Jul 25, 2013

Jackass: The Gayest Show on TV

The MTV reality series Jackass (2000-2002) and spin-off movies (2002, 2006, 2009, 2011) were about guys (including "Wee Man" Jason Acuna, left) engaging in crazy stunts:

 Bam Margera uses Steve-O as bait to fish for sharks.
Steve-O stuffs raw chicken in his underwear and crosses a tight-rope over a pit of alligators.

A house falls on Johnny Knoxville (left).

Or practical jokes, often involving nudity or revealing thongs.

Chris Pontius (left) walks through a hotel lobby naked.

Wee man invades a board meeting naked.

The guys hugged, kissed, and climbed all over each other while naked, a big, bold, in-your face homoeroticism that had nothing to do with subtexts.

When Vanity Fair asked if Jackass was "a smidge gay,"  Johnny Knoxville retorted that it was a lot gay: "We're over here sitting on rainbows!  We're a gay pride parade!"

One could interpret the homoeroticism as just another "gross out" factor for the intended audience of heterosexual male adolescents: "Look, Chris just put his mouth on Steve-O's junk!  Sick!"  But it was so gleeful, unself-conscious, and endearing that you couldn't be cynical.

Jackass received a lot of criticism, mostly about how it was crass, vulgar, idiotic, dumbed-down, not nearly as intellectually stimulating as King Lear.  

Ok, it wasn't King Lear.  But you got to see more penises.  A lot more.

Steve-O and Chris Pontius went on to the nature program Wildboyz (2003-2006), which involved frolicking naked with wild animals, not to mention partying down with Australian aboriginal dudes.  And got them on my list of Top 10 Nature Show Hunks.