Tag Archives: jersey shore

Coming Out of The Dark Ages

Growing up, I was surrounded by a lowbrow smorgasbord of R.L. Stine, Salute Your Shorts, and Mortal Kombat.  Instead of reading Chaucer, I double-fisted Goosebumps and the Babysitter’s Club.  I Chose My Own Adventure and got diphtheria on the Oregon Trail.  I listened to explicit rap.  And though critics may feign horror at my culturally-deficient childhood full of commercial drivel, I thoroughly enjoyed not being a hoity-toity opera kid.  (Plus, as a member of the cultural underclass, I was always able to make fun of the highbrows and their pretentious madras pants.)

I mention this background only because I’m about to double back faster than Joe Barton not apologizing for apologizing for apologizing (yes, you read that right).  Now, as a slightly-more cultured adult, I’m concerned that true art is dead.  In my view, we’re suffering from an ugly, modern-day Dark Ages (or perhaps, Twilight Ages?): hundreds of years later, historians will look back on this era, from the neon parachute pants of the ’80s to the plasticized “real” housewives of today, and they’ll think, “Jeez. What was in the water back then?”

You might not agree with me, but let’s take a look at this era in music, literature, and the arts.  In music, Michael Jackson is the singular ray of enlightenment.  He doesn’t have the same feel-good story as deaf Mozart or orphaned Bach, but his legend is still comparable.  Fine, I’ll give you MJ.  Let’s move onto literature, where we’ve failed to produce any seminal work outside of wizards and vampires in the last 20 years.  Outside of those two series, I can’t think of any book that has garnered attention as an “instant literary classic.”  (Maybe James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, but that only comes to mind because of the Oprah shakedown.)  And finally, I am hard-pressed to name a contemporary artist today who works outside of TV or film.  Maybe this is ignorance, but I’m guessing that we’ll never see the likes of another famous Picasso or Warhol in our future, tech-centered world.  After all, why spend years painting some masterpiece when you can just Photoshop?

So what are the implications of this?  Well, I’m worried that kids won’t be able to write sentences longer than 140 characters.  I’m afraid that genuine laughter at the theater will soon be replaced by muttering “LOL.”  And I’m terrified that Snooki is a household name.

But then again, my fun-killing crossover self is probably just resisting the inevitable change in our definition of art.  Perhaps hundreds of years later, we’ll have redefined  “highbrow culture” to comprise of scatalogical humor and excessive hair spray.  Maybe then we’ll recognize the Twi-Hards as a social and literary movement akin to the Beats.

But I hope not.  Because as a card-carrying member of the current cultural underclass, I still reserve my right to make fun of the hoity highbrows.  And I won’t be able to do that if I’m one of them.

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Better Than the Jersey Shore

Over the past few months, Jersey Shore has served as the tacit Bible for those who wish to follow the path of  DJ Jesus: a life of immodest tanning, unattractive hair styling, and exuberant fist pumping interspersed with punches in the face.  But now that the show is over, where will we find our future prophets, our next Snookis, J-Wowws, or Pauly Ds?  I’m so distraught that I can’t even deal with The Situation.  But, if MTV decides that they’d like to expand their Shore franchise, here are some recommendations:

  • Connecticut Shore: Clad in blazers, cashmere, and khakis bearing small crustacean logos, our pasty-white cast members will showcase the best of Connecticut living.  With this group, they don’t do hair gel; they do hair pomade… sprinkled with saffron and Bulova gold flakes.  Follow the drama surrounding Bernard’s trust fund tussle, Priscilla’s equestrian meet, and Theodore VII’s late-night car crash while drunk off white wine spritzers.  On the Connecticut Shore, controversy will ensue after Gabriel is found buying a sale item at Vineyard Vines.  Lawsuits will fly after Madison steals a string of pearls for her charity auction, Helping Hedge Fund Survivors.  And love will find a way, as outcast Zoe will fall for a grunge, homeless, starving artist from Brooklyn in a shocking act of Connecticut rebellion.
  • Cleveland Shore: Follow the travails of all-American Clevelandites as they try to find things to do other than drink beer every night in their moms’ basements.  Witness the tension between Joe and Mary during their eighteenth trip to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.  Guess if Mikey will ever be successful in his nightly attempts to find LeBron’s house.  And see if sweet Carol Anne can actually summon Jesus Christ into her bedroom by using a Ouija board.  Plaid shirts, overalls, and yellow gingham dresses have never been so hip.  With our hot, denim-clad characters and the scandalous backdrop of Cleveland, you can hum hymns while humping hims (but only if you’re a “her”… it’s still a red state at heart).  And despite the fact that their “shore” is only on a lake, at least it’s a great lake.
  • Monterey Shore: The wine is out, the clothes are off, and the hazy Monterey Shore promises to be a laid-back lovefest of crunchy activists.  Follow Marcel and Kyaaledi (pronounced “Joan”) as they protest the deforestation of the Komodor dog.  Find out if Meadow can sell her rhubarb milk shakes at the beach while competing with the capitalist lemonade stand.  Try not to salivate from the mouth as you watch Isaac play the ukelele naked, just ’cause he feels like it.  With a beautiful Californian cast that includes four women, four men, and an adopted baby seal named Scooter (lone survivor of the club-a-seal booth at the beach fair), the Monterey Shore will get you thinking about more than just fair trade bananas and organic tea parties.  You know, it’s about life, man… and bangin’.
  • Texas Shore: If you want drama, turn off TNT and change your channel to Texas Shore.  In Texas’ own version of the Bloods and Crips, we have our red-blooded God enthusiasts facing off against the cryptic indie film lovers of Austin.  Throw in a side of Mexicans, and you have a hit show.  Texas Shore is full of brawn, religion, papis, and, of course, guns.  Follow George as he drives along the Texas coastline in his pickup, chanting “America!  America!”, with a rifle out the passenger seat.  Watch as Nina (single, bespectacled, bra-less) stumps for outdated causes, like women’s rights and freedom for Native Americans.  Will George and Nina ever find true love together?  Will jean cut-offs meet saggy polyester in an immediate union of love and retired fashions?  And what will happen when the U.S. tries to deport Ricardo in the middle of his American Idol audition?  Stay tuned…

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As the Peacock Turns

Hey, Jeff Zucker.  Congratulations on pulling a Jason Mesnick from The Bachelor (for the highbrows, this is a John Kerry 2004 reference).  Yes, over at NBC, they’re spreading a flippity-floppity flu.  One day they like Jay… the next day, they like Conan.  Oh wait, back to Jay.  Conan.  Jay.  Conan.  Jota.  Conando.  Pretty soon, neither Jay nor Conan will want to fight this middle-school battle anymore, and The Tonight Show will end up in the hands of Carson Daly and a host of former VJs from TRL.  Hey, you can’t lose ratings if you ain’t got none.  With this kind of competition, at least Letterman can start banging staff members again. 

The Jay-Conan-Jeff Zucker love triangle has become such a big story that Maureen Dowd chose to write about it instead of bashing on Sarah Palin’s Fox News debut.  Dowd giving up a swing at Palin?  That’s like Mark McGwire going to bat without juice.  It almost never happens. 

But now that Zucker’s pissed off Maureen Dowd and almost everyone at NBC, he needs to fill the 10pm time slot.  His two main competitors have already developed their niche audiences (ABC’s programming is family-centric, CBS’s is murder-centric).  Given that there is only so much crap being produced in Hollywood, how can Zucker complement his 8-9pm crap with more terrible programming at 10pm?  What should follow the surefire-disaster that will be Parenthood on Monday nights

If NBC can’t do family or murder, what’s left? 

The answer?  Idiots and socialites.

Look at the success of Jersey Shore and its own sticky Situation.  Look at how many people watch the vapid Real Housewives franchise on Bravo.  Yes, these shows can’t carry on the legacy of classy NBC shows like E.R., but perhaps they can bring in ratings.  And in this capitalist little game of TV broadcasting, ratings will bring in prestige, money, and as many staff members as Dave can handle.

Without ratings and the shows to back them up… well, then, NBC is just a fancy distribution company.  Called Comcast.

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Asian Christmas

As we’re nearing the end of another holiday season, I would like to thank my parents for the wonderful gift that they bestowed upon me.   Ever since I was but a wee fetus, swimming around in an embryonic pool of placenta, I was blessed…

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for the gift of being Asian.

Oh, the gift of being Asian is a gift that keeps on giving.  Despite our shortness and bad vision, there are several reasons why it’s great to be Asian in America.  For example, one reason is that we don’t get kidnapped.  Have you ever heard of an Asian toddler who has gone missing?  No, because high-profile, baby kidnapping is mainly a Caucasian sport.  Why would anyone kidnap an Asian when you can easily buy one online?  Similarly, I don’t worry about identity theft, because unless another female Asian is jacking my credit cards, I’m guessing the cashier would find something suspicious.  “But you don’t look like a Jackie Chan…”  Ha, gotcha.  Thus, being Asian affords me peace of mind.

Going along with stereotypes is also a plus.  Overall, Asian stereotypes really aren’t that bad.  So, fine, Asians can’t drive.  But neither can women, so even though I’m doubly screwed, at least we have company.  Stereotypical Asians are also smart, hard-working, and socially inept.  The last one is actually a good thing, because our social awkwardness prevents us from being universally shamed, like Italian-Americans on Jersey Shore (yes, I Survived a Japanese Game Show was embarrassing, but I’m not Japanese… so it’s cool).  Also, given that stereotypical Asians are closet ninjas and kung fu masters, I feel pretty safe walking the mean streets of New York City alone.  If I ever do get mugged, I’ll simply do a few Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon backflips to escape.

Being Asian is also a gift because we can always pretend that we don’t speak English.  I could go into a store, shoplift some Hello Kitty merchandise, and if I ever get caught, just blame it on my Communist heritage.  “Oh, I thought we were all sharing… No speak Engrish.”  Then I will bow, say “Konichiwa,” and leave.

Honestly, if we wanted to, Asians could get away with anything.  We could walk out on a bill in a restaurant, and then show up the next day and get served, since no one can tell Asians apart.  (Sometimes I can’t even pick my mom out of a crowd.)  If you ever were accused of such dining and ditching, you could just respond back in perfect English and slap your accuser in the face.  God, discrimination is such a bitch.

The one downside to being Asian is that if you’re female, you have to deal with the fetishists.  And if you’re male, well, good luck trying to find anyone who will appreciate your skinny arms and engineering prowess.  It also gets tiring to keep up the peace signs/bunny ears for every photograph you take.  But despite these minor hiccups and the occasional embarrassing YouTube clip, the greater gift of Asian-ness must be celebrated.  And with our squinty eyes, straight hair, and aversion to sunlight, we’re pretty similar to vampires — and vampires are really “in” now.

So, thank you Mom and Dad, for the gift you’ve given me.  And for everyone else, Asian and non-Asian, I wish you a joyous holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Peace.

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