Though they’ve so far been portrayed in only the most dignified of ways (onscreen in Oscar darlings Good Will Hunting, The Fighter and The Departed, to name a few), the denizens of South Boston will now be put under the small-screen microscope as Jersey Shore producers move forward with a reality show examining Boston’s most notorious neighborhood. So let’s all start practicing saying, “Why’d you pahk the cah in the yahd?” now just so we won’t be left behind. Continue reading
If you ever need proof to support the argument that society is immoral, look no further than reality TV shows. If the seven deadly sins are a representation of the worst aspects of mankind, then reality shows are a look into the darkest facets of humanity. You can find each of the seven deadly sins in today’s reality programming—so if the world really does end in 2012, we know what to blame.
Pride – Project Runway, Top Chef, American Idol
If there’s one thing every reality TV contest suffers from it’s a sense of pride. In order to put your art or your passion out there to be judged in front of an audience of millions, you have to have pride in your work. But nobody ever told these people that a little goes a long way.
Greed – The Apprentice, Fear Factor, Joe Millionaire
When a reality show comes with a life-changing prize like cash or a job opportunity, contestants fight tooth and nail to get it. We love watching people backstab, form alliances and play mind games all for that sweet prize. TV shows where people consume animal semen for cash are a sign of how desperately greedy we’ve become.
Lust – The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Next,
Dating shows are always about a bunch of attractive meat bags burning through romantic partners in a rapid-fire race to find a compatible match. Leave it to reality television to make romance seem tawdry.
Envy – Made, Wife Swap, The Buried Life
Everybody on reality TV wants to be somebody else. People are ready to trade lives in a heartbeat just to see what else is out there, but in the end the lesson almost always boils down to being grateful for what you have—your fifteen minutes of fame.
Gluttony – The Biggest Loser, Fat Chef, Intervention
In a world of overconsumption these reality shows try to preach a message of self-control while allowing viewers to indulge in the pleasure of watching other people lose control. It’s hard to admit to your own gluttonous behaviors when there are so many people on reality TV that are worse off than you.
Wrath – Jersey Shore, The Real World, The Bad Girls Club
Sloth – Hoarders, Supernanny, What Not to Wear
No need to do anything for yourself anymore because reality TV crews are ready and willing to clean out your house, raise your children and make sure you don’t look ridiculous when you go outside. In China, they have shows where contestants go after their dream jobs, while in America we have shows about how to not let our kids act like monsters.
As you may have heard, Jersey Shore’s beloved Vinny Guadagnino has returned to T.V. Vinny left the house after developing anxiety, something he’s struggled with in the past and that, for some completely mystifying reason, has returned post Italia. First, as someone who struggles with clinical anxiety, I empathize with Vinny. Second, Vinny is kind of Superman. His delicate mental health withstood 4 seasons, a vodka I.V., Sammy and Ron’s harpy fights, innumerable incidences of physical violence, David Bowie-style consecutive sleepless nights, and a T.V. crew up his rear end 24×7. I think it was the unfortunate haircut that finally pushed him over the edge.
I’m no doctor, but I wonder if “clinical anxiety” is really a fair diagnosis. I mean, yes, he probably does have it if he had it before, and yes, it is the kind of thing that can go away and then come back later… It just seems to me that being on Jersey Shore for 5 seasons would give any normal, healthy person uncontrollable anxiety and depression, let alone someone who’s already susceptible. The fact that so few of them have fallen apart emotionally is a testament to their robust Italian constitutions, or to their emotional numbness, or to the profit incentive, or to Xanax.
It’s funny: getting falling down drunk every day and smashing heads into walls is considered quality reality television because it’s entertaining. Getting anxious, quiet and sad is no fun to watch—also it’s a psychiatric disorder. Rage is great! Sleeping is boring. Don’t just sit there moping, go beat up some strangers and get arrested! Face-plant on the beach and then have sex with a prostitute! GO GO GO!
I felt Vinny’s desperation when his housemates ignored his miserable pleas for solidarity and understanding. I felt MTV’s desperation when they threatened the housemates with new roommates, forcing them to blitz Vinny at home and rip him from the healing breast of his mother. Now it’s just a waiting game: how long will it take before someone at the shore house really has enough of the media hounds, the papa razzos, the pickled organs, the rat cage… how long before Vinny or Sammy or, god forbid, The Situation, does something seriously deadly… I mean besides committing slow suicide with alcohol and head bashing… I mean committing faster suicide with heroin or a knife.
I don’t think I’m being overdramatic, when Hollywood is practically buried in young, beautiful, DEAD stars and starlets. We know exactly what stardom does to people. We take a bunch of admittedly strange but otherwise healthy young kids out of their lives, we set them up for public ridicule, and then delight in knocking them down with public ridicule. As a lark, go back to season 1 and check out the fresh-faced, happy little Jersey Shore gang….
Then take another look at season 5. They’re grizzled veterans. They’re on an endless tour of duty in an endless war: Jersey Shore.
If we strip away the bronzed veneer, the truth is, the cast is in prison—an unusual prison where clubbing is encouraged and everything’s bedazzled, but a prison none-the-less. Vinny can’t leave. None of them can leave. Their identities are forever tied to this experiment, and what are they without it? There’s no escape, Vin. It’s a life sentence.
Alright, so I got a little morbid there. Vinny did get an immediate book deal out of this. And I do see one less-armageddony solution: get Zoloft to pay them all millions of dollars and then put them all on Zoloft. Oh wait, but then they’d be content and probably take up golf or knitting. Nevermind. That’s not good television.
Sure, we all know Jersey Shore is a cultural hot mess. It’s a train wreck, vaudeville, sand in uncomfortable places after a day at the beach and a Four Loko (with caffeine) all rolled into one. While my husband and I sat down to enjoy Jersey Shore this past Thursday I began, as I often do, to try and imagine myself in the shore house. In real life I’d probably pull a Situation à la Italia and smash my own head into a cement wall. But if I could magically warp my consciousness into one of their rippling be-tanned bodies Freaky Friday style, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’d choose Pauly D.
Miss Piggy, the swine starlet of The Muppets, has always been a felted fashionista. So when the designers of Project Runway All-Stars were tasked with creating a cocktail dress worthy of her approval, it was a match made in hog heaven.
Although the Muppets have been making cameos everywhere lately since their newest movie hit the theaters, we want to see more perfect Muppet matches like Miss Piggy and Project Runway
Sweetums on Dancing with the Stars
Obviously there are technical issues that prevent most Muppets from dancing with a human partner—but not Sweetums. This full-sized friendly monster could probably pull of a basic ballroom dance better than most of the stars on Dancing with the Stars.
Rowlf the Dog on Glee
Would anyone even really notice if the mute accompanist on Glee was replaced by Rowlf the Dog? Most of the songs are presented as fantasy sequences, so his appearance wouldn’t even need to be necessarily explained.
Sam the Eagle on The Colbert Report
The patriotic, right-wing Sam the Eagle was Stephen Colbert before Stephen Colbert. Always the stodgy conservative, he’d make the perfect wing-man for Stephen on an episode ofThe Colbert Report.
Oscar the Grouch on Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry David and Oscar the Grouch are both grumpy loudmouths who just want to be left alone. Curb Your Enthusiasm frequently features actors making cameos playing exaggerated versions of themselves—why not Oscar?
Bunson and Beaker on Mythbusters
Mythbusters Jamie and Adam are real-life versions of Bunson and Beaker—the eccentric Muppet scientists who shock, burn and maim themselves in the name of science. Bring these four together and prepare for the explosions.
Bert on Antiques Roadshow
Bert may be a nerd, but he knows the value of a good bottle cap collection. We wouldn’t expect him to do any appraising, instead he’d be there to provide color commentary and help attract a younger audience.
Animal on Jersey Shore
The Jersey Shore roommates like to get a little wild—just like the Muppets’ resident drummer, Animal. Actually, after all the working out, partying and fighting is said and done, it might be Animal who is too tired to keep up.
Kermit the Frog on Saturday Night Live
Kermit recently hosted a Weekend Update sketch with Seth Meyers, but frankly it wasn’t enough. This famous froggy has paid his dues—it’s time for Kermit to host an entire episode of SNL.
Pepe on The Bachelorette
This crustacean Casanova would break many a Bachelorette’s heart if given the opportunity. Instead we see Pepe giving our lovelorn hopefuls a few lessons in speaking with passion from the heart.
Miss Piggy on Bad Girls Club
As much as Project Runway was a perfect match for Miss Piggy, so too is Bad Girls Club, after all Piggy has always toed the line between naughty and nice. Get her in the Bad Girls mansion to learn how to curb her nasty tendencies—or just to stir up trouble.
If you didn’t like sports, you wouldn’t sign up for a softball team. If you became a vegetarian, you wouldn’t go out to eat at a steakhouse. Then why is it when you hate a TV show, you don’t always stop watching?
Chances are you might just be a hate-watcher, a select category of TV viewer that watches TV shows with the sole purpose of hating everything about it. These are the people that complain about how much they can’t stand Jersey Shore, yet they tune in every week.
This phenomenon should not be confused with a guilty pleasure, which is a TV show you feel guilty about watching, but actually secretly love. Instead, hate-watching is more like an act of masochism—you know you hate the show, but that’s also part of the appeal.
Why Do We Hate-Watch?
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for hate-watching during your TV time. We all watch TV to illicit some type of emotional response—sitcoms make us laugh and forget about our worries, while dramas provide us with a cathartic experience to let out our strong emotions.
Therefore, wouldn’t it be safe to say that the shows we hate-watch give us the opportunity to explore our angry emotions in a healthy way? After all, it’s better to be mad at some people on your TV screen, than the people in your daily life.
The Internet has allowed the hate-watching phenomenon grow in numbers over the past few years. Hate-watchers now have the opportunity to meet other hate-watchers online and talk about how much they hate a show in real time while they watch it together. Thanks to the Internet, there are a number of different sub-categories of hate-watchers, including but not limited to:
The Fanboy Hate-Watcher
This breed of hate-watcher actually liked the show they are watching—back when it was good. The fanboy hate-watcher hates American Idol without Paula and Simon, Family Guy without Cleveland and The Simpsons after Season 8—yet all three shows are on his DVR.
The Political Hate-Watcher
The political hate-watcher views TV shows that clash with her political views. She’s the liberal that tunes into Fox News or the conservative that watches The Daily Show. Maybe she’s just trying to learn about the enemy, or maybe she just has a secret crush on Glenn Beck.
The Generational Hate-Watcher
The generational hate-watcher likes to watch shows that are not intended for his age-group, yet hates that he can’t enjoy them. The hate-watcher knows he’s too old for MTV and he hates every show on the network, but he watches it every day.
The Hipster Hate-Watcher
This hate-watcher hated watching TV before it was cool. When she hate-watches a TV show, she’s doing it for the sake of irony. The only reason her and her friends get together to watch The Bachelor each week is to make fun of the contestants.
Are you a closet hate-watcher? Do you watch TV shows with the sole purpose of hating them? What TV shows do you love to hate-watch?
I have a friend who is your quintessential film student. The type who loves Ingmar Bergman and Stanley Kubrick and makes the types of films beloved by grim, Eastern European cinema teachers and overwhelmingly confusing to pretty much everyone else. We were chatting on the phone when he informed me that he’d lately taken to watching Jersey Shore. Needless to say, I was shocked. Continue reading
Liz Lemon – 30 Rock
Liz has a borderline unhealthy obsession with food. Mix that with shaky self-esteem and plummeting self-image issues, and top it off with a bizarre sense of optimistic determination, and you’ve got one middle-aged woman who really should have broken down by now. Luckily, there’s one thing that gets her through the day. C’mon, for Liz, this stuff is like porn.
Dr. Perry Cox – Scrubs
Dr. Cox is a sadistic narcissist who loves torturing those around him. After a long day of sewing up gaping wounds and inflicting emotional scars on his coworkers, Dr. Cox loves to go home, kick up his feet, and watch the one guy on TV he can actually relate to.
Bender – Futurama
This robot loves nothing more than booze, cigars, and hookers. Booze and cigars and easy to get, but robo-prostitutes aren’t always in good supply. In times like that, Bender can find grade-A robotic smut on the Science Channel.
Simon Cowell – The X Factor
Simon catches a lot of flak for being the harsh one. You can’t just give everybody a thumbs up and pass them over the next round. Sometimes, the best medicine is tough love, and Simon is willing to man up and tell people what they don’t want to (but should) hear. When he’s not crushing dreams, Simon likes to watch a TV show full of people who understand him, who accept him for who he is and aren’t judgmental of his direct, sometimes harsh approach.
Aaron Hotchner – Criminal Minds
As the unit leader in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, it’s crucial to stay one step ahead of the world’s sickest minds. Hotchner takes his job seriously, and works ‘round-the-clock to ensure that he brings his A-game to every case. So, when Hotch does get a bit of free time, he spends it doing research.
Break out the party hats and pop the champagne—New Years Eve is almost upon us. If you find yourself without plans on the biggest party night of the year, then spend some quality time at home with these TV party animals.
10. Stefon – Saturday Night Live
We want to hang with Weekend Update correspondent Stefon because he knows all the best clubs to go to on New Years Eve. Hopefully we can get in past the bouncer– a bulldog that looks like Wilford Brimley
9. Homer Simpson – The Simpons
Homer has that combination of likeability and dumb luck that makes him a good candidate for New Years Eve. Not only can he hold his liquor, but his drinking usually leads to crazy adventures, which would prevent us from having a dull night.
8. Chelsea Handler – Chelsea Lately
When TV comedienne Chelsea Handler wrote a memoir of her life, she titled it “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.” She’s always ready to have a good time and her spitfire wit would keep us in stitches all night.
7. Bender – Futurama
Bender is an alcohol-fueled robot that loves to have a good time– in abundance. Without having to worry about pesky human flaws, like hangovers and brain damage, Bender can party from this New Years Eve all the way through 2012.
6. Cast of Jersey Shore – Jersey Shore
Sure they’re obnoxious, crass train wrecks that look like Oompa Loompas—but they also know how to throw a good party. You wouldn’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself either, not with The Situation, Snooki and Pauly D around to be the center of attention.
5. Charlie Harper – Two and a Half Men
Charlie was a ladies man that never turned down a good party—much like his real life alter-ego, Charlie Sheen. Charlie may have been unceremoniously killed off, but before he died he would have been the perfect New Years Eve wingman.
4. Cast of Entourage – Entourage
Partying with the boys from Entourage would mean that we’d get to meet all sorts of different celebrities—and possibly get into a fist fight with them. For all the drama (and Johnny Drama) we’d have to put up with, it’d still be worth it to get the Hollywood treatment.
3. Tom Haverford – Parks and Recreation
Craps tables, bounce houses, Bengal tigers—these are just a few of the things that Tom Haverford can bring to your party. Nothing is too decadent for Tom, who’s personal motto is “treat yo self.”
2. Tracy Jordan – 30 Rock
Tracy has thrown parties on stolen yachts, regularly attends after-after-after parties and once turned Kenneth’s corny get-together into a raging nightmarish party. In the world of “30 Rock,” Tracy is an actor that built his career on his ability to create a party where there previously was none.
1. Barney Stinson – How I Met Your Mother
Barney is the man with the plan—for a perfect New Years party that is. Some people love to party, but Barney lives to party and his passion is your gain. Do you want your New Years to be memorable, or do you want it to be legen—wait for it—dary!