As I was perusing my timeline this morning (yes, I am that twitter starved that checking my timeline is one of the first things I do in the day. It is a sad truth in my life that now the rest of the internet knows. I have no shame.) I’ve noticed that common theme that most of the twitterverse comments on these days is the tendency for mainstream pop artists to write and profit off of songs based off of break ups. This isn’t necessarily a new venture in regards to music (a lot of blues artists will further attest to this) but the prodigious amount of material produced by the same artists in the similar vein makes it prevalent in our society. The common question that further comes from this observation is to imagine what would happen if any of these artists dated each other, and then eventually break up, and how fantastic that song would be. Its true: judging from their respective songs release dates, these pop stars relationships last about as long as your average Game of Thrones episode. And indeed, the break up songs coming from a relationship of break up savants would be glorious, akin to the basketball played by the 1992 Dream Team. And its a shame that those songs presumably won’t see the light of day, unless Goyte somehow becomes involved with Taylor Swift. However, I have a solution that I believe would alleviate this problem.
Along with this revelation in terms of musicians and their tendency to write break up songs in this day and age, comes the advent of music television shows. So, I decided to combine these two things (that are currently popular in our culture right now) with something that will always remain cool no matter how often our culture might change: March Madness. Combining all three of these facets, we are faced with the greatest reality show/pop culture tournament the earth has ever seen (not to toot my own horn too much), and one that settles once and for all the age old question of who would truly write the better break up song if they were given the opportunity.
The format would go as follows: There would be a bracket of 32 artists (at minimum, it could eventually be upped to more, much like how the NCAA tournament went) These 32 artists would be seeded by overall “success” (determined through variables such as net worth, grammys, etc.) From these seedings, they would be paired off into individual match ups. During these individual match ups, the artists would go on 3-4 dates. From these dates, an issue arises that forces that relationship to end abruptly, potentially placing blame on the other artist. After this issue arises, the artists are both given 3 days to write a break up song, which is then performed in front of a live/televised audience, who then votes who moves on in the tournament, until only one artist remains. That Artist then receives a championship belt embroidered with the wall painting thing from the “Somebody that I used to Know” video.
Now this is a very rudimentary foundation of what the show could end up being, but it definitely has some potential. It combines hit factors from reality shows like The Voice with the hyper competitiveness of March Madness (and yes, there would be brackets), and would include the creation of at least 2 new break up songs every week, which men and women of all ages can all post as their facebook status when they are spurned by an interested party.
Much like the songs that are so heavily talked about, some people may scoff at this idea. but they’d have a hard time to admit they wouldn’t at least tune in. I know I certainly would.
Sometimes, life surprises you. Scratch that, life pretty much always surprises you. That first sentence sounds like the opening to the new Ford Commercial, that somehow convinces you that life and cars relate. But anyway, things rarely go as you plan. You can sit back before you fall asleep and imagine it all working out the way you want it to, but to assume thats how life works would be silly. If that is indeed how life had worked I would have both turned into a Transformer when I was 10,and would have had 200 girlfriends when I was 13 (one of those isn’t true: I’ll leave it to you to decide.)
But anyway, now that we’ve established that life doesn’t go the way you always plan, we need to realize that goes the same way with opportunity. Opportunity is a fickle thing. It doesn’t always show itself, and it doesn’t always come from what you originally thought it would come from. It strikes in the most random of places, usually where you least expect. You can be working towards achieving a goal, and that opportunity might appear from something totally out of left field. I’ll give you an example.
This year during my freshman year of college, I’ve been trying to further develop my comedic exploits, along with my academics. Its something I had on my to-do list when I got to school: to further establish myself as something more than just a “struggling” Comedian (despite the urban legend that chicks dig struggling artists, which I believe I have disproved) and become a much more grounded, stable comedian. I’ve been performing at Open Mics for years now, but it was time to really jump to the next level: I had gotten a little complacent in the past few months and needed to rectify that. Unfortunately, this didn’t come without its challenges,like all good things worth accomplishing or doing. Between not being able to perform at some 21+ venues and getting a bumped a few times, it has been a tough road. I was at an impass comedically. I wasn’t sure what to do to really kick start my attempts at advancing further in the comedy ladder.
At this same point in time I was looking for a job. Upon coming to the realization that I had eaten Taco Bell four times in 3 days, I realized it would probably be a good idea for both my survival and my taste buds to start bringing in more income in an effort to upgrade to a much more consistent, better tasting Fast Food option. Taco Bell is to food as Carly Rae Jepsen is to music: You may initially think listening to “Call Me Maybe” is a good idea, but about halfway through the song you begin to regret it. The same goes for Taco Bell, which is one of few Fast Food chains that has implemented the ultimate secret ingredient: tremendous regret with a pinch of self hatred.
So through this job search I was alerted to a job opportunity on campus, to become a Student Ambassador. Basically the main part of the job is to lead prospective families on tours, as well as work in the Admissions Office. It seemed like the perfect fit for me: I’ve loved talking to strangers since I was a little kid (I was the bane of all those child safety videos) so leading a tour of a school I absolutely love didn’t seem that hard. I was fortunate enough to then get hired, and I was tremendously thankful for both the opportunity to be a representative of such a fine College, and also that I will never have to look at a Doritos Locos Taco Box with trepidation. But it got even sweeter from there.
A short while after I got hired, I got an email from my boss: it turned out that they were bringing in a couple of professional comedians for a prospective student event, and he asked if I wanted to do a 6 minute set before they went on. Now that might not seem like much: You could watch one part of a bootlegged movie on Youtube in that time frame, amongst other things. 6 minutes is a very miniscule period of time, until you put it on any sort of stage. 6 minutes is an eternity. Its enough time to really tell a story, to show people your voice and your skills. When watching any of the bigger comedians perform half hour specials on TV and such, always pay particular attention to the first 6 minutes: thats when the audience really gets going, and thats when the theme and overall arc of the comedian’s set will fully come to life usually. To be given the opportunity to do 6 in front of Edwin Li and headliner Joey Guila, two professionals in my passion was a tremendous honor to me: I was given the opportunity to showcase my skills, my voice, and my story in front of two people that were living my dream. Its not everyday that one gets an opportunity like that, and I did not expect to have that appear from this new job I had acquired. After the show, I was able to pick their brains about Comedy in general, and life as a professional comedian. I finally had my foot in the door: I’ve committed myself to this craft for several years now, but sometimes I felt like I wasn’t moving in any direction, stuck in neutral. With this opportunity, I was able to make a noticeable leap forward, and able to truly measure myself to people I looked up to.
My point is in life, you won’t always be moving forward the way you thought you would. Life will definitely throw you some curveballs, and the work you put into something may not immediately produce an outcome or opportunity to achieve a goal. Sometimes you have to get a little lucky, or look in a different place to find that. So be ready, work hard everyday no matter how hopeless it might seem: you never know when an opportunity will present itself.
Firstly, I realize that this is already well-covered territory. Complaining about what MTV has done to music/pop culture as we know it is basically the “So whats the deal with Airplane Food?” of our generation. But regardless, I could not contain myself in expressing my disdain for this television network and its programming (while still watching said disdainful programming with a strange sort of enthusiasm). But of all these reprehensible things that MTV is responsible for, the most prevalent in my mind is the most recent addition to the fold: “Friend Zone”.
For those of you that are (luckily) uneducated on this subject, “Friend Zone” chronicles the quest of various young adults with attractive friends, who are desperatley attempting to take things beyond the next level. This desperation comes to a head when they decide to set up a fake blind date, and instead attempt to coerce their friend to come along with them. As someone that lived in the Friend Zone for a good part of my Middle and High School years, I have been able to gather a fairly general understanding of how this mythical “Zone” works. And from this knowledge gathered from numerous awkward conversations I’ve had over the years, I have realized one thing: These MTV people are throwing these people to the wolves.
Its an admirable thing to pursue, breaking out of the Friend Zone. Much like Hayleys Comet, it is not something that happens often, and it should be observed with some sort of reverance when it does. However, “Friend Zone” takes the completey opposite approach. Much like all of their other programming, they attempt to cram anything that was once impressive or cool into an overproduced, 30 minute slog, with probably 18 of those minutes actually devoted to Pro Activ commercials. This show is also hinged on our love of watching people fail/do stupid things: This formula has also given us such gems as “Jersey Shore” “The Real World” among other things. Beyond a few anomalies, most of these people get rejected outright, and are usually left with a really tense, awkward friendship. To put the odds of success in movie terms, this is much like “The Grey”: Going up against a bunch of wolves with only shattered bottle glove things might be badass, but the chances of success are very very slim. Even if you are Liam Neeson. And while this struggle might be compelling to watch, I’d imagine (and in this case, know) that it is not a fun thing to experience. Although I’d imagine the money they get off royalties and such helps with that.
This is the classic MTV take on everything they’re involved in: take something cool, or interesting (although calling being in the friend zone cool is probably a pretty big stretch) and completely change it. I feel bad for these kids. At the same time however, I can understand why these plans are usually destined for failure: If I were to be taken on a surprise blind date by a friend, I’d probably be pretty damn confused.
At this point, this makes me worried about MTV. If they have to go down to documenting the Friend Zone, how further can they truly dig? What happens from here?
As much as I hate to say it, I’ll probably will tune in to find out.