When I found myself glued to the television one night recently watching a bleep filled shouting match between two nit-witted orange blobs on the Jersey Shore, I came to a realization. There are parallels to be drawn from the immense popularity of the show: the continued dumbing down of American culture (Idiocracy anyone?) and a connection to our beloved music scene.
Just as the ratings continue to climb for the Jersey Shore franchise, crowds continue to flock to see Casey Donahew Band. I don’t know Casey personally, and I applaud his shrewd business sense. He has been able to transform simple lyrics about Johnson County white trash into a successful career. The connection to Jersey Shore is that the cast is the hottest thing in the pop culture zeitgeist at the moment and they have no discernible talent …other than getting drunk, arguing with each other and generally having a good time. Basically the same themes that run through Casey’s lyrics.
What’s the point?
The point is this is the type of entertainment that people are seeking in 2011. Mindless drivel that is easily disposable and doesn’t make them think too much. So it is, at the end of every episode of Jersey Shore or as the bar clears out after another Donahew gig…people had a great time even if they don’t remember much of it or don’t really understand why they watched it or listened to it. And, if it makes you feel like saying hell yeah and shotgunning a beer, that’s even better.
Other TV comparisons to Texas Music:
Kevin Fowler-Dukes of Hazzard: Wholesome southern fun wrapped in the stars and bars and a tawdry undercurrent.
Pat Green-90210: Immensely popular back in the day and in the midst of a reboot trying to recapture the old audience as well as some new fans.
Eli Young Band-Gossip Girl: Trendy show that is apparently popular with high school girls, but you don’t actually know anyone that actually watches it.
Brandon Rhyder-7th Heaven: Full of family and heart. Appreciative of the life we have and does a good job of conveying that to the audience. Always leaves you feeling warm and optimistic.
Rich O’ Toole-Rob and Big: Funny guy with a good heart, never going to win an Emmy (or Grammy) but can make for a fun night of viewing or listening…and there is nothing wrong with that.
Turnpike Troubadours-NCIS LA: Latest in a series of standouts from under the same banner (NCIS/Stillwater). Making a name for themselves through the way they’ve adapted the format to fit their own style.
Stoney LaRue-The Sopranos: Impeccable quality, tons of talent but the wait between seasons/albums is continually epic.
Hayes Carll & Drew Kennedy-Frasier: Too smart for their own good sometimes, but the subjects they tackle are fascinating and humorous.
Bart Crow-Entourage: The supporting cast (or band) does a good job of making the frontman look good. Funny at times and thought-provoking at others.
Josh Abbott-House: Not entirely original, but very successful. Moments of brilliance followed by moments that make you shake your head. Other shows have done it better and longer, but this show will stick around and has a loyal fanbase.
Randy Rogers Band-The Andy Griffith Show: Amazingly consistent. The cast of characters has changed very little over the years and even when they broadcast in color (or from a Nashville label) their product is better than most.
Walt Wilkins-Friday Night Lights: Criminally under-appreciated, but the quality of their work is unmatched.
Texas Renegade-Rozzoli and Isles: Possibly really good, hampered by a bad name.
Cody Canada & The Departed-Diagnosis Murder: Dick Van Dyke first made a name for himself doing a sitcom, he came back years later as a crime solving doctor. Sometimes the best art comes from a new start.
Bobby Duncan-The Tonight Show w/ Conan O’ Brien/Conan: Fresh young talent closing out one phase of his career to start a new one.
Uncle Lucius-Modern Family: The most buzzed about new thing…and actually living up to the hype. A fresh take on what has come before it. Taking the best parts of various influences and making something all their own.
Ryan Bingham- Nightline: The content is serious and thought-provoking. Doesn’t pull any punches and is not as flashy as its peers.
Sean McConnell-Northern Exposure: Succeeding out of his element.
Wade Bowen-24: Intense and heroic. Storylines and lyrics full of emotion, action and intellect.
Willie Nelson-Meet the Press: Longest running show. Despite changes around them, they just keep plowing ahead and creating new content.
Robert Earl Keen-60 Minutes: Been doing it longer and better than just about everyone.
*This post is pure satire inspired by the work of our friend over at FarcetheMusic.com No ill will is intended and its all in good fun. Hope it made you laugh.