Respect Authority


An Open Letter to The Situation

Filed Under: TV


"Who's got two thumbs and no self-esteem? This guy."

Dear Situation,

You don’t know me, but I know you. I mean, not personally, God no, but from television, like everyone else. I’ve been watching your journey along with the rest of the MTV generation and now that your second tour of duty has come to a close, I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you, stuff I’ve been keeping inside, stuff I think you should know.

To start, I should say—I know it must have been weird growing up with that face. Not, I want to clarify, that I’m saying you’re ugly. I’ve definitely seen worse. But let’s not lie to ourselves here—you could have a 24-pack and walk around shirtless every day and I’d still notice the face. It’s weird, sort of like Droopy Dog would look if he was 20 (dog) years younger and, you know, human.

So I have to imagine that growing up, pre-abs and pre-fame, the face was a point of contention for you. In my mind’s eye, you weren’t a bad kid. In fact, you were probably pretty nice. Probably the kind of boy that until about middle school—when we all become aware of things like brand-name clothing and the opposite sex—spent a lot of time with his parents, playing board games. But we all grow up, we all fell victim to the predatory advertising campaigns of JNCO jeans and Adidas jackets. We all had our Sandy-from-Grease moment, when we realized the good was the enemy of the popular, and board games are for losers.

The Situation I see on Jersey Shore is, I have to imagine, worlds away from that person you used to be. He’s worlds away from the person you were just a few years ago, when you and a handful of strangers traipsed into a mediocre house in Seaside Heights, totally unaware that in a few months’ time you’d be famous beyond belief. Sure, you had already made up a stupid nickname for yourself and fed MTV b-roll of you flashing your abs at hapless women in bars. But you were still an innocent, still just a dopey young adult from Jersey with goals about as lofty as getting laid, once.

It’s only in the last few weeks of Jersey Shore’s second season that I see how far you’ve fallen. Berating girls who won’t sleep with you, antagonizing your roommates, proudly attempting to steal your friends’ love interests, starting blatantly unnecessary arguments, straight-up lying. Your latest appearances on television show a situation/Situation spinning out of control; I see someone who’s so obsessed with maintaining his fame and reputation that he forgot why he became famous in the first place.

And this is an important distinction, Sitch. Yes, we all laughed at your nickname; yes, we appreciate your pandering to MTV’s need for sound bites. And yes, we always liked, in some sad voyeuristic way, watching you attempt to get girls, which grew admittedly easier once you all moved to Miami and were able to capitalize on your fame. But in truth, the reason we always liked you, or at least the reason I did, was because it never 100% seemed like a television show to you. If it was just a television show, you wouldn’t need to cook dinner for everyone. You wouldn’t need to smooth over arguments that, if anything, MTV would have probably preferred get even more out of hand. Despite all of your faux machismo, it was always painfully obvious to viewers that you kind of really did care.

Which is why it’s been so hard to watch you this season. You see, you’re famous for being a guido, and an asshole, but you’re liked for being you, a guy who cares about his friends, and cares what people think of him. Because let’s be honest: You do care. You care so much it’s almost painful to watch.

The difference is, you won’t always be famous. It may seem like it now, with the cash and the offers rolling in. But it won’t last; in fact, it’ll probably be over before you know it. And when that day comes, you’ll wish you had focused more on being liked, or at the very least on not being hated. You’ll wonder whether it was in your best interest to boot a girl from your house at 5 a.m., or start a fight over a rumor you made up, or shout obscenities at people you consider your friends. You’ll see that in the narrative arc of your reality-TV life, you went from douchebag with a heart of gold, to just douchebag.

And the thing is, when all the fame disappears and you’re left with the remnants of your brief wealth and a dwindling series of offers from ever-lamer “Where are they now” reality-TV documentaries, you’ll still have that face. And you’ll wish you had listened to me.



12:41 PM on October 22nd, 2010 | 

Posted by kira

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