Friday, August 06, 2010

Housewives of the Jersey Shore

Ah, I've done it again. I began this blog by heading off in one direction and then wandering off in another. There is a connection, but it might be a little hard to tell at first. See if you can connect the dots.

Let's start at the beginning:

My cat, Spirit, seems to enjoy staring at walls. He does it a lot, and with such concentration I would give anything to know what he sees or thinks he sees there, or what his motivations might be. Usually this is done relatively calmly, as though pondering some weighty philosophical issue. But frequently he will race madly around the apartment and dash to a corner where, screeching to a halt with his face no
more than three inches from where the two walls meet, he will stare up at God-knows what and "me-owl" at the top of his considerably powerful lungs, then suddenly break off the stare, spin around and dash off into another room at full tilt.

To say one doesn't understand cats is rather redundant. But I fear the same can be said of an awful lot of people as well. I never cease to be amazed at how many of them, too, seem to spend so much time staring...figuratively if not walls and often making a great do-do about nothing. Well, let's modify that to "nothing that I can even remotely understand."

I freely admit that I probably watch too much TV. My pattern/routine/rut is such that after spending most of the day writing, I stop at 5:30 for the evening news and then spend between 6:00 and 10:00 wandering across the vast TV landscape trying to find something to catch and hold my interest. I guess in that regard, I might have something in common with Sprit and walls. But I at least try to defend myself by saying I prefer programs which involve at least a smidgen of involvement on my part. And I'll also admit that the "smidgen" occasionally dominates...I'm not above, if the programming landscape is particularly barren, watching an episode of "Cops" and I rather like "Hell's Kitchen" and "Top Chef" on the grounds that they are interestingly informative even though I neither cook nor eat much.

But I convince myself that those programs are profound when compared to the likes of the wildly if inexplicably popular "Jersey Shore" and "Housewives of Name-a-City". While I have never watched a single episode of either program and would have to be forced at gun point to do so, their ubiquitous trailers are inescapable. Both programs seem to delight in glorifying stupifyingly unwarranted vanity, infuriating arrogance and the glories of utter idiocy. And while I have to admit that "Jersey Shore" does provide some attractive eye candy--Warning: digression follows!--beauty only goes so far.

(Digression: the men--or, if you're so inclined, the women--on "Jersey Shore" remind me of an exchange overheard many years ago in an L.A. bar: "Take a look at that guy! He's incredible!" "Yeah, but I'll bet he doesn't have a brain in his head." "That's okay. I didn't come here to f**k brains!")

But while with "Jersey Shore" one can turn the sound down and just concentrate on the eye candy, from what I've been able to tell, the only conceivable attraction of "The Housewives of Name-a-City" is to see what obscene amounts of money can do to people who otherwise have absolutely no reason to exist. As I said, I've only seen the trailers for the show, but as I race to change the channel, my overwhelming desire is to slap those obnoxious, disgusting poseurs silly and hand them a one-way ticket to Darfur.

And to yank us all back to the point where this blog began, let me tie a neat bow with the observation that whatever Spirit sees by staring at the walls has to be better than "The Housewives of Jersey Shore."

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