Here's what I prescribe for Roddick: six weeks without touching a racquet and an equally extended sojourn with the California college kids who make up the readership of Saturday Night. Surely they can teach him something about remaining stalwart in the face of Swiss oppression. They like DVDs! They like cheerleaders! They like... Margaret Cho?
Well, then. Such topical burps notwithstanding, Saturday Night serves its intended purpose, which is to give college-age readers something to peruse while flitting aimlessly about campus, their noggins numb from the previous night's pyrotechnics. The mag demands no intellectual heavy lifting; its content is as deep as a shot glass and as airy as a community-college coed. You can rip through the thing in about 11 minutes.
Still, I wonder if Saturday Night should work on its balance just a bit. Even for a mag packed with piffle - one of those pop-culture-grid Q&As with a bunch of TV B-listers, an "Around the World in 60 Seconds" compilation of semi-timely news mini-commentaries -- Saturday Night shoots very low. I commend the mag for resisting the temptation to merely regurgitate press-release copy in its roundups of video games, shower products and cell phones, but it's not like this audience needs more guidance about any of that stuff. When dealing with available-elsewhere info like this, Saturday Night should default to the pithier, drier tone of its September event calendar listings.
The dumbass-college-kid content fares slightly better. The "Dorm Room Recipes" propose a few consumables that even my freshman-year roomie could have mastered (this is a guy who flushed his fake teeth down the toilet), while "Dorm Life A-Z" gives shout-outs to meningitis shots (boy, that sure takes me back) and toothpaste (that doesn't). On the other hand, the "Ten Commandments... of Partying" read like they were written by somebody who spent his or her college years watching John Hughes films.
And yet in the midst of the generic-entertainment murk blossoms a darn tantalizing, if financially unfeasible, idea for a different mag. Nestled between a get-to-know-you with shiny-toothed cheerleaders from the bigger Cali colleges and a feature on "cool, affordable cars" (like a $35,705 Lexus) are four pages of "Destination Success" profiles. The pieces visit with relative young'uns, like skater-shoe magnate Brian Reid and Tarte Cosmetics founder Maureen Kelly, who have, like, driven their dreams down the Ventura Boulevard of success. The too-deferential tone grates a bit --"Matenopoulos is more than just intelligent, funny and stylish; she's got tremendous street smarts," etc.-- but if I were a directionless college kid, I'd be more eager to read about people like this than about the cast of "Bones."