Jackass Forever and the Shaping of a Generation

“Hello, I’m Johnny Knoxville, and welcome to Jackass!” It’s a sentence that will forever be etched in the mind of those who grew up in the early 2000’s. I feel such a sense of euphoria when I hear it because I know pure, dumb-a** fun is on the way.

The Early Days of Jackass

Jackass premiered as a television series in October of 2000. The new millennium came with a great deal of changes. There was excitement and a feeling of newness in the air. Throughout the 90’s, skateboarding and its goofy, risk-taking, friendship centered culture began to flourish. Magazines like Thrasher and Big Brother took off and gained popularity. The gnarly-ness of Thrasher’s Hall of Meat and Big Brother’s in your face nature became a staple of skateboard culture for many people growing up in that era. Jackass came around at the perfect time with the perfect cast of characters.

A combination of vomit, poop, and blood splattered the television screen of millions all over. People were excited, and some horrified, to see it. Regardless, it was here. If you were like me, you couldn’t get enough.

Ready to die

After the success of the television series and the first film, spin-offs emerged and continued the era of stunts and hardcore, gross-out humor on MTV. Away from the sightline of my parents I sneakily watched shows like Viva la Bam and Wildboyz despite their disapproval. Growing up in this era most definitely shaped my humor.

After the success of the show and film paired with their low production quality, the Jackass crew knew it was time to step it up for the next installment, and they did not disappoint. Jackass Number Two premiered in September of 2006. The level of crazy turned up multiple notches compared to the first movie. On Steve-O’s podcast SteveO’s Wild Ride, Steve-O and Jackass co-creator Jeff Tremaine discuss the Jackass films.

Steve and Jeff note that the second film may be the best because everyone was, “Ready to die”. It was the most reckless and raunchy they had ever been. Steve-O was in his drug abusing heyday and the crew was on their worst behavior as well. Number Two was the first film I saw in the series. Coming from only seeing the show and it’s spin-offs, it was eye-opening how crazy things were.

A New Era for the Boys

With the third installment, there was a feeling of change all around. Jackass 3D, which premiered in October of 2010, felt more based in comradery and friendship, in a way. Steve-O was newly sober and the feeling was more light-hearted (as much as a Jackass movie can be). A decade had past since the inception of Jackass, and you can feel it. There was a turning of the page type feeling that had me thinking, “Is this the end?”.

The Future of Jackass

I scoured the web year after year following Jackass 3D’s release for any glimmer of hope for another Jackass movie. So much has happened since that movie: I graduated high school and college, I met my longtime girlfriend, I moved to the City, and yet, I still yearn to see those loveable dirtbags kick each other in the groin. This franchise is so meaningful to me that despite all of life’s changes, I still find myself in my happy place when watching these movies.

Finally, after searching for years, it’s back. While originally set to release back in October 2020, the movie is now slated for February 4th of 2021. To say I am excited is an understatement. I cannot wait to watch this in theaters. It will be my first time watching an installment on release weekend in theaters. I’m old enough to see it without a parent now too.

Even though there are some notable members missing like Bam and Ryan, people seem happy to be back. There’s some new, young blood in the mix this time around to keep the old guys on their toes. I am unbelievably stoked to see Jackass Forever.

A Culture of Jackasses

This franchise holds such a special place in my heart. There’s no meaning for the stunts or pranks. Though, it’s more than stupidity to me. There’s a comfort in seeing this group laugh and support each other, no matter how meaningless the moment feels. It’s so real and honest that it feels like you can be part of their crew. That’s what I find comfort and enjoyment in. I’m not just laughing at their pain, I’m laughing right along with them. Growing up, they made it easy for me to laugh at myself and be an open and honest person about embarrassing things.

I don’t know what the future may bring. It feels like the end of the road for the old guys again and I’m not sure if things will continue with the new, younger cast. What I will do is cherish the newest film because it might be the last bit that’s left.

Don’t grow up and never be afraid to be a jackass.

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