Tag Archives: MTV

Reflections on the 2013 VMAs

I meant to write this yesterday, but for the love of sweet Jesus, I’ve been too shocked to manage to get myself to sit in front of a computer. And can you really blame me? After Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, there’s no telling what’s going to pop up at me when I put any sort of screen in front of my face.

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

I’m horrified by what I saw. Horrified. Ever since Sunday night, I’ve been planted in the corner of my bedroom, rocking back and forth catatonically, unable to answer my wife as she stood panicked in the doorway, “Rob! What is it? What were those screams? Are you OK? Rob? Answer me! Somebody call an ambulance!”

I’m such a stupid, naïve, idiotic fool of a moron. Was it really that simpleminded of me to think, OK, MTV’s putting on an award show, maybe I’ll make a bowl of popcorn and see what’s going on? Maybe Beavis and Butthead will present another award this year.

Why didn’t anybody warn me about what my innocent eyes were about to bear witness to? Did I mention that I’m still horrified? I am. And disgusted. Disgusted. I’ve brushed my teeth like twenty times already and I can still taste that throw-up taste in the back of my throat. Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past twenty-four hours, trying not to think about the indecency that went down, fighting the images popping up in my head, and dry heaving as I transitioned from rocking in the corner to lying fetal position under the bed.

I couldn’t face the light, not after the VMAs, not before I had a chance to call my pastor. Several pastors. How can I look the world in the eye? How can I walk out of my house and pretend like everything’s OK, like what happened on Sunday night didn’t happen?

I didn’t even know twerk was a word. And it’s bad enough as a word, as letters on a page. But the action to which it’s referring to? Hold on, there’s that throw up again. I can’t. I can’t talk about Miley Cyrus anymore. I didn’t know that human bodies were capable of such … I shouldn’t. It’s just … oh man. I’d better call my pastor. Out of everything that I’ve seen in my entire life, that Miley Cyrus dance was definitely the most outrageous. There’s nothing in this life that could have upset me more than watching that woman do what she did on stage. Even in the darkest crevasses of my mind, I’m unable to come up with any scenario, real or imagined, that comes close to equaling even half of the depravity evidenced upon that stage.

And let’s talk about NSYNC. You call that a reunion? That was it? I’ve always been a huge NSYNC fan. It’s probably one of the only reasons why I decided to watch this year’s VMAs in the first place. I kept hearing everybody at work talking about it, “Oh my God! NSYNC is having a reunion at the VMAs!”

But it was just Justin Timberlake singing a bunch of Justin Timberlake songs. And I was like, where’s Lance? Where’s that other guy? I swear when I was thinking about writing this I was able to name three NSYNCers, but it’s slipping my mind right now, jeez, this is kind of embarrassing. Well, I’m just drawing a mental blank, I assure you that I can name three of them. If it comes to me later, I’ll let you know.

And then finally after like fifteen minutes of solo JT, he gets on the stage. He’s like, “You wanted it!” and I was like, “Yes! I want it!” and there they were. NSYNC. But it was just a tease. They sang like one line from two songs, cracked a pose, and that was it, back to the Timberlake one-man show.

I was upset. It was like if I happened to come across two guys in a random bar that I went to high school with. I wouldn’t take out my phone, shoot a picture, post it to Instagram and label it, “High school reunion!” I’m not even entirely convinced that all five of those guys knew exactly what it was they were doing. Didn’t Lance look a little lost? Maybe he just took a wrong turn during the JT performance. Maybe the NSYNC reunion was just a weird coincidence.

And I loved how they cut to One Direction several times throughout the performance, each one of those kids had the same blank expression, the same panicked thought going through their minds: “Jesus Christ. I hope that in twenty years I’m not that guy, the one two to the left of Justin Timberlake. That guy just looks really sad,” before reassuring themselves, “Nah, I’m the real talent of this operation. I am One Direction,” and then they all started smiling that nervous smile again.

But back to the shame. MTV should be ashamed of itself for the “show” it put on Sunday night. But I doubt MTV is capable of such serious self-reflection. No, the US government should shut it down. Congress should pass legislation ensuring that what went down two nights ago never happens again. And everybody involved in the VMAs should be sentenced to life in prison. And Miley Cyrus should be publicly executed. I’m still just so … just so shocked. Shocked.

I really miss Jersey Shore

The other night at the restaurant one of my coworkers said to me, “Hey Rob, check out table six. It’s like Jersey Shore over there,” and I was like, “Huh? What?” and he was like, “Table six. Jersey Shore,” and I did what I always do when I don’t understand something for the second time in a row, I fake a smile, totally pretending that not only did I understand, but I really got it, and I start like nodding in approval, maybe throwing in a convincing fake laugh.

But it bugged me, not getting what he was talking about, so I took a stroll by table six and I saw them, the customers, the giant haircuts, the bronzed skin, the Ed Hardy t-shirts. And I was like, oh, Jersey Shore, GTL, cabs are here, t-shirt time, smush room, Jersey Shore. So I smiled to myself, because I got it, I got what my coworker was talking about. I always like knowing what’s going on, getting people’s jokes. But then I got really sad, because why didn’t I get that joke immediately? Are we that far removed from Jersey Shore already? Since when did Pauly D and the gang become completely irrelevant?

jersey shore

It feels like it was just yesterday, MTV started this new reality show that turned into a cultural phenomenon almost overnight. Everybody was talking about Snooki, about the Situation, about these seven Italian Americans sharing a small house right on the beach. The New York Times, The New Yorker, all of my favorite newspapers and magazines were printing write-ups on the show’s success, examining its impact on our culture, exploring the myriad ways in which this unique group of people liked to party and show off on TV.

They went to the gym. That was something they did. Although the Situation claimed his abs were the highlight of the group’s physical fitness, none of them were really out of shape, and Ronnie was bigger than the Incredible Hulk. They tanned. That was another thing they did. They tanned on the beach, they supplemented their natural vitamin D intake by spending time at tanning salons. They did their laundry, like every day. When they said “fresh to death,” they meant it, like I think it was kind of a threat, a way of saying, if these t-shirts aren’t fresh, we’ll kill you.

And now it’s over. It’s beyond over. The Jersey Shore sensation burnt so bright yet so fast that there’s nothing left. Which is kind of sad. Is this how life gets? You get older, things get cool, but then all of the sudden they’re not cool, and you’re stuck here on your computer, thinking about when it was cool, wondering, is it me? Am I just not getting it?

For a while I thought it was just going to be this never ending ride straight up, getting better and better each season. They went to Jersey. They went to Miami. Back to Jersey. Italy. Holy shit Italy was awesome. Remember that time Sammy punched Ronnie in the face? “Are you friends with her?” “Yes.” Punch. That wasn’t like a frustrated little slap. That was like, I’m looking for a specific answer from you, I’m also conscious of the fact that everything we say and do is being filmed, yet I cannot contain the rage boiling inside, and so I’m going to punch you in the face as hard as I can.

Man, I haven’t thought about Jersey Shore in probably close to a year now. The theme song started playing in my head, “Get crazy, get wild,” but that was it. I think I forgot the rest of the lyrics already. “If you wanna have fun we’ll do something …” was that it? Really?

Are they still technically famous? How long do you have to be out of the public eye to not be considered famous anymore? If Vinnie, or even better, if Angelina were to come into my restaurant, would anybody say anything? Would she say anything? Would she act like a celebrity? Man, that’s got to be tough, to be the focus of such intense public scrutiny, and then like two years later it’s just back to being some regular person.

They’ve got to bring it back. They should do it sooner rather than later. The whole series was never given a chance to rest and mature while it was popular. They were sent from city to city, chasing summers around the globe, unrelenting in their partying. Usually it takes like ten years for a reunion to come up, naturally, organically, but I don’t think we need that with Jersey Shore. It’s been a year, everybody forgot about them, and TV is suffering. The Jersey Shore is trying to bounce back from the hurricane, right? What better way to introduce the comeback than by getting the gang back together?

If not then, guys, does anybody want to hang out sometime? I’m down to party, you know, now that you’re not famous anymore. It’s not weird for me to ask, right? Now that you’re just regular? Let’s do it, I’ll buy some beer, I have Can Jam, that would be fun, right? Guys?