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Wednesday
Oct212009

« In Which We'd Like To Grow Up But We're Not Sure How »

The Late Shift

by MOLLY LAMBERT

Jay Leno is the reason we don't have jobs (go with me on this word journey). Jay Leno's terrible new show is like our parents not being able to retire. 

Rather than getting the sort of dignified retirement Johnny Carson and his generation (our grandparents) were at least promised, our parents have to keep working for the forseeable future because they can't not. Nobody can afford to stop working, and as a result there are no new jobs opening up for younger people.

Not that our parents remotely resemble Jay Leno in age or temperment, but I don't really feel like comparing them to Letterman this week in light of recent events. It has to be Leno anyway for my ridiculous straw man argument to work.

this picture is actually not a photoshop, but it sure does look like one 

Obviously Jay Leno could retire if he wanted to. He is not moving his mediocre product to ten PM because he needs more money, it's because he loves being famous and on TV five times a week and waving at people from his stupid vintage cars.

Jay is literally helping to prevent me from getting a job because that's five less dramas in the ten PM slot that could potentially employ me. Also the only late night talk show that apparently hires women writers is Jimmy Fallon. Please offer me a job, staff of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I'm small, cheap, and I write a sick Jon Gosselin joke. 

Conan O'Brien on the other hand has been prematurely thrust into the late night prime-time spot, and although he was incredibly beloved and did well in the late late night spot, has not been able to replicate his success with the new show.

It's not unlike our dumb generation, which thought it was prepared for adulthood, yet finds themself flailing in an unstable workplace. Somehow now that time has logically progressed to a point where we should be moving towards becoming adults, none of the traditional signifiers of adulthood are available to us.

The idea of a lifelong job with any kind of real security is increasingly a concept of the past. Health care is a joke and real estate a far off fantasy. Couples cling together and cohabitate like it's the only thing keeping them from falling off the precipice back into uncertainty and dread (as if that's any kind of permanent solution).

Gen-X was supposed to fix this problem, or at least to complain about it until somebody else fixed it. I for one am not particularly thrilled about being labeled the No Jobs Generation. Like, way to scare off the jobs. I would rather be pretty much anything else, Generation Internet, whatever. Honest to blog.

Mad Men is an appealing fantasy right now for people, despite all indicators that the show is critiquing the era more than celebrating it. Something about all that formality and structure seems desirable in a world lacking both. Of course it does.

Let Letterman then serve as a reminder of how gross Don Draperness actually is. I guess it's more Roger Sterling behavior, Don doesn't sleep with the help.  

Luckily for those of us that aren't white men, it's not the early sixties. For better and worse it's 2009. We're hitching our star to Wanda Sykes.

Molly Lambert is the managing editor of This Recording. She tumbls here. She twitters here. She last wrote about science. 

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Reader Comments (9)

glen hansard is such a sweet little guy

October 21, 2009 | Registered CommenterAlex

Amen to that. I keep staring at universities I'd like to work for upon graduation and see that no one's retiring. They're all going to die with the dry erase marker clutched in their wrinkly, shaking hands.

October 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Hey, I think what Jay Leno does talks to famous people good. That's what I think.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeffrey

what about chelsea lately? love her

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermeredith

brb renting a biplane so I can paper Burbank with copies of this.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Jay might have a biplane-shaped car you could rent!

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeffrey

And if I'm lucky it'll have his face on it a-la Jay Jay the Jet Plane. Are you listening, Xzibit? This could be next level LCD screen ride pimpin'.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Prelim mock-up... http://imgur.com/Sc3u8.jpg Let's do this.

October 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeffrey

You mean five fewer dramas.

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhet

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