by Jordan Green
It's fall! You know what that means, don't you? TELEVISION. Glorious, life-affirming television. There's Always Sunny in Philadelphia! And NBC's Thursday Night Lineup! And football! And Boardwalk Empire! And...and...it's all too much...[faints]
[Dreams of Oregon crushing Arizona tomorrow]
Ah, but not all of it is pleasant...
I've been a little too rapturous lately in this column, and I thought it was time to take it down a notch by watching the series premiere of H8R, an abortion of a show concept we've complained about before.
But, like the subjects of the show, we were h8ting. I like to think of myself as open-minded, which is why I'm going to watch H8R right now, as I'm typing, and I'm going to live-blog the shit out of it. You can watch along if you'd like.
00:00 - THIS IS OVER FORTY-ONE MINUTES LONG?!? Good night! I'm already regretting this decision.
01:15 - This week, it's Snooki and Jake Pavelka from The Bachelor (aka "the guy who picked the cross-eyed nut job"). I can't conjure up much rancor for Snooki. Her value seems to be making America feel morally and intellectually superior in relation. I watched some of Jake's season of The Bachelor, and he just struck me as an idiot. It's all hosted by Mario Lopez, who ranks second on the list of most unlikable Saved By the Bell alumni. (You know what you did, Haley Mills.)
03:00 - Mario keeps describing Snooki as "controversial". That's a word I'd reserve for things like immigration reform and health care. I think people are either entertained by mocking Snooki or don't care at all. It's not like there's a debate in this country over whether Snooki is good or bad. She just is.
05:03 - And Snooki ambushes the poor schlub who denigrated her on the internets. Apparently, he has no idea about what's about to go down, except he probably had to sign his soul away through all sorts of releases, and he was previously filmed issuing a diatribe about Snooki. It can't be too much of a shocker when she comes in. I mean, he rolls his eyes when he sees her. I don't care how little I dislike a celebrity, I'm still impressed if I see one in person. I could run into Dick Cheney at Zinburger and I'd be like, "NO WAY! AWESOME!"
05:59 - Mario Lopez says the poor schlub is speechless, but he seemed to be pretty talkative in insulting her moments before. Mario Lopez is a tool.
Todd VanDerWerff has an insightful piece on this show over at the AV Club, pointing out how bullying is really dependent on power imbalance. In other words, how could anyone in their right mind watch this and claim the poor schlub is the bully here? This is not justice being served.
A few months ago, a friend of mine wrote an article for CNN criticizing the book Go the F*** to Sleep. It blew up into a big to-do, and my friend got raked over the coals on comment boards and Twitter feeds. While I didn't agree with her opinions at all, the vitriol she faced was alarming, particularly the assumptions detractors made about her political and religious beliefs. So, I mean, I get the vague purpose of this show to some extent. True human interaction breeds understanding and empathy, and the anonymity of the internet is not conducive to true human interaction.
But what's strange here is Snooki doesn't seem to understand she is famous solely because of her unlikable qualities. Jersey Shore exists so people can laugh at a bizarre, superficial subculture. Absolutely no one in their right mind should be watching Snooki's actions and think "I want to be like that." In exchange for acting like a fool, Snooki gets rich and famous, and gets to walk red carpets. No one forced her into this.
06:55 - Oh, man, I'm getting bored. I can't see going through with this whole thing. Though I did enjoy Poor Schlub's unimpressed confusion when Mario Lopez suddenly appeared. If I was playing pool and Snooki showed up to confront me, and then Mario Lopez showed up, I'd be all, "What in the hell is going on here?"
10:00 - Commercial break. I'm reminded that someone is making money off this tripe, and I'm perpetuating that by watching.
I would give anything to see TW web editor Dan Gibson on this show.
11:07 - Our noble protagonists are shopping together. Poor Schlub: (Handing a roll of paper towels to Snooki) "We'll need this to wipe the tan off your face." Snooki: "I will beat the tan off your face!" Nice comeback. Right up there with Churchill's response to Lady Astor.
I'm fast-forwarding. There's a dinner with Poor Schlub's family, and at some point Poor Schlub doesn't hate Snooki anymore, and the world is just that much better. Also, the CW is not shy about throwing full-length ad breaks in here. Yikes.
22:54 - Part 2 features Jake Pavelka. I'm reminded of my primary complaint about reality TV. The pacing is abysmal, every plot point is repeated ad nauseum, and it's all so unrelentingly boring. The good shows, like American Idol and Survivor, are compelling, but I can't believe how much of this is an absolute waste of time.
24:26 - After watching his h8r tell her friend he's a cocky douche, cheated on his fiancee, and might be gay, Jake says, "Man...story of my life." Oh, but then he continues, "...People passing judgment and they don't even know me." Previous to this, Jake Pavelka came out to the pool, pulled off his shirt, did some unnecessary push-ups and flexed his muscles, all of which seem to be pretty emblematic of douchebag-dom. Having celebrities act like cartoonish stereotypes of themselves seems like an odd way to bring healing to the world.
26:24 - Jake starts playfully hitting on his h8r (I think her name is Marci?), but she's a firecracker! I'm impressed they got these people, because, again, if a celebrity I didn't like started hitting on me, I'd still be kind of flattered. "Why yes, I would like visit your chalet in Jackson Hole, Mr. Cheney..."
26:45 - Jake seems remarkably hurt by Marci's reaction to him acting like a total skeez. Wasn't he acting? Or is this just edits? This show is so sloppy and insulting. I really can't take it. And now there's another five commercials. I'm skipping to the end.
26:49 - Oh, HELL no. To skip to the end, I have to watch every single remaining commercial break. There are two left, which means subjecting myself to 15 straight commercials. I've already wasted too much time. I'm out, and I'm leaving with a queasy sense of self-loathing and sadness. In all, H8R is worse than I thought, but more for being boring. The show obviously sides with the celebrities, but not to the extent I thought it would. Before, I might've been more concerned with the message H8R was sending, but now I just want to yawn. I feel no desire to watch again. Unless they put Dan on.