Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I have ranked the top 68 television shows of the '00s, and will be presenting them, one-by-one, starting with 68 and working down. The rankings are more or less based on the show's popularity, it's cult status, it's critical acclaim, and my personal liking of it, with a heavy dose of arbitrariness added in. If a show was a big enough phenomena, I'll keep it on the list - but if I don't like it, I may drop it some spots. One other caveat - these are primetime shows (I apologize if I put a cable show that wasn't, I thought they were all primetime shows - the main point of this is just that no talk shows, no Colbert and Daily show that would be on otherwise).

28: Jackass


I had maybe for a second questioned the staying power of Jackass before the last couple of months, but if I had, I had made a huge mistake - it had been four years since the last Jackass movie, but Jackass 3-D went off without a hitch - grossing 130 million so far with a boffo opening weekend win.

The show itself, it's hard to believe (it was hard for me to believe when I saw it) only lasted two seasons - from 2000-2002. The series' stars - most notably Johnny Knoxville, but also Steve-O and Bam Margera became household names (at least in households having people under the age of 30) and even got their own spinoffs - Viva La Bam about Margera and co. (which I knew about) and four (four! - Dr. Steve-O - who turns "wussies into men" for all of 7 episodes,Blastazoid, which beat that with only 2 episodes aired, Homewrecker, with 8 episodes, kind of a Jackass-meets-Extreme Home Makeover take off, and the actually successful Wildboyz, which was kind of more Jackass, post-Jackass, except with wild animals, with Steve-O and Chris Pontius). There were only 25 half hour episodes of Jackass! To have the kind of impact it had with so few episodes is incredible (though to be fair it's with the help of now three movies, each of which has grossed more than its predecessor).

Jackass has a what in some ways has always struck me as strange so-stupid-it's-brilliant-art type stigma (or I guess stigma has a negative implication (though some might thing arty is negative too) we'll presume some sort of positive stigma can exist for these purposes) - Jackass 3D debuted oddly enough at the Museum of Modern Art and counts Spike Jonze among its producers.

The premise is simple - the show is a bunch of people performing stunts on themselves, leading to injuries, and hopefully, hilarity. Some stunts from just the third film include - playing tetherball with a beehive, launching Steve-O in the air while he is inside a portable toilet, pulling a tooth out with a Lamborghini, and using super clue to take off chest hair.

These things were of course not acceptable to stodgy politicians - who deemed them poor moral examples for today's youth - unsurprisingly, video game lovers most hated politician Joe Lieberman was at the forefront. It was rather insubstantial in the long run though.

I admit, I don't really get it. I feel like an old person saying this, but yeah, it just seems pretty dumb. I'm not going to go so far as to claim it could never be entertaining in short spurts, or that some of the pranks couldn't be amusing, but more or less I did miss the boat here. It's bound to happen though, that you don't get on board with cult pop culture items (obviously Jackass is more than a cult, but the point remains) - god knows I never could figure out what's so great about Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Alas, it's a thing, and a big one, and I at least appreciate their pushing the boundaries of what can be shown on TV, anyone who does that gets some extra credit in my book.

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