Revisiting Jackass (Or, A Relentless Addiction)
A Relentless Jackass Addiction (and Exactly Why Everybody Else Should Love it Too), by Elfy Scott
Nearing the end of last year I found myself in what may only be described, in the most concise term, as an existential rut. The arts degree I was lethargically scraping through, largely on the back of my expert grasp of the right–click synonym option on Microsoft Word, had me feeling a lot more like an asshole and less like Nietzsche than I had originally envisioned. As any sane individual or marketing executive can easily recognise, there are few more susceptible to full-blown reality television addictions than those whose own realities are compromised by utter delusion, appreciation of white-trash foods and general depression. Thus, it was with a fell swoop of inevitability that I was to develop the most devout and fervent appreciation of Jackass, which, as far as I’m concerned, remains the crowning jewel of any program MTV has ever produced (Sixteen and Pregnant being a close second).
While my irrational fantasies of becoming extremely famous on the basis of very little talent were being quashed in the sea of intellectual mediocrity that is any sociology department, I became thoroughly devoted to watching far more attractive people achieving what I could not…except with shit; a lot of shit. The fact is, Jackass, by pure chance, stumbled across a perfect equilibrium in their television show – as well as their films – which continues to appeal to this day to the masses. However, no more so than the sort of bottomed-out individual, such as yours truly, found this combination such an appealing and convenient addiction; it supplies a relentless atmosphere of fun between genuine friends (for those who have few), violence (for those who crave it), humour (for those who need it) and goddam raw sex appeal (for those nursing an old testament forty-years-in-the-desert type dry spell).
The success of Jackass isn’t purely founded on Johnny Knoxville having taught the majority of women in my generation to feel lady feelings, nor is it solely a sadistic venture- although admittedly, had the Jersey Shore crew begun stapling the webs of each others hands, they may well have survived past their August cancellation this year. The films remain successful for their exploitation of a quiet collective nostalgia, not only for the hardcore fucking around of our own adolescence but also its depiction of the ideals of an era, far less adulterated than our own, where men were men (and made sure others were as well, by beating the shit out of each other). The Jackass crew was born of an era where morons weren’t yet sought out to carry a concept dreamt up by a television executive looking to make a fortune, rather, they have their foundations in a modest skating publication called Big Brother and were sought out by MTV for a concept they’d happily practiced beforehand anyway- notably, tasing each other and jumping off roofs; the fortune they made was almost entirely incidental.
It’s essentially impossible not to feel a mingled surge of utter admiration and outrageous jealousy when one considers exactly how these men have built their rampantly successful careers; let’s all think about this for just a moment, Dave England gets paid large amounts of money to shit. One can almost account for the prosperous vocation of his ass in a chronicle of charming character development whereby he began shitting in the most humble of places such as vans full of other crew members and bathroom display stores to acting as an enema-induced shit volcano set amongst a toy landscape in Jackass 3D. While the rest of us are decaying inside under the fraudulent smiles of customer service, Chris Pontius strips down to g-string (one of a plethora the man must own), dances to the Party Boy anthem, wreaks havoc on the stability of the average heterosexual male and makes women communally swoon (well, as my imagination would have it). Speaking of which, if there were to be a channel produced solely dedicated to Chris Pontius’ ass, I strongly suspect a large cult following would blossom immediately.
Simply stated, I honestly believe Jackass; the glorious revolution of television that it is, has valuable lessons to teach that speak of unconditional friendship, success (yes, perhaps despite ineptitudes of refined talent or intellect), a refusal to take life too seriously and that if you too were to swallow your friends vomit in an omelet, a distinct possibility exists that you may escalate to unimaginable heights of fame… no, really, don’t do that (unless you think it may be particularly funny). I admit that perhaps my admiration is not healthy and as far as my addiction is concerned, simply writing this article is straight back down the rabbit hole; I have subsequently banned myself from watching all clips related to the Jackass franchise, after having watched the entire Wildboyz collection in a humiliatingly short space of time… and rubbing myself raw. However, I thoroughly encourage the proliferating and continued love for Jackass and not to allow programs such as Jersey Shore to dampen the prospects of trash television in everybody’s minds because we have already seen the potential; we have seen a hog eat an apple out of Preston Lacy’s butt cheeks, Steve-O catapulted into the air strapped into a Portaloo full of shit and more catastrophic pounds to testicles than we once thought possible; never give up on that dream.
And, as 60% of top Youtube comments since June 2011 state, Rest In Peace Ryan Dunn.