the banality of celebrity

Today, I caught a few minutes of the Jersey Shore spin-off, “The Pauly D Project.” From the little I saw, here’s what I think happens on the show: Pauly D wakes up, has breakfast, DJs at a club, goes back to the hotel and changes, DJs at a club, goes back to the hotel, wakes up…wash, rinse, repeat. It didn’t look like there was any narrative arc–no plot lines that motivate individual episodes.

I’m probably wrong–I bet there’s a guy in his crew who struggles with addiction, or one who has trouble with the ladies, and maybe Pauly D’s Jersey friends show up. If any of that happens, it makes the show just like every other celebrity reality show (see: Kardashians).

But it got me thinking about what it would be like if my first impression were true: what if there was a reality show where the one and only narrative objective is to demonstrate the banality of celebrity? Wake up, get breakfast made for you, hair and makeup stylists arrive, after a few hours in a chair, your publicist shows up and takes you to get your book signed, you get mobbed by a crowd, escape for a late lunch, go for an hour with your trainer, answer emails and phone calls for two hours, go to dinner, go to an event, go home, go to sleep. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure this is inevitable.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “the banality of celebrity

  1. Ok, tried to watch the Pauly D, but lordy-lord it is hard to do. I get that this may be a new trend, but somehow I imagined your argument being that this has brilliance. It sure looked like end-game to me…

  2. Have you seen Sophia Coppola’s “Somewhere”?

  3. Jenn Lena

    @Peter: I’m sure the purpose of my description is to discourage you from watching! @Jay: I haven’t. Is ‘the banality of celebrity’ the plot?

    • As I recall (always iffy), he’s not a huge celeb, he’s a slightly over-the-hill movie actor, maybe even once a star and still recognizable. And as in “Lost in Translation” there’s a pervasive sense of drabness or emptiness or anomie — something along those lines.

      • Jenn Lena

        All right then, I’ll look for it in netflix. FWIW, I’m not particularly sure that *I* am the target audience for entertainment on the banality of celebrity, but I am curious about what it would look like.

  4. mike

    Was going to make the same comment about the Coppola film. It’s pretty much what you’re saying, in terms of how empty his life seems to be…

  5. Jenn Lena

    It turns out, I had seen the movie, and just never secured the title with the content. It isn’t a pure case of what I imagine because there is a narrative arc in which the protagonist comes to see his life as banal, recognizes his loneliness and begins to look toward a relationship with his daughter for some kind of redemption. What I’m imagining is something different–no recognition of self, no urge toward redemption.

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