Trash Diet: Week One
I must admit, I was bad this week. I didn’t adhere to my usually strict diet of trash, meaning: I didn’t watch much TV. Instead, I holed up in my air conditioned bedroom and watched documentaries on my laptop. Decidedly. Not. Trash.
But I knew I had a job to do, and I did get in a bit of “reality” TV this week, just enough to counteract the call to activism that the pro-weed docs (The Union, Grass) stirred in me and the drive to live the inspirational and pared down lifestyle of an adorable, old, art-collecting New York couple (Herb and Dorothy). I’m none the more pretentious is what I’m trying to say.
The theme this week is “Jersey”. New Jersey, that is. “That’s not really a theme,” you might say, “it’s more like a setting.” But you’d be wrong (especially because Jersey Shore takes place in Miami). “Jersey” is a state of mind. It involves screaming, hot tempers, frequent use of terms like “sleep with one eye open” or “watch your back,” overuse of the word “like” and/or a generally limited vocabulary, an over-exaggeration of one’s accent to the point that it requires translation [see figure A], gaudy adornment of one’s body (or baby) [see figures b and c], a puffed-up pride in one’s ethnicity (in this case, Italian), artificial darkening of one’s skin tone [see video], and a hyperbolic proclamation of devotion to one’s family, biological or otherwise. In the last couple of years, this state of mind has contributed to the development of an entirely new sub-genre of “reality” TV.
And it’s probably exactly what you think it is. Scenes like these (click to enlarge):
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Last year, during the mass hoopla over the first season of Jersey Shore, Mike Bruno at Entertainment Weekly (who, as an Italian American, was offended) said, “Reality television has a long history of exploiting idiots for viewers’ entertainment, and in many ways this is just more of the same.”
No shit, Mike Bruno.
Except, are they being exploited? Or do they know exactly what’s going on? The second seasons of both the aforementioned MTV’s Jersey Shore and Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey have both gotten underway. If it could be said that the stars’ idiocy had been exploited during their inexperienced freshman seasons, it’s true that now, they are in full control of how their idiocies are wielded. Kind of.
On both shows characters–and I think we can use that word in both definitions–have either gotten a taste of fame or, if they are not actually members of the cast but have inserted themselves in the life of one or more cast members, are chasing after it.
Never has the latter been more true that with Kim G., a fifty(sixty?)-something, wealthy nut job who has “played both sides of the fence”, in “reality”-speak. She became “friends” with Danielle, a cast member of RHONJ and then “threw Danielle under the bus” after Danielle told her this:
Danielle is disliked by all other members of the cast because she was once, in their words, a “prostitution whore,” plus some other stuff about her being a con artist. The fact that she hangs out with this guy can’t help:
Kim G. told one of these cast members that Danielle wanted to smell her mom (translation: look for her biological mother) and Danielle found out. When Daniel confronted Kim, Kim G. flipped out and this happened:
What are “fakon square tits?” you might think, “breasts made of vegan meat substitute?” No no. That’s just the exaggerated accent I mentioned earlier. Kim G. actually said, “fake and square tits.”
Fame is a bitch prostitution whore. It makes well put together middle-aged women into sadistic, twisted bitches. Daniel was wrong about one thing when he said, “Kim showed her true colors.” These shades of Kim never would have developed had she not been subjected to the artificial TV lighting. Integrity is not printed with archival ink.