Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trash TV

Tell me it’s not true... first came the cancellation of the reality extravaganza starring the great and humble humanitarian Gene Simmons, and now comes word that Snooki, The Situation, and the rest of their sleaze-ball friends will no longer be strutting their stuff on MTV’s “The Jersey Shore.”*

Oh, the humanity...

But do not despair, rabid fans of these most unreal of reality shows – as luck would have it, Snooki and something called “JWoww” have been awarded a second season of their equally wonderful spinoff show.

See, maybe there really is a God... but if so, She really must hate us.

What astonishes me about Simmon’s show is that it lasted on the air for seven seasons. Maybe I should have watched it, because my only previous exposure to Simmons was his 2002 interview on the public radio show “Fresh Air.” Follow the podcast link if you want, but there is no interview at the end of that cyber-rainbow because Simmons refused to release the interview for internet broadcast. Maybe that’s because his behavior on air was that of a lout, a bully, and a crudely arrogant misogynist. I heard the broadcast over the air, and at one point Simmons told the show’s female host that she should just spread her legs for him as so many other women had done during his career touring with Kiss -- because that’s what women do for the great Gene Simmons.

I’m not sure any degree of musical genius could make up for such behavior – not even Jimi Hendrix or Miles Davis would be forgiven for such crude on-air statements – but given that Kiss is just a glorified garage band whose only real talent was (and is) wearing outrageous costumes on stage, I’m not sure what fuels Simmon’s chrome-plated sense of self esteem.

But hey, it takes all kinds.  If nothing else, Gene Simmons serves as an object lesson of how not to behave beyond the garbage-strewn boundaries of one’s own personal Neanderthal Man Cave.

As for Snooki and Company... what can I say?  That “Jersey Shore” was by far MTV’s most popular and successful show says much about our society and culture, none of it laudable.** But in a world already inhabited by the likes of Jerry Springer and Maury Povitch, there will always be an audience ready, eager, and waiting for such shows.

 That’s American TV for you, a movable feast with a little something for everyone.

And so these two sterling examples of post-millennial Trash TV pass on through the media sphincter to drop on the steaming dung heap of television history, where the buzzing flies already have all they can handle.  But don’t worry, folks, if past is prologue -- and it always is in the world of television -- there’s a lot more where that came from.

* For reasons I do not understand, I've been unable to embed single-word hypertext links to articles at The Hollywood Reporter for the past couple of weeks.  I don't know if this is a Blogger issue or if THR has employed some kind of blocking code to prevent such links.  The latter makes no sense at all, since those links are meant to send readers to their on-line magazine -- people who might otherwise never check it out. Whether any of you actually bother to follow those links remains the deepest of mysteries to me, but anyone curious about the Gene Simmons and Jersey Shore pieces can click on the following URLs:

 **  Nearly ten million viewers at its high point -- a truly jaw-dropping statistic...


Niall said...

Reality TV is the Nero of our times. Though I doubt it would be a fiddle this time round.

Michael Taylor said...

Niall --

Reality TV certainly is a window into the soul of our culture... and the view it provides is as sobering as it is depressing.

Thanks for tuning in...