SummaryThe crass is always greener on the other side of the fence, you know, the side that is full of money
The GoodThe Simpsons is way better than Family Guy for one important reason: the Simpsons is funny because it uses humor in its comedy. The Family Guy has none of that. Comedy requires timing and wit; the Family Guy requires no timing nor wit, and in fact thrives on the absence of it. Superfluous cultural references and stretching a joke so far past its limit into awkward silence to illicit laughter does not make for good humor.
You know, this reminds me of the time… *BEGIN FLASHBACK* (Peter Griffin is watching TV; the Simpsons are on. ) Peter Griffin: “Hey, I can do that, but better! Only my show will be easier to laugh at because it won’t need to be funny!” (I know that’s a stone’s throw away from the Anna Nicole show tagline, but look where she is now.)
That’s right, things have gotten easier over the years. Popular music has evolved from people who can sing well to people who can’t sing well to people who don’t sing at all. Dancing to popular music has evolved from performing learned moves with a partner to dancing freestyle with a partner to dancing freestyle by yourself to dressing up like a slut and not even moving.
Humor is just that way. For something to be funny now, it doesn’t need humor, it just needs to be crass. Being crass is the idea that you perceive some kind of visible line drawn in the moral code of the fabric of society, and cross it. It’s being the rebel that dares to invoke the taboo. In some instances there is a degree of social commentary that provides an artistic purpose and is contextually correct, as South Park does so well from time to time; however, the biggest joke in that case is the fact the people will watch episode after episode of the crappiest and cheapest animation to produce.
This is exactly the case for Jackass. This old MTV show is based on the premise that rich white American boys who have never fought in a war perform cruel stunts upon themselves and each other to prove their bravery. These nihilist young men use their youth and immaturity to inspire and blame their actions which aren’t just stupid, but extremely stupid.
You’ll laugh your ass off. Yes you will. And it’s all because it’s not humor, it’s crass. The geniuses at MTV aren’t sitting on a mountain of cocaine for nothing. They know that makes good TV. You’ll notice on a second viewing that the camera spends as much time on other members of the Jackass crew as they do on the “young, dumb, and full of cum” lame-wad doing the stunt; that’s because their reaction and laughter is even more important than the stunt. They trick you into being part of the gang, so when you laugh at that idiot there’s a bunch of guys to laugh along.
This is buddy humor: one doesn’t laugh because it’s witty or smart, one laughs because it’s cruel. Chicks won’t ever learn. See, when you go out drinking and your friend had too much and is sick, you’re not supposed to comfort them as they yak into the toilet. You’re not supposed to hold their head and hand them a tissue. No, you’re supposed to laugh at them when they barf. Laugh and point. Teabagging isn’t just restricted to FPS’s. State of the art light-weight cameras are installed on your cell phone so that you can take a picture of your testicles nestled upon your buddy’s forehead when he’s passed out unconscious..
Funny? Milk out of nose funny. Humor? This is Peter Sellers if he was restricted to only express himself with bottle rockets and horse semen. This is funny without humor.
The BadThe previous discussion was required to describe what kind of phenomenon Jackass is, and to explain how it has become a bad licensed game. Really bad. A collection of mini-games presented as a party game is useless and not fun if they are all bad, frustrating, pointless but most of all not funny.
That’s the worst crime of all: if you can’t be witty, smart, expressive or emotive, well as least be funny. This of course includes being crass. However, this game isn’t even crass. Having been released years after Jackass was even relevant to unimportant demographics like people over 39, the rehashed stunts look quaint and nostalgic. It’s a sure sign of the Pop-calypse when MTV has become your granddad.
It’s not hard to be crass. But what was crass 10 years ago isn’t crass now, and I would venture it is getting harder and harder to meet the crass needs of today’s ravenous young. This sentimental ode to retching and testicle kicking is worsened by the fact that Jackass: The Game has no soul or character, and has only two redeeming values:
1) Bam Margera, having lent out his likeness to another game, does not appear. If you didn’t know, Mr. Margera is superior to his fellow Jackasses because if you kick him in his vagina it won’t affect his non-existent testicles. Mr. Margera is not worth raping in jail because he’d enjoy it so much he’d convince you to leave your baby’s mother. Hey man, if your way to trick chicks into having sex with you is by crying, who’s to say that’s wrong?
2) An unlockable VO movie that shows Steve-O as an old, old man reminds us gamers of the redeeming value of life. It’s apparent he has partied several life times worth of cocaine and easy women and that now his greatest joy in life is to experience a regular bowel movement and a nice nap. Steve-O deserves a most glorious death, not the tepid mediocrity he seems destined for. Do not go gentle into the good night!
Because I believe in constructive criticism, I will now outline a game treatment I just thought of that will be true to Jackass, hilariously crass, and a perfect party game for white kids in middle America with disposable income (the MTV crowd):
Jackass: The Game by lasttoblame
This is an adventure game of the traditional point and click variety. You play as one of the Jackasses in somebody’s middle-class suburban home. The whole Jackass crew is there, and there are daring you to pull a stunt within the allotted time. The objective is to discover the most outrageous thing you can do with the items you are provided. Remember those crazy inventory puzzles that had to attach mice to brooms to open doors? Well, in this case it’s to create the most disgusting substance for someone to ingest, or to find the most outrageous place to put your penis into. Points are awarded for the biggest laugh, bonus points per square meter of surface area covered with bodily fluid. Needless to say, a lot of R and D would be spent on puke texture mapping and crotch kicking collision detecting.
Fuck! Is it so hard?
The Bottom LineJackass wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t “moral” line in the sand to cross; but as there is, the factions on both sides use this border just use it to polarize society and make dough off you. The Jackass gang aren’t just idiots, they’re very rich idiots.