As reality television slowly drags itself into the oblivion, it is safe to say that we, as a country, are pretty much done with MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore.’ The greased-up guido and obnoxious fist-pumping fad came and went but, nonetheless, it did happen: at one point, the show was the highest rated show ever on the channel and was attracting millions of viewers for each episode. Snooki and the rest of the crew became national sensations – each having some sort of spin-off bullshit to keep themselves busy – as Americans obsessively tuned in to find out why whomever was cheating on whomever.
One may ask, why I am making this point? Why the cultural critique of the ‘Jersey Shore’ trend and its deeper implications for what we, as a country, care about? To reiterate what’s been said, who gives a shit about anything related to the show or its stars or me, for that matter?
Well, the point that America has moved on from Snooki as a metaphysical idea ties in well with Presidential go-getter Mitt Romney’s comments yesterday on the ‘Shore’ star, telling America on ‘Live! With Kelly and Michael!’ that he is ‘kind of a Snooki fan.’ If we follow the logical sequence here, it’s clear that Mitt is stuck in the past and, for liking a show that America is over with, not that cool at all. And remember: this election is about likability, not the economy, stupid.
Further more, Romney sounds like that kid in high school who shows up at a conversation with the cool kids during lunch and starts talking about something that was cool, like, ten years ago to impress them. “Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun,” Mitt told Ripa and Strahan. No, Mitt, no it’s not – we realized a while ago that Snooki’s ‘spark-plug personality’ is just really annoying to listen. And yes, America, you are the cool kids; shake your head in shame for this poor fellow’s lack of trendiness.
Ann, on the other hand, is not a Kardashian fan. Using a clever play on words, she told the hosts, “Who can keep up with the Kardashians?” This is true – no one can and, to add to that, no one really should. But, as recent word leaked out on Mitt’s classification of the middle class and him and Ryan’s inability to name tax loopholes they’d cut, the better question is, “Who can keep up with the Romneys?”
The cultural signs that the Republican candidate is out of touch with what America cares about seem to be popping up everywhere (I’d much rather go to a Jay-Z/Beyonce fundraiser than one with Kid Rock as the guest of honor). And this is important: the political and economic indications of disapproval with Romney touch upon policy disagreements and spats with citizens but the cultural side of this all leaks into our living rooms and depicts what we like and talk about on a regular basis. In other words, it’s much more personal to us.
If current poll numbers are telling any closer-to-home narrative this election year, it’s that Obama is much more relatable than Romney to Americans. In terms of television, voters seem to be banking on the fact that they’d have a much more substantial conversation with the President about why Walter White left that damn book from Gale on his toilet seat for the entire world to see in the latest half-season finale of ‘Breaking Bad.’ Or how Louis C.K. does an amazing job of representing the Average Joe’s detachment from modern society. Or even how excited we are for ’30 Rock’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ to come back next week.
To use the analogy from before, once Mitt shows up at America’s table during lunch, talking about how great Snooki is, the country will react exactly like the cool kids. They’ll pick up their lunch trays, move to a different table and loudly make fun of the loser for the rest of the afternoon.
High school (and this election against the quote, unquote “cool” President) is real tough, Mitt.