MTV has been on the air for almost four decades, and yet it still manages to keep its finger on the pulse of what the youth want in entertainment. I’m just making assumptions here, because I’m no longer the youth and therefore I don’t know for sure. I know that Gen Z loves TikTok, racist beauty YouTubers, Riverdale and memes, but that’s as far as my knowledge goes. However, I assume that the kids are into this MTV show I want to talk about, because who wouldn’t be?
The show is called How Far is Tattoo Far? and it’s hosted by Snooki, who America of course fell in love with or at least learned to tolerate on The Jersey Shore, and someone named Nico Tortorella. I apologize to any Tort-heads out there, but I didn’t know who he was. I assume he has tattoos. Further research reveals that he’s on the show Younger and he does have tattoos, although, like, not enough that I would think to go to him for a tattoo-themed show. I would personally reach out to Pete Davidson and Ed Sheeran. I’d like to see their dynamic together.
I’m going to forget how to spell his name, so in the spirit of The Jersey Shore's catchy rebranding of its cast, I’m just going to call him Lil’ Nicky Tortellini. I think that’s more memorable.
How Far is Tattoo Far? (originally called Just Tattoo of Us, and I’m honestly not sure which name is better) is a show where two people who know each other well — be it as friends, family members, partners or exes — each pick a tattoo for the other one to receive. The tattoo recipient has no say in the design or location of this tattoo. All you need to know about the people who appear on this show is that they’re the type of people who would do so.
As with most reality shows, the real stars are the producers. The opening voiceover explains that the show is about “putting relationships to the ultimate test” but of course that’s not why these people signed up. The casting call certainly offered the chance to use tattoos to send a very strong message to someone they hate, and the producers clearly steered the participants towards choosing tattoos that would either make some kind of personal accusation or reveal a secret about the relationship.
For instance, in one clip, two bros give Snooki and Lil’ Nicky Tortellini the lowdown on their friendship. One of the guys is very big, and I forgot his name, and the other one is small and named Mondo. Mondo says that he and Big Guy met in middle school and Big Guy beat him up on the first day of football practice and they’ve been bros ever since. However, Big Guy has recently gotten into bodybuilding and Mondo suspects that he’s been ’roiding up because now he’s very angry and violent. I can’t imagine Mondo’s pain. It must be awful to know your bro from the first day he beat the shit out of you and then watch him turn into a violent maniac out of nowhere.
Mondo decides to give Big Guy a tattoo of a needle that says “ROID RAGE” on it as a wake-up call for Big Guy to quit the ’roids, which is unwise because Big Guy hasn’t quit the ’roids yet and immediately begins beating Mondo up. Security pulls him off of Mondo, Mondo sees a medic, and he then appears in a frankly hilarious talking-head explanation of the situation.
This is the kind of show we’re watching!
Full episodes of How Far is Tattoo Far? are only available on MTV’s website if you have a cable package, but a lot of clips are on YouTube and that’s all anyone really needs of this particular experience. A good percentage of them are absolutely vile and I couldn’t even click on them, but I did watch quite a lot.
I’m sorry I made a cheap shot about Snooki before. She’s great here, and so is Lil’ Nicky Tortellini. You would think that their job as hosts would be to keep the show on track, but my absolute favorite thing about it is how often they keep it completely real and ask why the fuck anyone would want to do this. For instance, when Snooki asks two exes why they wanted to appear on the show, one says “I feel like this will give us closure.” Rather than keep it moving with a platitude like “Well, let’s hope these tattoos help,” Snooki bluntly responds “That’s a fucked-up way of doing it.”
Lil’ Nicky Tortellini says it even better in one of the most unhinged clips.
I love it! I love that these nightmare people have signed up for this show, are clearly coached into using the opportunity to send an explosive message, and then the hosts are like “Why couldn’t you just talk like normal people instead of tattooing each other like idiots?” They’re right but they shouldn’t say it!
This duo is the most bizarre of the ones I watched, and you should actually watch their clip in full. Unlike some of the participants, who clearly manufactured drama to appear on TV, one of the girls here seems to be an actual sociopath. It is COMPELLING TELEVISION!
Props to them right off the bat for mentioning the Jersey Shore in a way that genuinely suggests that they don’t realize Snooki might be familiar with it. No props to them for their choice of tattoos. I love how Lil’ Nicky Tortellini has so many criticisms of the first tattoo that they just spill out at the tattooer while the tattooee is still reeling from the shock, especially how he accuses her of throwing the entire polyamory community under the bus, a valid but perhaps unnecessary critique in the moment.
Another great clip is this one, with a god-awful couple who absolutely deserves each other. Again, these do not appear to be people making up a story for the show. In this case, they just seem like bonafide dummies. You should absolutely watch it till the end.
God bless ’em.
I can say with confidence that this show is everything you would want from an MTV reality show wherein participants have carte blanche to give each other tattoos. Snooki is extremely likable and Lil’ Nicky Tortellini has some great reactions.
I particularly loved when he was disgusted by one participant’s poor choice of tattoo but then completely cracked when she made a pun.
This show may have made a Tort-head out of me.
Anyway, that’s a thing I wasted my life on this week.