Is Forrest Edwards The Reality-TV Villain We’ve Been Waiting For?

Pity the eventual winner of Slap Magazine’s “One In A Million” contest, for this lucky young man will forever be doomed to push in the long, unsmiling shadow cast by Forrest Edwards, the switchstancer from Riverside who almost immediately cemented a position as the breakout character from what has become a sort of “America’s Next Top Flow Kid.” Aged 18 or 19 years and already a master of the lefthanded compliment, Forrest Edwards is estimated by scholars to have come of age right around January 8, 2004, when a younger and more tender U.S. populace met and introduced itself to a onetime political consultant named Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, villainess of Donald Trump’s initial run of “The Apprentice.” A lesson told in nine weeks: negative attitude, abrasive behavior and “not here to make friends” mindset buys notoriety that is worth its weight in American Idol text-messages.

Mango, the free-spirited ditch skater with the bad haircut, does not make Forrest Edwards laugh. Switch backside heelflipping a solid set of stairs does not crack his lips into a smile. Cigarette dangling dangerously from his mouth, Forrest Edwards broods and bides his time on those occasions when a handrail, double-set or ledge is not within reach. He’s not sorry that he broke Daryl Angel’s deck and transition is for old people and those intent on wasting an opportunity to carve out a piece of the lucrative sponsorship pie. He knows the names of the forgotten reality TV gods like Puck and Richard Hatch who long ago painted on television’s cave-walls the arcane lore, if you are not on-screen, you at least ought to be spoken of, and damn the consequences.

The web-evolution of the “One In A Million” contest has birthed a camera-ready series that, with a bit more coverage of after-hours chill/party sessions, could stand alongside all your “America’s Next Top Models” or “Real World Road Rules Challenges” in terms of painfully earnest moments of self-realization, product placement and shoehorned-in celeb cameos. In Forrest Edwards they have an Omarosa figure in spades, as he explains how he makes it all look so easy while making a run at being skating’s most divisive figure of 2010 — a tall order against the likes of Jereme Rogers, Brian Wenning, Antwuan Dixon and Shane O’Neill.

But do our times call for a Forrest Edwards? Following a decade marked by the rise of the Tilt Mode, Daewon Song’s goofy genius, assorted Jackassery and the Odd Couple stylings of Rob and Big, might Forrest Edwards’ unshakeable discontent be an antidote for too much fun? Dead-eyed and silent, Forrest Edwards seems to look upon a skateboard as a tool useful for proving his worth Mark Whiteley, his OIAM rivals and the world in general, comfortable with the sexual orientation of his go-to tricks and equally at ease when doling out quotables or bigspin-flipping stairs. Our nation’s economic house of credit cards in shambles and the prospect of a long economic slog ahead, Forrest Edwards’ single-minded fixation upon the prize serves to remind us that none of this is a game, that he is not playing around, even when brazenly choosing not to skate at any given time and instead offer advice on personal conduct or a balanced diet.

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20 Responses to “Is Forrest Edwards The Reality-TV Villain We’ve Been Waiting For?”

  1. huphtur Says:

    Forrest is the main reason I tune into OIAM every day.

  2. Bubba Sparxxx Says:

    On yer fixie.

  3. Cris Says:

    Consistently the best writing in skateboarding.
    Great post.

    Cris

  4. Milladelph Says:

    Are you a grad school drop out? Your ideas are solid, but your writing style seems so damn contrived.

    “Our nation’s economic house of credit cards in shambles and the prospect of a long economic slog ahead, Forrest Edwards’ single-minded fixation upon the prize serves to remind us that none of this is a game.”

    The Facts: This kid is a dickhead who looks up to other dickheads in skateboarding. If the industry would just take some fucking responsibility in shaping what is in all ways a “profession” we wouldn’t have assholes like this pushed on us.

  5. Watson Says:

    I love having assholes pushed all over my face.

  6. Ty Says:

    It upsets me that everyone consistently makes too much of this kid. He’s not some evil genius, skateboard antihero mastermind. He’s just really, really stupid. I’d wager a guess that most everyone in his immediate family and neighborhood is pretty unintelligent as well. Stupid people tend to make themselves look stupid, especially when placed in front of a camera, as he has done repeatedly.
    In this case, the stupid is coupled, unfortunately, with being really, really good at skateboarding. Skateboarders tend to make him something he isn’t because we’d all of course like to think that one cannot become amazing at skateboarding if he is also an idiot, which, also unfortunately, is false.
    Everyone knows what happens when you put really talented and really stupid together. You either get a complete knobhead asshole, or a reflexively polite, bumbling goof. So basically, you either get Forrest Edwards or Forest Gump.
    As an end result, I, and probably quite a few others, would rather watch Forrest break his leg then land something amazing. And I love to watch skateboarding.

    • Mike Says:

      I could never wish a broken leg on the kid, but I agree with you across the board; he just seems totally dense. So dense, in fact, that he’ll never know being an asshole malcontent is the exact opposite way to get a job as a skateboarder. Outliers like Grant Taylor totally exist, but then again, how do you explain Austin Stephen’s skateboard career? Aside from being pretty, he must be really fucking cool.

    • Brostoyevsky Says:

      cool story bro.

  7. evan Says:

    i’m guessing ty’s bag of tricks is probably gay

  8. dedleg Says:

    Eh, there was a time when every aspect of a skater’s personality wasn’t being highlighted all over the Internet. Sure, before the days of video blogs and new web clips out every day plenty of characters and strong personalities emerged – but there was also a lot of “I heard that guy is a dick” without tons of evidence piling up all around him. Today, it’s not so easy to avoid when there’s a camera recording your every minute on a board. Let the skating speak for itself. Yeah, the kid’s an arrogant, obnoxious idiot but he is still damn good at skateboarding. There are plenty of stories about Grant Taylor having a shitty fucking attitude but I don’t think anybody would deny that watching him skate is super enjoyable and that he completely deserves his pro status. Frankly, Mango is pretty annoying too, just in another way. They could both use less face time and more skate time.

    Reality TV is the worst thing to happen to skateboarding, right alongside Street League, the proliferation of jocks riding long boards, and all the other worst things to happen to skateboarding this year.

  9. theProgram Says:

    “Dead-eyed and silent, Forrest Edwards seems to look upon a skateboard as a tool useful for proving his worth Mark Whiteley, his OIAM rivals and the world in general, comfortable with the sexual orientation of his go-to tricks and equally at ease when doling out quotables or bigspin-flipping stairs.”

    *applause*

  10. carbonite Says:

    Forrest is to the great recession as Tom Joad was to the great depression

  11. Ratt Says:

    @ ty:

    you really needed to post that here AND the Slap board verbatim? Hmmm.

  12. Josh Davis Says:

    Let’s all just calm down. I know run-on sentences and multi-syllabic words are the way to hold your own in, say, liberal arts school classrooms, but I think that’s hardly the way to talk about the matter at hand– skateboarding.

    I’m gonna play devil’s advocate (or COTG, in some circles) and say that Forrest Edwards is misunderstood. Sure, he’s got his moments of rather surprising arrogance, but to call him AND his family stupid is downright presumptuous. “Ty” is wrong because he uses the words “stupid” and “unintelligent” interchangeably, neither of which properly address Forrest’s problem; “Socially Inept” and “Stupid” are not the same. Similarly, just because you go on the biggest tangent doesn’t make you the smartest.

    There are many types of intelligences, Forrest just so happens to be a skateboarding genius. I’d never skate with him, but that’s not really the matter at hand. Forrest wants to be sponsored because he knows that a large audience of people want to see him ride skateboard, and he can get paid to make that happen. At the end of the day, none of us are skating with him, so what does it matter? He DEFINITELY doesn’t care what you think, so why give him a hard time just because he’s different?

    • That guy Says:

      He’s not “socially inept” you over-tolerant cock. I hate that half-talking bullshit. The kid is a stupid, arrogant ass who’s good at skating. He’s dumb. Deal with it you fags

  13. kingkong@hotmail.com Says:

    Ummm…To me this is all so sad. Skateboarding grabbed my soul as a kid for its energy and endless parking lots of creative posibilities. It was a brotherhood that bound many friends and later in life crossed the language barrier. The pros skated this wonderland called California and a quick video or picture was enough to inspire a feeling in me. These pros had a wiggle and glide in their push and played around with a variety of tricks that were at times dorky (we new it) and yet always beautiful. I thankfully never saw the dark side of the ‘profession’ or the hideous personalities of my favourite pros or ams.

  14. outhouse Says:

    I’m afraid the questions raised here by Mr. Light have fallen upon deaf ears. I would like to point out that even though it is not entirely scripted, the show is still a creation. Reality TV does not have a reputation for capturing its subjects in three dimensions. With a lack of intimacy, faults and weaknesses will abound creating archetypal drama out of the everyday. And so the audience is forced to form their own opinions about each person/character or move on to the next show.
    Along with trimming the fat, post production is there to accentuate the most interesting bits. Drama is sculpted out of Forrest’ stonewall expression and Mango’s adolescent eccentricities. Funny stuff is made funnier. The nice guys are made to appear near heroic, and the Forrests of the www, a shade shy of unadulterated evil. If we never see Forrest smile can we assume he never does? Of course not. And so, yes, Forrest IS misunderstood, just as every other contestant is. I don’t believe it’s possible to learn who any of these guys are after flying them to a strange city, forcing them to interact with a group of their peers in front of a camera while riding a skateboard. If that’s not enough, they are also being judged by millions of people.

    As for how to talk about skateboarding, this blog has it RIGHT. Skateboarders should question skateboarding, question the videos, photos and articles that are a part of this vast culture and lifestyle. And I see no unnecessary word or redundant idea here. Devil’s advocate would imply the post in discussion has a stance. I don’t think Pilot Light has one. He is simply giving you the facts and suggesting some parallels between the skateboarding world and the real world.

    Forrest is and he isn’t the Reality TV villain we’ve been waiting for. He is someone we can talk about around the tall curved ledge everyone puts their shit on. Someone to root for or against like a sporting event. But perhaps he is too much of a reminder of the bad business side of skateboarding. We don’t want to think of that outside of the Berrics, and while watching a SLAP segment to boot! And if he is a specter for further downward financial spiral, should we heed his warning and consider our future? Or do we do like we have been doing and just Milic the present?

    GREAT Post.

    I’m sorry but I can’t help mentioning it should read “is a shambles” not “in shambles”

  15. Sleezy Bone Says:

    All I know is Forrest taught me to eat better.

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