Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
The slice-of-1960s drama “Mad Men” and the teacher/family man/meth-maker madness that is “Breaking Bad” are two of the finest shows in the history of television.
Rich and textured scripts, great ensemble casts, surprising story lines, gorgeous cinematography, pitch-perfect scores — these shows have it all. The typical episode of “Mad Men” or “Breaking Bad” is better than 75 percent of the movies I see.
Then there’s “The Jersey Shore.” Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
In Season One, the joke was on those slack-jawed knuckleheads as they bickered with one another between Jell-O shots. It’s what you call Feel-Good TV, because no matter how disappointing your life may be at the moment, you feel good about yourself compared to these narcissistic, slack-jawed nincompoops.
But now The Situation and Snooki are millionaires, more famous than most pop stars, athletes and actors, making endorsement deals, paid five-figure fees to show up at clubs that wouldn’t let them in if they weren’t on TV. The ratings for “The Jersey Shore” consistently outpace “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” — combined.
The joke’s no longer on them. We have met the GOOFs, and they are us.
Since the mid-1990s, I’ve been handing out the GOOFs (Greatly Overhyped and Overexposed Fool) to the silliest, most scandalous, most shameful and most sinful personalities of the year. Previous winners include Dan Rather, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the paparazzi, Sarah Palin, Tiger Woods and Geraldo Rivera.
A quick reminder: Back in 2006, I gave the rare Lifetime Achievement to the Unholy Trinity of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears (or as I almost never call them, PaLitNey), so they’re no longer eligible for yearly GOOFs.
Everyone else is fair game. Here’s a look at the nominees — and the winner — for 2010.
JULIAN ASSANGE. Is he a free-speech crusader who’s being persecuted on trumped-up charges, or a high-tech terrorist and violent, two-time sexual criminal? Smut peddler Larry Flynt called Assange a “hero” and says he’s giving $50,000 to Assange’s defense fund. Michael Moore downplayed the sexual assault charges against Assange and posted $20,000 toward Assange’s bail. The arrogant Assange, who looks and sounds like a cheap Bond villain, claims not to know where the WikiLeaks come from (an interesting journalistic choice). Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is among the many government officials that believe WikiLeaks is a terrorist organization putting American lives in danger. And now Assange himself is on the other end of a leak — the 68-page confidential Swedish police report that details the sexual misconduct charges against him.
One way or another, odds are Assange could be facing jail time before he gets the ticker-tape parade Flynt says he deserves.
BRETT FAVRE. In the immortal words of Charles Barkley, “If you send a woman a picture of your junk, it should be humongous, it shouldn’t be small. That’s one of the Ten Commandments.”
JOHN TYNER. In the immortal words of this would-be anti-TSA crusader, “If you touch my junk, I’m going to have you arrested.”
GLENN BECK AND JOHN BOEHNER. Of course it’s all right for grown men to cry.
Just not ALL THE TIME, fellas.
ANTOINE DODSON. In July, the 24-year-old Dodson was interviewed by an Alabama news crew after he chased a would-be rapist from his sister’s bedroom, and uttered the soon-to-be-viral warning, “Hide your wife, and hide your husband, because they rapin’ everybody out there!” The auto-tuned “Bed Intruder Song” has 45 million hits and counting on YouTube and has sold more than 100,000 units on iTunes. Dodson actually performed the “song” at the BET Awards and is trying to turn his 15 seconds of fame into some sort of TV career.
Good luck with that.
TONY HAYWARD. In the midst of the oil spill disaster, the BP CEO told the world, “I’d like my life back.”
And so would the 11 men who were killed when your deepwater rig blew up, sir.
CAPRI ANDERSON. The porn star escort claimed she was paid $3,500 just to have dinner with Charlie Sheen, not to engage in any sexual relations.
Right. Because as we all know, when it comes to dinner conversationalists, nobody tops Capri Anderson.
STEVEN SLATER. Thousands of Facebookers wanted to turn the JetBlue flight attendant into some kind of working class, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!” hero, but by opening an emergency escape slide, Slater could have seriously injured or even killed somebody.
SARAH PALIN. The Condescension Tour continues, with Palin cracking, “How’s that hopey, changey stuff workin’ out?” as she reaped millions from her television gigs, books, speaking gigs and paid magazine interviews. How’s that hopey changey stuff working out? If you’re Palin, abandoning your duties as governor and cashing in your chips in every imaginable way while consistently failing to offer any substantial political arguments--it’s workin’ out in spectacular fashion.
PRESIDENT OBAMA. Saw the unemployment rate hover just under 10 percent; was criticized for the upscale vacations he and his wife enjoyed; took 12 stitches to the lip; got shellacked in the mid-terms; brought Bill Clinton into the White House briefing room to state his case on tax cuts and eventually had to say “I’m going to take off” as Clinton commanded the room; was ripped by the left for his tax-cut compromise. And he continued to age in that rapid-fire fashion that afflicts all presidents and football coaches.
LEBRON JAMES. Unlike far too many superstars, James has never been involved in nightclub shootings or multiple baby-daddy controversies. He’s a good teammate, media-friendly and he devotes enormous chunks of time and money to charitable endeavors.
But with that self-aggrandizing ESPN interview and the statement that he was taking his talents to South Beach, James went from being one of the most popular sports figures in the world to one of the most vilified. After a shaky start, the Miami Heat went on a tear and will most likely go deep in the NBA playoffs.
And everyone outside of Miami will be rooting against them.
MEL GIBSON AND ROD BLAGOJEVICH. These two really should be phone-friends. Their delusional, crazy, expletive-filled rants were shocking and often disgusting — but undeniably entertaining fodder for every radio talk show host in America.
JESSE JAMES. You cheated on America’s Sweetheart with THAT? To quote the immortal words of Napoleon Dynamite:
CHRISTINE O’DONNELL. Witchcraft dabbling+anti-masturbation+Constitutional ignorance=a big fat fail on Election Day.
Worthy nominees, one and all. But the 2010 GOOF goes to . . .
Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap . . .
A quick tour of Sheen’s greatest hits over the last decade and a half:
Accidentally shot then-fiance Kelly Preston in the arm.
Had a long-term relationship with porn actress Ginger Lynn.
Overdosed on a self-induced injection of cocaine.
Was named as one of infamous madam Heidi Fleiss’ star clients.
Has publicly stated his belief that the Bush administration might have been behind the 9
After a three-year marriage to Denise Richards, was involved in a very bitter and very public custody dispute.
In February 2010, Sheen was charged with one felony and two misdemeanors over a Christmas 2009 altercation with wife Brooke Mueller. In August, Sheen pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to rehab, probation and anger management counseling.
Apparently it didn’t take.
In October, Sheen accompanied Richards and their two children to New York for a family weekend — but in one the great miscalculations in modern history, he thought it would be a good idea to bring the aforementioned Capri Anderson to dinner. Their hijinks allegedly included a trip to the bathroom, where a certain substance might have been ingested and there may have been attempts at mutual physical satisfaction.
Later that night, police were called to Sheen’s hotel room at the Plaza, where they reportedly found a naked and outraged Sheen claiming he had been robbed. The room was damaged to the tune of $7,000, the porn actress was locked in the bathroom, and Sheen’s $150,000 watch was missing.
Sheen was taken to the hospital for observation and released. He told reporters, “If a guy has one bad night everybody goes insane and panics.”
For being the master of the understatement, for being utterly oblivious to the train wreck that is his life, for providing tabloid headlines since the mid-1990s, kudos to Charlie Sheen, the biggest GOOF of all.