Gross-out humor. Lots of jokes about genitalia. Guys doing stupid stunts that put their lives in danger just to impress each other. There’s a lot in the whole Jackass franchise to make smart women shudder and look the other way. Not to buy entirely into stereotypes here — some of us are WAY into gross-out genitalia stunts, of course. But as a girly girl who’s been a fan of Johnny Knoxville and Co. for 13 years now, I’m here to tell you, shall we say, rom-com-loving ladies that there’s plenty for you to love in this body of work too. Allow me to walk you through it in seven easy steps.
1. Start with this weekend’s Bad Grandpa. This Borat-style fiction/reality hybrid follows Irving Zisman (Knoxville) as he takes his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) and his newly deceased wife (hidden in the trunk) across the country to drop the kid off with his loser father. Sure, some of the pranks that ensue involve Irving’s grotesque testicles and even grosser pickup lines, but Billy’s unbearable cuteness makes up for it. Soon, you will realize that the movie never makes fun of the unsuspecting real people subjected to these pranks. Rather, it highlights how hard these people try to give an old man and a kid the benefit of the doubt, helping them through really ridiculous situations instead of running away or kicking their asses on sight. It’s quite sweet, actually.
2. Watch one of the movies or an episode of the show with a guy you really like. I started watching the MTV show because my then-boyfriend (now husband) used to be a skateboarder, the original target audience of the Jackass crew. Watching skateboarding videos is agonizingly boring if you’re not into it. But watching a guy double over in hysterics while they watch a prank show is endlessly entertaining. Also, you can prevent them from being dumb boys and trying anything themselves. Win-win.
OR, 2B. Take this opportunity to sneak into the boys’ club. By which I mean, this (lighting farts on fire, sticking body parts in mousetraps, trying to jump disgusting bodies of water with their skateboards) is what 12-year-old boys did back before you started having mixed parties. This explains A LOT about their behavior later on in life.3. Enjoy the hotness of the Jackass stars. No matter your taste there’s a guy for you. RIP, Ryan Dunn.
4. Laugh at more of their good-natured pranks (skip the ones that involve Dave England pooping on something or Steve-O ingesting things until later). Party Boy dancing in Japan is always a good one.
5. Admire the use of physics in their more ambitious stunts.
6. Forget gender stereotypes and admit you like watching someone get suckerpunched once in a while.
7. Now that you are a superfan, enjoy this email interview our own Kate Spencer did with Chris Pontius in 2001, when she was but a wee fangirl and Angelfire sites were all the rage.
[Photos: MTV Films/Dickhouse