She’s the pretty dirty girl and wet dream of dorks everywhere and now she’s hosting the MTV Movie Awards, the second lamest awards show on television—just behind the People’s Choice Awards. But I’ll be watching, which is exactly why they hired her.
I am now in a different demographic than I was just a year ago. Moving from the 18-24 bracket was fun as I could now drink AND rent a car. The transition from 25-30 was a bit more difficult as it only meant I was now a thirty-something and who could help but think of that dopey 80s drama with boring people and their boring problems? The 30-34 bracket is the new 18-24 because Americans refuse to act their age and so it was a bit of déjà vu peppered with more post-binge body aches than I’d recalled and a better paying job. But now I am 35 and life is grand. That’s why they want me.
“They” being the advertisers, of course. My age group is much coveted because not only do we have more of the disposable income (for the lucky among us) of our younger peers, but we also have a distinct need to remain hip and cool and to not become OLD, which means we make stupid purchases. That longing to stave off middle age is why we love Sarah Silverman.
Born in 1970 and thus, roughly the same age as me, Sarah Silverman is the girl guys like me wanted so badly that our bumbling and awkwardness just gave her more fodder for the endless ribbing and humiliation that now makes her Comedy Central show so uncomfortably funny. She thoughtlessly (and the joke is that it seems to be truly without a thought) ridicules and mocks all the things were supposed to only think about: homosexuality, AIDS, feminism, patriotism, pedophilia, poop, etc. And she does it all while looking cute, which she also repeatedly reminds us in her show.
Yes, Sarah Silverman is painfully self aware, so much so that she needs you to be aware of her too. It’s a neurosis that drives her fans mad, but hasn’t always served her well. She was fired from Saturday Night Live after one year as a writer and featured player because nothing she wrote made it to screen. As Mr. Show‘s Bob Odenkirk has said, “I could see how it wouldn’t work at SNL because she’s got her own voice, she’s very much Sarah Silverman all the time.” She couldn’t even stop obsessing about herself long enough to save her job.
And that’s why we love her. She’s as self obsessed as we are, but she’s also fully aware that she’s not SUPPOSED to be. This walking back and forth across the line is what endears her to us and it’s also what makes us the perfect target audience. Despite the fact that our parents were fully grown up in their 30s (and God knows, our grandparents even more so), we’re still holding fast to the meaningless status symbols and trendy minutia that should have faded away with our peach fuzz.
So as much as I’d love to say I watched The OC for the irony factor, or that I have a playlist of songs that remind me of the 1987 VW Golf I drove at 19 because I “just like these songs,” the fact of the matter is that I do those things because I refuse to grow old. And melding current youth culture with my own nostalgia acts as a sort of time machine where I am forever young, forever irresponsible, and forever anti-establishment. At least until I get this promotion I’ve been gunning for at work or Sarah Silverman starts looking like the hairy old broad we all know she’ll become.