Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Let's Sell Out, Jersey Shore Style

Photo courtesy of the lovely KB center w/ "JWoww" and "PaulyD"

 I don't know if anyone is quite the sucker for pop culture that I am, but click on the title if you haven't heard about MTV's "The Jersey Shore".  I can't speak to the value of the show, or the quality of its participants, but this show is getting a LOT of publicity.  I have friends in DC who were scrambling to get tickets to a "Jersey Shore" party, every news station picked up on a story from the show in the past few weeks, and I can't pass a newsstand without seeing the famed "guidos" and "guidettes".

What's remarkable about the Jersey Shore is that its based upon the same principles as "The Hills", another MTV reality show that seems to be falling out of favor, yet it's rocking the pop culture buzz.  Why? Well part of it has to do with the economy.  Who wants to watch rich Hollywood kids blow money on parties and expensive clothes when they can't afford their morning cup of joe?  On the show, the Jersey Shore kids have to work at a t-shirt shop on the Boardwalk for the luxury of being filmed.  They go to clubs where the cover is probably in the single digits, and there doesn't have to be a drink minimum because everyone's there to get plastered, not show off their Louboutins.  Basically, we all appreciate a little low brow fun because we can relate to it.

Additionally, these kids are selling the begeeezes out of themselves.  There's a little bit of Seth Godin's "The Purple Cow" in this.  The product (guidos and guidettes) is different from the rest of the Hollywood watered down personalities we've gotten from reality casting directors in recent years.  This makes the product remarkable.  Next, is the drama that got the show into the news to begin with, and finally, the fact that they've taken advantage of the hype by appearing in every tabloid possible, and at parties across the country.

Smart, right? So maybe we could try this model out in the upstanding world of theater.  What if we let our artistic integrity take a back burner for a minute, bring something completely brass and scandalous to the fore, and tried to create some tabloid worthy drama?  Is it too Speidi?  Is it worth it if it works? Is it crazy?

Regardless, I'll keep following the tabloids, and YOU keep thinking of new ways to make theatre more profitable!

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