Imagine you are up late one night watching television, and you come across the MTV channel and you start to watch a show where a man is slamming himself to a wall, and then you see another clip where a man is dancing around naked in the street, then you must be watching Jackass. Jackass is a show where people perform dangerous, hilarious, disgusting stunts and pranks, but simply the show is made to make people laugh. The show is really simply comedic, but since the show includes many dangerous stunts and activities, the show receives negative criticism for being the blame for certain accidents where teenagers tried to imitate the show.
Even though the show has received a lot negative criticism, the show was still able to maintain its popularity because we have a dark sense of humor, we seek some sort of thrill, and it makes us feel superior to people on the show. Most of us have shown to have a dark sense of humor and we enjoy watching television shows like Jackass. The stunts and pranks performed on the show are cruel and most of the time people performing the stunts end up getting hurt, but we still laugh.
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Even looking at history, we can see that people have always has a dark sense of humor, like in Roman Empire era when people would fight to the death for other people’s entertainment. Then, we moved from trying to kill each other for entertainment to have animals fight for our entertainment, and now we have television and movies to help feed our craving for dark humor. In Stephen King’s essay, “Why We Crave Horror Movies”, Stephen explains that a horror movie “…deliberately appeals to all that is worst in us. It is morbidly unchained, our most base instincts set free, our nastiest fantasies realized…” (Page 2).
Just like a horror movie, shows like Jackass appeals to the worst in us and helps us to take control our dark sense of humor. Jackass is probably still one of the most disgusting and daring show on air and we find it thrilling to watch because for that reason. The shows intensity and excess makes us either want to look away or watch even more. On the show, they go as far as artificially inseminating a cow, swallowing a live fish and throwing it up later, flipping over a port-a-potty while someone is inside, diving into a pool full of elephant feces, and even more ridiculous stunts.
The stunts on the show aren’t something that people do on a daily basis and people find it thrilling to watch others try something that hasn’t been done. Some of us would probably want to know what it is like to do some of the stunts seen on the show, but we are too afraid to try. The show help us to see what would have happened if we were to try a stunt seen on the show. The pranks done in the show are truly cruel and unnecessary and in some way makes us happy it isn’t us and makes us feel superior to the people on the show.
On the show, someone walks around with an electric razor and randomly cuts out patches on people’s hair, also people on the show go off-roading in golf carts. Even though the show has a warning not to try anything seen on the show at home, most of us know better than to go ice skating naked and makes people laugh to know that there is someone out there stupid enough to try it. Just the watching the people on show, it makes us feel that we are better than them; somewhat feeds to our ego to know that there are others who less incompetent than us.