I discovered MTV's latest reality series, “Jersey Shore,” while channel surfing. My first reaction was: “What the heck?”
“Jersey Shore” follows the antics of eight Italian-American singles, or “guidos” and “guidettes” (their adjectives, not mine), who share a summer house at Seaside Heights. The “guidos” sport shorts, tank tops, and bulging muscles rather than brains. The “guidettes” parade around in skimpy shorts and tops and big hair. Together, this motley crew prowls the boardwalk in search of sexual conquests, drinks a lot, and curses even more. One female is nicknamed “Snooki,” which would be cute if she wasn't so irritating; one guy is nicknamed “The Situation,” which could never be cute. Sound like a stupid program? It is. It is also violent, unscripted, and vulgar.
“Jersey Shore's” December 3, 2009 premiere triggered a backlash from the understandably offended Italian-American community. Unico National, the largest Italian-American service organization in the United States, issued a statement branding the series “reprehensible and demeaning in all respects.” Following charges that the show promotes stereotypes, Dominos Pizza pulled their advertising. New Jersey officials are justifiably concerned that the reality series will give potential tourists an incorrect view of our beautiful shore towns.
Everyone, not just Italian-Americans, should be offended by this trash. In addition to promoting Italian stereotypes, “Jersey Shore” promotes promiscuity, vanity, and violence. These individuals behave without morals, consideration, or responsibility. They are not representative of New Jersey's young people, nor is the show representative of our fair shores. New Jersey has some of the most pristine, beautiful beaches on the east coast – Wildwood Crest, Ocean City and Cape May, for example, are stellar, clean, family destinations sans “guidos” and “guidettes.” Apparently, MTV has parlayed its low standards of entertainment and social class into an inaccurate version of the Jersey shore and its residents.
And it knew exactly what it was doing when it did so. Controversy equals profits. MTV may have lost Domino's sponsorship, but its ability to manipulate its viewing audience helped “Jersey Shore” to land on its feet. Anyone who had not heard of the show surely became aware of it after news that the infamous Snooki had been punched in the face by a man in a bar. Not to worry: Snooki recuperated and is well compensated for her personal appearances. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, and Mike Sorrentino, aka “The Situation,” reportedly each receive up to $7,500 per personal appearance; an appearance of the entire cast commands up to $30,000. Once again, cash trumps morality.You know what they say – one man's trash is another man's treasure. In that regard, “Jersey Shore” is, sadly, a success.