Media satire about a vacant piece of TV eye candy on a quixotic quest.
Boy, those MTV VJs sure are stupid, aren’t they? That’s the précis in this location-hopping whirligig about a particularly popular and insecure member of that exclusive tribe, one who aims higher than her station and is repeatedly smacked around for it. Like Chauncey in the movie Being There, Reed’s dim-bulb blonde hardly understands anything about anything but is quite aware of the importance of television. Plucked from the masses at an MTV-filmed beach party, Thing—the author’s limitless contempt forbids his even giving her a name—is a quick hit on the channel, which hires her as a correspondent and promotes her physical attributes by having her pop out of a number of already-revealing outfits. So far, so good for Thing. But then ratings start to drop, she loses the job, and ends up spiraling down the media superstar ladder. Mixed into the story is some addle-brained nonsense about a gigantic hole in the country’s heartland that’s sucking everything and anything into it, a sort of terrestrial black hole. This phenomenon dovetails with the oddball desire for something she knows only as “the middle” that leads Thing on a magical mystery tour to Roswell, Las Vegas, and beyond, camera crew in tow. Reed (A Still Small Voice, 2000, etc.) actually seems to think he’s making a vast statement about mass media—while the digs at MTV in fact seem like product placement dropped into a book they’re publishing—and about the ditzy Thing. Barely a page goes by where he doesn’t slap in some too-obvious jab at her lack of intelligence: “All Thing could find to do was go back to Manhattan for the opening of Shakespeare in the Park, which Thing learned, was to take place, oddly enough, in a park.” It gets old.
A whole lot of nothing.