On Sunday night, MTV will begin airing The Hard Times of RJ Berger, a show about a nerdy teenager barely surviving at a high school ruled by evil jocks, who, in the first episode, arrives at a turning point. During an on-the-basketball-court pantsing incident, it is revealed that RJ has an enormous penis. “Nature made me scrawny and weird looking,” he tells us. “But it also gave me a gift.” RJ’s large wang reaps immediate dividends: girls begin paying him attention, dudes are more respectful. “Here I am, looking for our golden ticket,” RJ’s best friend tells him, “and it’s been draped over your balls this whole time.” Now, we enjoy an oversize penis joke as much as the next person who laughs at jokes that have been made a million times, but not when they are based on a faulty premise: In high school, an enormous penis is not a “golden ticket.” It is a mildly interesting, sometimes embarrassing anatomical fact likely to have limited effect on your social life. This is because, apologies to RJ Berger and his wet dreams, high-school girls do not care very much about penis size. Certainly they do not care enough to start (or stop) crushing on someone because his junk has been described as a “Buick Regal.”
Yes, there may be high-school girls who only sext with boys who are confirmed packers. There are, after all, people who do vodka shots through their eyeballs. But just as guzzling vodka with large quantities of orange juice is still more common among teenagers than the eye-shot method of inebriation, not caring very much about the penis size of the awkward, gangly, pimply 15-year-old boy sitting next to you in Algebra class is still more common than caring that it’s big. If owing to, say, a random pantsing incident, a high-school student were made aware of the fact that this same 15-year-old had a big Johnson, she might be interested in this information — but would she suddenly, like some pubescent Samantha, prefer him to all the other less gangly, pimply 15-year-olds, and her super-popular, jock boyfriend? No. Look, even Serena Van Der Woodsen has never expressed an interest in penis size, and she is to regular high-school girls what bonobo monkeys are to asexually reproducing bacteria.
Furthermore, imagine for a second that a super nerd got pantsed at a high-school basketball game. Would it matter that he had a big penis? Of course not — everyone would be laughing way too hard to notice its size anyway. High-school students don’t pay attention to social outcasts, and they don’t start when those social outcasts are publicly humiliated. Getting pantsed would be a terrible thing for RJ, even with the giant penis reveal, because (1) no one in high school likes people who are different and (2) everyone would immediately start calling him “No Pants,” not “Big Cock.”
RJ Berger’s obvious antecedents, Boogie Nights and Hung, only make Berger’s premise seen weirder. Yes, Dirk Diggler, Ray Drecker, and RJ’s large penises all seem to help them make a better life for themselves, but Diggler is a porn star and Drecker is a prostitute. This is not who we hope RJ Berger grows up to be, right? A man whose big penis is his only talent? High school has been compared to a lot of dreadful things, but not yet the sex industry!
RJ Berger aspires to be a scatological and sweet high-school show (described appealingly by one of the cast members as “Superbad meets the Wonder Years”). The longer clips from it suggest that MTV may be overhyping the outsize-penis angle for publicity, so it’s possible that after the establishing incident, the show will be less about a well-hung adolescent and more about a plain old adolescent. We hope so. Because seriously, RJ, cheerleaders don’t care that much about your junk.