Jackass is very probably the most perfectly named programme in the history of television. The cult MTV hit is the sort of exceedingly stupid thing that can only be the work of clever people; in this case, a collection of old-enough-to-know-better delinquents who appear to have taken the wisdom about the dumbing-down of popular culture as a challenge. The difference between Jackass and most dumb things on television is that other dumb things on television like to pretend that they're arch, or clever, or at the very least camp. Jackass makes no such pretensions, and for this reason it is incredibly liberating and funny.
There is no subtext to any of this. Johnny Knoxville and company think of something supremely idiotic to do, and do it. We see them riding down hills on ice blocks, inviting a fire crew to turn their hoses on them, and trying to ride bicycles around a 360-degree wooden loop while dressed as chickens. That only one cast member ends up hospitalised is little short of miraculous, and surely proof that God loves his clowns. --Andrew Mueller