds not to wind up pregnant or with a new strain of herpes.
The true genius of the show, however, is that they all fully recognize the stereotype and relish in it as well. They refer to themselves as “Guidos and guidettes” and they talk at length about the boons and benefits of hair gel, cologne, muscles, spray tans and tanning beds (one dude has a tanning bed in his fucking HOUSE…yeah, I said dude), lip gloss for the guys as well as the chicks and general perpetuation of the whole greasy dago subspecies. Therefore, you can’t really effectively hate on them. They know what they’re about. They’re into it. It’s like the whole theory about open relationships, if you can fuck other people, you’re not going to cheat. It’s kind of a bizarre loophole, but by gum! These guidos seem to have pulled it off.
Did I mention the punching? Oh, there’s punching.
Up next, pop cultural phenomenon The Room, a film that’s so amazingly amazing that I don’t even want to give anything away, but, well, I’ve got some space to fill here, so I’m going to. Okay, the room is the pet project of Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, directed, produced and starred in what can only be called the most transcendently awful piece of wonderful garbage ever brutally bludgeoned onto film (and digital video! He shot the whole movie with two cameras both on the same mount, which may explain the focus and framing problems that plague the movie [though Wiseau claims these are all artistic choices]). Here’s the thing. It’s a heavy drama about a love triangle, and it was expensive to make. It’s said that the budget was something crazy like six million bucks. But it’s hilarious. At its first screening in LA, Wiseau got limos, red carpet and the whole deal. By all accounts, people were rolling in the aisles laughing within the first ten minutes. It’s not a comedy, though. It’s a heavy drama. BUT, shamelessly, Wiseau decided to run with it, and he now claims that it’s funny on purpose and even the trailer now says something like “experience this hilarious dark comedy! It’s a riot!” But dude, there’s no way. Go to youtube and search “you’re tearing me apart lisa” or “oh, hi mark” if you want an idea of this shit. The clips are short and safe for work and all that, and man, we need to start getting into this shit. It’s now a cult phenomenon and it does midnight showings once a month in most major cities, and he’s there a lot of the time reading sonnets and doing q and a sessions. For real. Now it’s gaining momentum and there’s rocky horror like interaction that goes on. People toss spoons and dress up and the whole deal. Let’s go? Kay? Good. Oh, and Tommy Wiseau looks like the rock and roll attorney for the Scorpions or something. That won’t make sense until you see him. Then it will make perfect sense.
Yeah. So, what have we learned? Shamelessness is the key to great entertainment in these closing moments of the first decade of the new millennium. That, and….What else do Tommy Wiseau and the greaseballs on Jersey shore have in common? That’s right kids. Confidence! It goes a long way. Sometimes it can turn you into a folk hero just by being earnestly terrible and ballsy and sometimes it can get you a blumpkin right there in your shorehouse.