|Olmec, from the glory days|
Here is where I throw you a curve ball: I highly recommend that you watch both The Wire and Jersey Shore, given that you can afford the time, despite knowing with fair certainty that watching an entire season of the latter will fry your brain. Wait, what? A good friend, or even a stranger from the internet, would not wholeheartedly recommend something that they know to be hazardous to your health, would they? Unless they were a devious bastard. Well, I'm here to tell you that I am not a devious bastard, and that in fact you should watch Jersey Shore, not because it is good TV, but for reasons that I cannot quite express. Maybe because it is representative of many things that are wrong with society and we can use it as a learning tool. Maybe it is so horrendously bad that it circularly wraps around to becoming awesomely good. Or perhaps it's just freaking hilarious to watch. Okay, I'm going to go with the last one.
|Mike "The Situation", quintessential Guido|
Now that I've introduced you to the (somewhat ridiculous) terminology, perhaps you might now be able to see how such a show can be successfully entertaining. Quite simply, the first-time viewer is usually completely incredulous as they watch the Jersey Shore cast go about their lives. Mike "The Situation" popularized the term "GTL" - Gym Tan Laundry - that describes the daily routine that you must follow in order to stay fresh. Remember: "If your shirt looks bad it makes the whole product look bad." Hmm...right. I'm not really sure if any of the cast is college-educated, or what they will do with their lives once they outgrow their Guido phases and realize that there is more to life than GTL, fist-pumping and creating unnecessary drama. Existential crises? I suppose only time will tell.
Your knee-jerk reaction to the show may very well be to immediately stop watching before irreparable harm is done to your brain. You might ask, do these sorts of people actually exist? Well, yes, amazingly. Is the show a self-parody? Is the cast "in on the joke"? Yes, it's obvious that the show is doing the most to capitalize on the ridiculous aspects of the subculture, and the members of the cast probably do try to play-up the Guido stereotypes when they can. But it is also a matter of fact that these are real people, that Guidos are a real phenomenon, and that all of this can be really hilarious. Certainly it is bad television that has no redeeming qualities and plenty of mind-numbing effects, but honestly, where are you going to find better entertainment?
|An example of good television|
|An example of a badass|