"The Situation" probes the perils of fame on narcissistic single

How you approach Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino’s debut single says more about you than it does him. He’s just one man living out his version of the American Dream. You, on the other hand, sit in judgment, the power to make or break a career resting on your consumerist say-so. So when you listen to a clip of his new “song,” don’t judge Mr. Sorrentino. Judge yourself.

If you look at it the right way, “The Situation” (the song) exposes the paradox of modern fame. What have we become as a culture when a well-toned Italian-American can release a song that mostly repeats “whoa whoa, the Situation” and reasonably expect people to listen? By taking the talentless-greaseball archetype to its logical extreme, he lifts the veil on our obsession with the public trainwreck. Ask not why Mr. Sorrentino repeats his name a billion times. Ask why you listen.

You could also hear “The Situation” (again, the song) as a meta-narrative of loss and loneliness. Mr. Sorrentino’s story mirrors the Biblical house of sand. If a man builds his entire career on his physicality, what happens when that is taken away? Abdominals cannot save Mr. Sorrentino on the radio, no matter how formidable said abdominals may be. Bereft of the trademark shirt-lift that has carried him for so long, he reveals himself as insecure as the rest of us. Repeating his name ad nauseum signals not a display of confident bravado, but a desperate grasp at continued relevance. “Remember me?” he seems to be asking. “The Situation? The Situation? Woah woah, the Situation?”

So yeah, you could view “The Situation” as just about the worst fifty seconds of music you’ve ever heard. Or you could take a hard look in the mirror, then join Mr. Sorrentino on his journey through the American experience. He sings about himself, but he speaks to us all.


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