Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Apotheosis of Nerdiness

Readers, I present you with the apotheosis of nerdiness. Behold, the new Comedy Central show Secret Girlfriend:

Secret GirlfriendWeds 10:30pm / 9:30c
Red Band Trailer
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

The premise of the show is that the nameless protagonist was dumped by an emotionally unstable girlfriend, girlfriend then wheedles her way back into his life, but in the interval he acquires a replacement. Nameless protagonist is flanked by his two loserish buddies who, like nameless, spend their nights (and days too, for that matter) chasing random females. But the conceit of the show is that nameless protagonist is . . . you, the viewer. That's right: the entire show is shot through the eyes of the viewer himself as he vicariously plays kickball / drinks beer / has sex in the shower.

Everything that TrumwillSheila mocks about The Invention of Lying is present here: There are no ugly women. Only young beautiful women. And little is seen of any other guys except NP and this buds. So, despite having no obvious social skill or prospects, they all seem to get plenty of female attention. All told through the eyes of you, the viewer.

If any of this sounds . . . voyeuristic, then I think you've achieved an important insight into not only Secret Girlfriend's appeal but The Invention of Lying's appeal as well, and an element of the appeal of the kind of movies we discussed in the last post. In Trumwill's comments, Sheila complains that these movies give their male viewers a highly distorted picture of their real-life prospects in the dating market should look like. I think this isn't the point. Viewers aren't looking for a guide to reality; they're looking for a replacement for reality. A lot of viewers, I imagine, watch Secret Girlfriend ironically, kind of like everybody knew that The Man Show was a farce. But a lot of others watch the show because their romantic reality is so bad, that they would rather abandon it altogether in favor of pre-holodeck virtual version. And hey, if you're making your own reality, why not create one in which beautiful girls are falling all over you?


Anonymous said...

But a lot of others watch the show because their romantic reality is so bad, that they would rather abandon it altogether in favor of pre-holodeck virtual version.

I'd say it's more likely that men who are complete failures with women would find the show too frustrating and/or depressing to watch.


trumwill said...

That post was actually a Sheila Tone production, though I suspect I would not disagree with it if I had seen the movie.

I think you're right about escapism is the function often served by such movies, but I think that they do have a side effect of making some guys believe that such a thing is more possible than it actually is. The guys most likely to fall prey to this are guys that have extremely little real live experience with women and don't have much data with which to determine what kind of girl they can realistically ask for.

For me, it actually wasn't a matter of characters like Ducky that were the problem, wherein the mismatch is outlined in the story as unlikely. Rather, it was the more humdrum cases like on Family Matters where the disparity between the man and the woman was unacknowledged. According to Jim was after my time, so it applies. Sheila notwithstanding, I'd also put King of Queens in this category if it were not also after my time as the nuance that she refers to would have escaped my younger self.

Combine the popular media perception that the world features hot women and hot and normalish guys with other social factors (the perception that women are less superficial than men, that being kind and supportive can overcome substantial dating market deficits, and older MILFy sorts married to tub of lard men that were not tubs of lard when they married) and it can lead to guys to unrealistic expectations.

More unrealistic than the expectations of women? I can only guess and I think that it largely depends on which subset we're talking about.

Burke said...

Yeah, I agree this fare can be perceived in different ways. A person of sufficient youth and inexperience may come away with an inflated view of his own prospects. Tubs-o-lard especially, although as a flyweight, that particular aspect doesn't resonate with me personally. I'm much more likely to react as Peter suggests: with exasperation, as if I was being patronized.


I saw one episode of this show with my room mates, I was fucking shocked at how utterly worthless and complacent all the characters were. They have no talents, ambitions, accomplishments, or drive to do anything but chase skirt, goof around, and party. In my own life, I don't know anyone that pathetic and if I did I would not think too highly of them.