October 27, 2003
MTV's Sunday Stoopid

Boyz.jpgTuning into last night's "Sunday Stew" lineup of new shows on MTV, one was treated to the moronic adolescent behavior we've come to expect from the network that contributed "Frog Baseball" and Chris Hardwick to the culture.

There were instances of taunting hyenas with meat, punching a jolly fat man in the face repeatedly, stomping around Las Vegas hotels in flip-flops and baggy basketball shorts, and taunting a 15-year-old until she cried. What was striking though, was that instead of all these antics being acted out by particularly destructive 13-year-old boys, we were treated to these delights from adult men, some of whom were over 30 years old. If Christopher Noxon of the Times' Style section hadn't already dubbed such men-boys 'rejuveniles' back in August, we might refer to them by the name of the show that spawned them: Jackasses.

Forget Ashton, and his nauseating shouting and mugging on Punk'd (seriously, try to forget him—it'll make it so much easier when he's on VH1's Where Are They Now in two years), the biggest Jackasses of all were Steve-O and Chris Pontius, or as they're called when they're stripped naked together, Wild Boyz.

The premise of Wild Boyz is simple yet strangely compelling: let's set two complete idiots loose in some wild terrain with some wild animals and see what happens. Ripping a page—or two, or three, or all of them—from the short-lived, but infinitely better series Fishing With John, the show combines totally uninformed animal husbandry with straight-faced nature program voice over: It's like a National Geographic special hosted by The Three Stooges.

Over a decade old now, Fishing With John was hosted by eighties downtown scenester and indie movie dude John Lurie with a revolving cast of grizzled hipster eminences like Tom Waits, Willem Dafoe, and Dennis Hopper and brought some laid-back "cool daddy" cool to what was essentially a boring genre, the fishing show. (Highlights on the Criterion DVD include Tom Waits and John Lurie trying to catch a shark using Jarlsberg cheese and a gun and Willem Dafoe asking John very sweetly if maybe they should zip their sleeping bags together for warmth while camping on a frozen lake for ice fishing.) In contrast, the zingiest banter between Steve-O and Pontius runs along the lines of "Oh, man!" "Yeah, dude!" It's like MTV has gone back to square one.

Yes, a sure way to date yourself is to complain that MTV is stupid and juvenile and tell everyone you liked it soooo much better when Remote Control was on and Kennedy walked the earth, but seriously, I expect a little better from MTV. If they keep this up, I might have to start watching A&E and we don't want that, do we?

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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