Welcome to Jersey Shore, MTV's latest reality schlock where you'll romp with the likes of Snooki, JWOWW and "The Situation," all of whom are more outrageous cartoon characters than any you'll find on Nickelodeon.
Our fun-loving gang of self-described guidos and guidettes stumble through meaningless days and nights, cigarettes dangling from their fingers and F-bombs dribbling from their mouths. Just watching this show lowers my IQ 25 points, and makes me want to sheathe my entire body in a condom.
I suppose there is a guidioso contingent here in Cleveland that looks a lot like the East Coast version, but who the hell cares? If you want Cleveland down under, I offer you the Clevo.
The beautiful irony is that you won't find Clevos and Clevettes amassing in Tremont or Tower City. They simultaneously epitomize and reject Cleveland. Say "West Side Market," and a Clevo thinks you're talking about the Lakewood Giant Eagle. They're easiest to spot in Parmatown Mall, where they roam freely in their floppy drawstring pants. Of course they know LeBron, but don't ask them about Michael Symon. Olive Garden spells fine dining for a Clevo, with only Outback Steakhouse ranking above it. The suburbs are their enclaves, particularly those dreaded burgs that are neither east side nor west side, but south side: Seven Hills, Strongsville, North Royalton and (gulp) Broadview Heights.
The Clevette's most notable physical delineation is defined by a Bumpit, a plastic hair insert (As Seen on TV!) that gives the crown of her head an impish little rise. In days of yore, the Clevette's grandmother achieved the same effect with endless teasing and entire cans of Aqua Net. Too bad these girls didn't carry on her tradition of making homemade pierogi instead if this hairstyle.
While the muscled gents of Jersey Shore bare washboard abs courtesy of hours of grimacing exercise, the Clevo is a hapless gym rat. Consider two young Clevos I spied as I sweated away on the elliptical machine at Bally's. They were practicing some sort of martial arts. One Clevo watched as the other ran diagonally across the aerobics room floor, then launched himself with a guttural grunt into a whole-body kick. It was a glorious air-borne maneuver — until momentum ceased and our poor Clevo dropped to the floor like a 175-pound sack of potatoes.
The other Clevo dusted off his buddy, then performed precisely the same routine. They took turns doing this over and over again: running, launching and unceremoniously collapsing, until a bevy of lycra-clad aerobi-chicks took over the room for the afternoon step class.
You bet I love these guys.
Clevos are not only chubbier than their Jersey Shore counterparts, they're much more affable. A Clevo is happy to give you a jump and will probably have the cables in his trunk. And who doesn't smile when they see a half-naked Clevo, his chest painted orange and brown as he bellows "GO BROWNS!" in a snow-covered parking lot? The MTV guidiosi are pissy little candy-asses compared to these guys.
They even gritched out summer fun on Episode 5 when they set out on a boat called "Furgetabowdit" (groan) and ended up in yet another tizzy, replete with pouts and indignant complaints of "That wasn't cool!" upon getting thrown in the water. Contrast that against a speedboat full of Cleviosi I saw a summer or two ago down in the Flats. The captain was careening the boat back and forth on the Cuyahoga, oblivious to any maritime right-of-way. His passengers were flopping to and fro with the motion, alternately falling into a human pile on the port side of the boat, then the starboard. Laughter and yips of delight spilled, along with the sloshing PBRs. A wayward boob would pop from a bikini top, only to be met with surprised and delighted shrieks before getting tucked away for next time. Sunburn, beer bellies and WMMS blaring from unseen speakers — it was a beautiful thing. And since MTV would never host a reality show in Cleveland, the live-action Cleviosi are ours alone to enjoy.
Now for the inevitable question: Am I a Clevette? My age probably precludes any title ending in -ette, but I'm doing my part for the team. I gave my 12-year-old daughter a set of Bumpits for Christmas.
Erin O'Brien blogs at erin-obrien.blogspot.com.