Snooki vs Actual Comedy

It's like poetry... that makes you want to kill yourself.

May 2, 2011

Okay, I didn’t think the last article would make me think so hard about something that I had never intended to pursue further. No, I’m not talking about Ayn Rand and the idea of Objectivism as a path to a real Utopia.

Are the cast members of Jersey Shore comedic geniuses?

I posted a link to several videos where some cast members of The Importance of Being Ernest read lines from the show in-character. They often delivered said lines with a straight face, often with a bit of irony, but otherwise it was like watching Sir Ian McKellen do lines from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Anyway, take a look at the first of five videos below.

Okay, a few things. The lines as delivered are hilarious. Why? I’ve heard these same lines from clips of Jersey Shore and I have no desire to watch the show. However, I would love to watch these two do more lines like this. Why? What’s the difference? Why is one funny and the other infuriatingly bad?

I once took a class on comedy. While it killed my ability to really find anything funny for six months since I kept asking myself, “Why is this funny?” it did help me analyze literature, film, and television in a way I hadn’t considered. Also, everything is somehow a phallus or about sex.

Mel Brooks once said that tragedy is when he cuts his finger because it matters to him. Comedy is if you fall into an open manhole and die. What does he care? Comedy, then, would seem to be a matter of empathy. If we don’t care about the jerk and something bad happens to him, we laugh. If we care about the jerk, then the comedy is gone. Think of a bad horror movie where you don’t like the white college students who go investigating every noise. When they get hacked into cat food, you actually laugh.

Well, I do anyway.

Jersey Shore by ~XhereXforXtomorrowX on deviantART

I looked up a few more quotes from the show and tried to imagine them being said by these two gentlemen. Needless to say, I think they highlight why empathy is lost on these tanned wastes of genetic material. Observe the wisdom of Jersey Shore.

Mike “The Situation”: You can hate on me all you want to, but what can you possibly say to somebody that looks like Rambo, pretty much, with his shirt off.

What can I say? Let’s see. “You’re a conceited prick who is hinging other people liking him based on his abs.” Oh, and Rambo was a Special Forces badass who was wronged by the government and went on to kill entire armies with a knife. How badass does drinking vodka make you, MIKE?

Angelina: I feel like this job is beneath me. I’m a bartender. I do, like, great things.

While bartenders do great things in the sense that they get me my drink at the bar, I wouldn’t say they do “great” things. Necessary, sure, but they’re not heroes. And I have full contempt of anyone who still says “like” in casual conservation. Yes, I’m a linguistic snob. Sue me.

Snooki: Every time I meet a nice guy, he dies. It’s the same with every pet, friend or relative I’ve ever had. EVERYONE DIES! Next it’s gonna be me. Its all just a big conspiracy!

One of the surest ways to spot a narcissist is to see how he or she reacts to events. When the deaths of others and their misfortunes are seemingly your fault no matter how removed you might have been from the event, that is narcissism. The only way she could be responsible for their deaths is if some being with the power over life and death were targeting her.

Mike “The Situation”: To call me fake, it’s just blasphemy to talk against the leader like that, in other countries you get hung for that type of shit.

I would never call The Situation fake. Shallow as a puddle of dog piss, yes, but not fake.

Snooki: I don’t go tanning anymore because Obama put a 10% tax on tanning. I feel like he did that intentionally for us, like McCain would never put a 10% tax on tanning… because he is pale and he would probably wanna be tanned.

Please see my previous note on narcissism.

Said in the right tone, these lines might work for comedy, but here’s the thing.

The cast members on Jersey Shore are stuck up jerks who respond to the most basic principles and seem, at least from what I’ve seen, to actively avoid complex thinking. These are the guys and girls who would join a frat in college just because they want to be close to the party. They think the worst possible things about women, relationships, and people in general.

Jersey Shore Quotes Poster by ~wiigamer024 on deviantART

They’re about as shallow as I’ve ever seen, and I cannot fathom actually watching any of them for more than five minutes, let alone an hour. I remember that television was once about drama, about wit, and comedy made of carefully timed situations. I remember that WRITERS were involved once.

When did we accept that just following people was interesting? Sure, some shows like Dirty Jobs, Pawn Stars, and others are actually interesting because the people we follow are, well, interesting. The parodies are funny because they point out how silly the cast members on Jersey Shore can be. Beck was funny until we realized he was being dead serious. A murder is no laughing manner, unless it’s a movie murder delivered in a highly ironic way to a character I feel nothing for. Real idiots are not funny. Fake idiots pointing out the comedy in someone actually thinking this is acceptable, though, are hilarious.

It just goes to show two things I’ve said for a long, long time. Real life is often the source of the greatest material for stories.

Also, we pay way too much attention to the idiots in society. Stop feeding them and they’ll go away or die.

Oscar wilde. Artist by ~Hallaserke on deviantART

Enough of that. Let’s get some links up in this!

  • Cracked has a scale on the good and bad side of song covers. I think the same could apply for literature. Want to make a fairy tale into a gritty cyberpunk tale? It could work. Want to take that beloved science fiction story in your head and turn it around into a steampunk noir adventure story? Have at it!
  • And finally, we have the new trailer for the last Transformers movie destroyed by Michael Bay. Just based on this promo, I can at least see some of the action instead of trying to make out colored blurs, but I’m not sold yet. I’m going to wait for it to come out, then see the response. Thoughts?

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