Most weeknights, I watch The Simpsons at 6 and 6:30 and then I walk away from the TV. It’s still on, but I’m only barely aware of it in the other room. Monday night, I was cutting up broccoli in the kitchen and heard an auditorium full of people cackling in the other room. No, not an auditorium. A ballroom. As in ballroom dancing. Because it was the season finale of Dancing With The Stars.
I’m open to learning about the things I don’t understand. I read, I Google. I ask questions. I know a ridiculous amount of stuff about Andrew WK once Stephanie posted this noggin-scratchin’ link in a comment. So see, it’s not just the empirically important stuff I’m willing to learn.
With that said, Dancing With The Stars is one of the most useless ways I can imagine spending my time. I have no interest in the former celebrities featured on the program, a negative amount of interest in the dancers they’re paired with, and somebody please tell me why Tom Bergeron is employed at all.
So I didn’t watch it. I flipped channels instead, and since the Barefoot Contessa marathon* doesn’t start until Sunday, I cruised right past the Food Network and somehow landed on MTV.
As far as I’m concerned, MTV has three greatest hits. The Real World (all seasons pre-Hawaii). Daria, obviously. And True Life, because even though it’s not my favorite show or even better than Headbanger’s Ball (v. 1), it’s good because it somehow manages to feature real live people who were not manufactured in the famewhoring asshole facility and therefore would never be cast for The Real World seasons post-Hawaii.
Monday night, True Life was on. The topic was “I’m A Newlywed.”
Now. I have about as much zeal for marriage as I do for herpes. The only difference between the two is that I’ve been married before, but herpes and I have yet to make our acquaintance. I didn’t start watching because of the topic, I started watching because the people who were newlyweds were fairly young and totally in over their heads.
One couple were not only virgins, but even waited until their wedding day to kiss. Clearly, this was not something that applied to me.
The other couple were only slightly older (still too young to get married, but I’m of the position that no one should get married while they still have control over their own bladders), and the female half moved 11 hours away from her hometown in Virginia to live with her new husband in Indianapolis. You could see the first seed of discomfort as they drive away from her parents’ house. She looks like she’s going to throw up, actually. But it’s only mild nausea, like the kind you get after drinking a 6-pack of Smirnoff Ice and then tossing a medium order of McNuggets down your froat (thank you, Michael K). It’s only when she arrives at her new husband’s house that she starts to freak. Now, to her credit, the house is a shithole. It looks to be on a block filled with vacant lots and apartment buildings, and although her husband told her he’d cleaned, it kind of looks like the house you wake up in after a tequila bender and wonder how the occupants enter the bathroom without Hazmat boots and a tetanus booster.
She actually verbalizes the thought you can read all over her face: “What did I get myself into?”
Later in the show, she cries a little bit in front of the camera and apologizes (to herself, I think) for not feeling like she belongs in Indianapolis. It doesn’t feel like her home. Her heart is not there. She’ll stick it out to see how it goes, but so far, she feels lost.
My thoughts exactly. I got married, moved away, and thought, “Now what?” I didn’t want kids. I knew it wasn’t advisable to purchase a home with this person (don’t ask me why I knew this but still got married to them, I don’t have an answer). It took me two and a half years total to leave, my thinking being that a compulsive decision made me get married and that was a bad idea, so maybe I should think about this one for a long period of time (again, I don’t have an answer).
So here I’ve been all this time, thinking that I’m no longer a part of anyone’s key demographic, let alone the skewed reality, camera-ready, Adderall-snorting, pathologically-unable-to-stop-texting-in-any-situation young person MTV demographic. And yet it turns out that I fit right in.
Joel McHale can now have his way with me.
* I loathe the Food Network but for two shows: Barefoot Contessa and Iron Chef America. Yes, I’m aware that most people (including myself) can’t afford to cook with ingredients culled from specialty markets in the Hamptons, and I’m aware that the original Iron Chef was way cooler. But Ina Garten made me confident in bearnaise and Morimoto is still around. So there.