Saturday, March 28, 2009

TV LOVES YOU BACK MARCH: The Genius of "Tool Academy"


Every era has its insult of choice. From moron to dimwit to the modern equivalent, the great American douchebag, the progress of society can be traced in the words it chooses for the slowest of their evolutionary brethren. And rivaling the aforementioned d-bag for supremacy in the aughts is “tool” and it’s many variations (“tool shed” and “tool box” being among the most common).

Which brings us to Tool Academy, this television season’s underground breakout hit/guilty pleasure. The premise was genius: A group of irredeemable tools were told they were vying for a contest called “Mr. Awesome.” This of course brought out the worst male characteristics of the group, including hooting, hollering, ground humping, flexing, matsuflexing, and other behavior that requires blurring by VH1 censors. Then the “Mr. Awesome” sign quite literally exploded in front of their faces to reveal the show's real premise: “Tool Academy.”

You would think this deception would alienate the men, but the promise of a $100,000 prize has a way of soothing wounded feelings. The men embrace their inner tool and struggle to escape its clutches, decrying occasional lapses into “toolish” behavior and even getting angry at fellow tools who aren’t following the academy’s path to honorable manhood.

In the end, the winner is “Tiny Tool,” a mini version of the show’s sillouetted mascot, Matsuflex, who is exposed for insincerity when he asks to be called by his real name, “Ryan,” in an act of supposed redemption, only to reassume the Matsuflex mantle mere hours later in a contest that involved dragging his girlfriend around while splashing paint on a fence.

As soon as Tiny Tool graduates (in full cap and gown), he and his girlfriend are escorted to a chapel where they get married in front of their extended families. In a sublime moment that shows a leopard can’t change its spots, Tiny Tool marvels at the massive and ornate string instrument being plucked, a device he refers to as a “harpoon.”

1 comment:

Al said...

Tool Academy is wonderful. I was a little disappointed by the turn it took a couple times and how certain touches kept reminding you it was fake/staged to some degree, but still, pretty brilliant show, can't wait for the 2nd season.