Call the cable company -- I think there's something wrong with my MTV!
I'm watching a show on the network without grenades, fist pumping, and herpes and, dare I say it, it's actually half-intelligent. Or at least let's call it self-aware.
Of course, I'm speaking about World of Jenks, the documentary series in which 24-year-old Andrew Jenks embeds himself for one week in the world of 12 very different people, including a rapper, a NFL cheerleader, a Vegas poker player, and (in the episode I watched last night) an autistic 20-year-old.
Can I tell you a secret about Jenks?
He's totally a nerdy-sexy star, which might, in fact, be key to the show's success: The first episode was watched by an audience of 4.8 million, making it the highest-rated series launch in MTV’s history. Go Jenks!
And lest you suspect my attraction to the show is purely sexual, let me assure you: It's not at all. Jenks is definitely a likable guy, but it's his (mostly) authentic, thoughtful experience of spending one week in someone else's shoes that's so very watchable. Last night's episode in which Jenks befriended Chad, a young adult with autism, was not only touching, it was also an honest, revealing depiction of a few days in the life of someone with this disorder.
Can you say that about Jersey Shore?
It's ironic to think that these such disparate shows are on the same channel. But, in fact, MTV executives admit they're experimenting with a variety of programming -- the connecting thread being "authenticity, heart, and attitude." As Tony DiSanto, MTV’s president of programming and development, explains:
"Jersey Shore has the same authenticity and heart as World of Jenks, and Teen Mom is equally loud in its own way, making pop-culture waves with an Us Weekly cover."
Not sure if I agree with all of that statement, but the good news is there's room on the network for more than guidos/guidettes.
Have you seen World of Jenks?
Image via MTV.com