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Posts Tagged MTV

We’re the Kids in America

Filed Under: TV Reviews

Jesus I'm getting old.

Jesus I'm getting old.

For whatever reason, despite being well outside MTV’s target age demographic, I was really looking forward to Skins. After all, the network knocked it out of the park with Jersey Shore, and I’ve never really given up on stalwarts like The Real World. Let’s just say while everyone was moaning about MTV replacing music videos with scripted shows and reality fare, I was among the few (many?) cheering my support. Besides, what are MTV shows if not extended advertisements for new indie songs you can find (shocker) on MTV-supported Rhapsody.

So it took me a full ten minutes last night to admit something I had hoped wouldn’t be true—Skins is really bad. Having anticipated something like a fresher Gossip Girl, or a My So Called Life 2.0, instead Skins only lived up to the one show everyone has been comparing it to since MTV’s ad barrage started: Undressed. Read More ›

 
kira

12:33 PM on January 18th, 2011 | 

Posted by kira

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An Open Letter to The Situation

Filed Under: TV

the-situation

"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. Read More ›

 
kira

12:41 PM on October 22nd, 2010 | 

Posted by kira

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Bienvenido a Miami

Filed Under: TV Reviews

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I can’t believe it was only six months ago that I wrote my first post on RA about Jersey Shore, when the show was just a few episodes in and the media/pop culture firestorm surrounding it hadn’t yet reached its peak. Oh, how things have changed.

The first episode of the much-anticipated second season premiered on MTV last night, and unless you live under a rock (or are older than 35) you know that the network’s eagerness to get the now-famous cast back on air led them to shoot Season 2 in Miami when it was still snowing buckets on the East Coast.

So far, the geographic change seems at worst harmless, and at best necessary. Since JS Season 1 only ended a few months ago, it would be exceedingly hard to revive the novelty of the show’s first weeks in the same house and at the same bars. Indeed, it’s not such a bad idea to test the legs of the cast—can they be as interesting, or perhaps more interesting, when removed from the very scene that gave the show its name? Answer: yes.

Watching The Situation, Pauly D, Vinny, Ronnie, Sammi, Snooki and JWoww (more on Angelina later) reunite was like meeting up with old friends again, and even though we know many of the cast members have spent the last four months within arms’ length of one-another, it still felt like they were all excited to be re-living the very experience that got them here in the first place. Sort of like how the three months you spend planning the prom (what, you guys didn’t have overanxious female friends in high school?) didn’t manage to undermine the greatness of seeing your peers in evening wear. (Well, that, and the drinking; everyone’s looking forward to the drinking.) Read More ›

 
kira

11:18 AM on July 30th, 2010 | 

Posted by kira

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A Shore Thing

Filed Under: TV Reviews

jerseyshore-450x296To all three readers of Respect Authority, let us extend our deepest apologies. It’s 2010 now, which means a new decade, and a new opportunity to shirk our regular responsibilities in favor of inane blog writing. Consider it my New Year’s resolution. (Well, one of them, third after “Watch less TV” and “Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t end up watching less TV.”) And there’s no better way to start off a new year of witty commentary and reality television snark than with a missive defending MTV’s now infamous Jersey Shore.

I know, I know, I’m weeks late in commenting on the work of sheer genius that is Jersey Shore, but it took a few episodes’ worth of contemplation to really nail down what it is about JS that’s so damn appealing. It’s not just the fights, or the inane commentary, or the inability of men on this show not to use the word “fresh” at least once an episode. I mean, it is all of those things (as well as the fact that JS has become so pop-culture relevant that even die-hard haters of reality TV wonder if they’re missing out) but also many more. Here, in three points, is my defense of Jersey Shore.

1. “When it’s time to party, we will party hard.”
One of MTV’s biggest mistakes when it came to every season of The Real World after San Diego was the show’s slow trajectory away from bar fights and towards passive-aggressive work arguments, or utterly boring in-house pranks. Although Real World was always a forum for (ahem) real-world issues—homosexuality, religion, war—those issues were, and still are, best brought up in a loud club, after a lot of alcohol. At least for television purposes. While several of the more recent Real World seasons (Brooklyn and now-airing D.C. being the most flagrant examples) have devolved into mind-numbing self-righteous and too often sober discussions of political and social qualms, I have yet to hear anyone on the Jersey Shore discuss something other than clothes, hair, drinking, clubbing or sex. The vast majority of the show’s footage is of the roommates at bars (to the point that I’ve learned the names of said bars) or on their own roof deck, wooing unsuspecting (or totally suspecting) young ladies into their altogether normal hot tub. This is the stuff of great television.

2. “Watch the lioness, as she contemplates her next victim.”
Though MTV has always been a master of stereotypes—in a truly meta moment, one of the cast members of Real World D.C. correctly predicted that the last arriving housemate would be “the gorgeous black man” and lamented the lack of a “gay guy”—putting a group of the same stereotype in one house and watching them exist together is nothing short of genius. While much of reality television is founded on the notion of different people coming together and interacting, JS joins people that could have very easily become friends anyway. Indeed, to watch the crew interact is akin to some anthropological study: the ease with which they communicate in their unique language, the guido rituals (gym, tanning, laundry, in that order) to which most of them subscribe, the almost immediate tribe-like bond they form with one another. Though plenty of attention has been paid to the negative connotation of “guido” and the show’s supposed affirmation of this stereotype, I personally find the culture more interesting than laughable.

3. “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
This, above all, is the reason I watch Jersey Shore: Despite their questionable fashion choices, limited vocabulary and utter devotion to hooking up, the cast of JS is, for the most part, kind of likeable. The show’s most annoying roommates–the much-maligned Situation, whose desperation when it comes to lady-hunting is downright cringeworthy; and Sammi “Sweetheart,” whose “I’m the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet” opening-credits line pretty much says it all–are still in my view a rung above even the least annoying people on The Real World. More importantly, they actually seem real. Perhaps by virtue of becoming part of a 20+ year institution, MTV has created something of a monster when it comes to Real World casting: the 20-somethings who ultimately make the cut appear on air with such a sense of self-worth (having made it through umpteen rounds of auditions) that they seem to assume their lives are interesting. By contrast, the Jersey Shore group always seem mildly baffled by their own fame: they’re in it for the sex, free booze and VIP club seating, not to be a part of pop culture history. This is something I can respect.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a fairly big Jersey Shore fan – it’s like the orange-juice concentrate of live-in-a-house-together reality programming, with more hooking up and fighting in one episode than other shows manage in a season. But I think Jersey Shore is a little something extra: it doesn’t create characters by putting otherwise mundane people in a tricked-out house and parading them through overpriced bars and faux careers. Instead, MTV found actual characters, put them in a rather mundane house, and let them handle all the parading. To me, that’s pretty—for lack of a better word—fresh.

 
kira

12:40 PM on January 15th, 2010 | 

Posted by kira

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Hug It Out

Filed Under: Screenshots From Kira's Television

evan-450x243

So it’s getting down to the nitty gritty on MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Duel 2, meaning the only people left are guys on steroids and the girls fortunate enough to be partnered with them. Although this season has been lackluster in terms of competition—the method for choosing who goes into the duel is as much a popularity contest as anything else, and Landon wins every fucking challenge anyway—there’s been a good amount of drama: CT assaulted Adam on day one, Rachel and Jen rekindled a flame ignited in prior challenges, much to the chagrin of Aneesa, who has apparently been hung up on Rachel for nearly a decade. And Brad and Tory are engaged, which isn’t really dramatic (until next week’s episode!) so much as just…weird. Oh, and MJ’s got a child at home, whose college he’s trying to pay for, an altruistic goal he never lets a single cast member (or us as the audience) forget. 

But the real standout this season is Evan, who reminds me of Chunk from The Goonies, if Chunk started weight-lifting in middle school to regain semblance of self-esteem. Indeed, Evan’s “I was at one point in my life fat, a loser or a fat loser” attitude come across as insecurity and paranoia, wrapped in Muscle Milk packaging. Sitting alongside “I’ve tripled in size since my season of the Real World,” Landon, “I’m not always surprised, my eyes are really just this big” Brad and “I’m 37 and still doing challenges” Mark, Evan’s discomfort is palpable — he knows he’s the next kid out in dodgeball, and so do we. 

Which is why it was kind of hilarious to see Evan’s reading material of choice this week - despite MTV’s bizarre and unnecessary attempt to block out the title. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia isn’t exactly the stuff of champions - unless we’re talking about a quilt-making championship, or …a tournament of feelings. Perhaps Evan might be better served by more masculine literature.  Some suggestions? Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,  Maddox’s The Alphabet of Manliness, or Neil Strauss’ The Game. At the very least it would make him look like slightly less of a pussy when he’s laying in bed whining about the woes of the duel.

 
kira

1:23 PM on May 28th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Morning News

Filed Under: Pop Culture

raccoon

Just stay away from its poo.

A BROOKLYN CHILD sustained permanent brain damage, and a teenager lost sight in one eye, after contracting a rare disease transmitted through contact with raccoon feces. The city’s Department of Health is telling parents to be on the alert for so-called raccoon roundworm, which can cause nausea, nerve damage and potentially death. Being “on the alert,” according to the health department, means supervising your children to “keep them from ingesting raccoon feces.” Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than swine flu.

IN TYPICAL “We Hold Our Movie Awards Show About Four Months After Every Other Relevant Movie Awards Show” fashion, MTV announced nominees for annual movie awards, airing May 31. Topping nominations were Slumdog Millionaire and Twilight, taking in six nods each. Indeed, Slumdog lead Dev Patel will go head to head with Twilight star Robert Pattinson for the “breakthrough performance” award, a comparison that pretty much sums up why MTV awards are meaningless.

TWO PEOPLE WERE injured Monday when a car jumped a curb and crashed into the entrance of a Times Square restaurant while filming for an upcoming action movie. Both people were brought to a hospital after being non-fatally injured by the runaway vehicle, part of a shoot for upcoming Nicholas Cage film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Though anyone in Times Square at 1 a.m. on a Sunday is asking for trouble, I don’t think anyone deserves to be hurt for a Nicholas Cage movie.

ALWAYS A BASTION for out-of-touch stories, the New York Times profiled up-and-coming gossip site Wonderwall.com, whose claim to fame seems to be a combination of not slamming celebs (a la Perez Hilton) and scrolling horizontally. The site’s founders, Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun, say they wanted to push celebrity news without being catty (Perez) or dated (People.com), but the result is pretty much just boring.

JUST IN CASE you didn’t resent Wall Street enough already, the Wall Street Journal today outlined the woes of bored New York Stock Exchange traders, displaced by electronic trading and falling action at the beleaguered exchange. While before they could barely find time for lunch, traders these days are spending work time on YouTube, online shopping, solitaire, newspapers, crossword puzzles, naps, or horror flicks in the exchange’s movie room. Oh, the inhumanity.

 
kira

10:16 AM on May 4th, 2009 | 

Posted by kira

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Falling Apart To Half Time

Filed Under: TV Reviews

abdc3America’s Best Dance Crew 3 premiered last Thursday, and at this point MTV has already replayed it so many times that if you even thought about TV in the past four days you’ve probably seen it. I will concede that it is my one vice — aside from “chasing the dragon” from time to time and, of course, Cee-lo — and it sure is a doozy. ABDC3 is, largely, insane. Fuck, even just look at that acronym.

The rules of the contest are easily more complicated than any of the dance moves, and, in fact, after dedicating myself to two seasons already, I still don’t really understand how a given crew eventually wins. My enjoyment of this tacky diversion, presented by Randy “Dawg” Jackson and hosted by the infuriatingly closeted Mario Lopez, relies heavily on the sheer spectacle of it all.

The crews clearly spend more time picking their outfits each week than actually dancing, and one of the judges is a perpetually high Lil’ Mama, who I’m fairly certain is actually the stupidest person to have ever lived, except for possibly everyone else on the show. Nonetheless, the dancing is often quite impressive and like, whatever, so what if I look forward to it every week and might even have a poster of Randy Jackson hanging above my bed. I don’t have to defend myself to you. Read More ›

 
aaron

3:46 PM on January 19th, 2009 | 

Posted by aaron

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How To Afford Bottles of Bub

Filed Under: Music, TV

If someone were to approach me on the street and say “Hey Kira, who do you think are the country’s most successful businessmen?” (these things happen), I might falter in my response. In a panicked moment, I might accidentally say recently-ousted Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld, or you know, that Enron guy. But not until after maybe seven shots of tequila would 50 Cent even begin to cross my mind.

This is why discovering that 50 Cent will soon have a show on MTV, where business-savvy contestants compete for a shot at fame and “huge cash prize” is a complete mindfuck for me. Does Michael Jordan have a show where he teaches aspiring athletes how to play football? Does Kid Rock judge a competition for actually talented musicians?

Perhaps even more ludicrous is that the contestants won’t be competing for the opportunity to work with 50 Cent, but rather each will come to the table with their own business idea, which the $100,000 prize will help the winner pay for. I could maybe see the idea of desperate wannabes duking it out for the mere chance of fetching 50’s coffee (see: I Want To Work For Diddy) but having the rapper judge entrepreneurs on their startup know-how is ridiculous. Exactly what genius business concept did 50 Cent develop and bring to fruition? Getting shot nine times? Riding on Eminem’s coattails? Rapping without fully opening your mouth? I have a sneaking suspicion his ascension had as much to do with sheer luck as entrepreneurial acumen.

I suppose there is something to be said for the fact that he has a show at all, which is consequently starting up around the same time his latest album is released, as will be his new (co-written, which in the world of celebrity means ghost-written) book. But I still can’t imagine what gems of wisdom the world’s future business leaders expect to get from someone who’s songs include “Magic Stick.”

 
kira

11:00 AM on November 7th, 2008 | 

Posted by kira

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