“Hil? Why did you watch that show?”
I know, I know. The Shore isn’t the classiest of programming. One evening at a Christmas party, our friend Amy told us that her parents have a house on the Jersey Shore, so we decided to check the show out. This exposure coupled with my Jersey Housewives fascination resulted in a DVR full of MTV’s Jersey Shore.
The Jersey Shore premise: Eight people in their twenties, all young and Italian-American, live together in a beautiful house on the beach. They work at T-shirt shop “The Shore Store,” and go out every night. Sounds like MTV’s Real World, right?
The difference is that the Real World brought together young people from diverse backgrounds and ideologies. MTV placed Real World cast members in a pressure-cooker as roommates so they would learn to tolerate each other. Sure, there was carousing, but there was also a message.
The Shore has no such aim. Italian-American groups are outraged with MTV for reinforcing “guido” stereotypes with this show. The goal of Jersey Shore: Give these young, energetic, Italian-American kids the sweetest set-up ever: A house on the hippest beach during the summer. And let the games begin.
Here are the things I learned watching Jersey Shore:
1. You can immediately lose the respect of your friends and family.
Morgan: Jersey Shore. Not sure I am sad I missed that one.
Mom: I didn’t catch that … maybe you shouldn’t have either.
Husbanks: This show makes me uncomfortable. I am going to bed.
2. New words and phrases.
I now know (and can use in a sentence) the slang creep, grenade, smoosh, juice head, fist pumpin’, a situation, and guidette.
3. I don’t use enough hairspray.
Does anyone know the stat on cans of hairspray and containers of hair gel used throughout the filming of this program?
4. I don’t have enough tattoos.
These bodies are canvases! Intricate drawings of crosses, thorns, Mary, symbols, consumer brands, and Italian flags found on arms, legs, backs, and necks.
5. My clothes don’t have enough sparkle or shimmer.
In college (sorry Kate), my roommate went on a couple dates with an Italian-American gentleman from the Northeast. He attempted to bring Ed Hardy-esque sparkly style to Central Texas, but it never caught on. I called him “Rapzarro” (a combo of his Italian last name and the style of music I thought his clothing represented). Now I know – sparkly Jeans and shirts with wings and skulls is a Northeast Italian-American thing, not a rap thing. Sidenote: Husbanks and I still refer to all Sparkly Ed Hardy clothing as “Rapzarro.”
6. Nicknames are a must.
All these kids had nicknames. I don’t know if Hil and Husbanks will cut it any more. You can’t say Hil and Husbanks very emphatically with a Jersey accent. Not like “Pauly D,” “Snooks,” Sweetheart,” “The Situation,” and “J-Woww” (double dubs for emphasis).
7. I don’t cuss enough.
Did you know you can comprise an entire speech using only the F-bomb, two nouns, one pronoun, one verb, and two articles? These kids can! While watching an episode of Jersey Shore, you could make a drinking game out of the bleeped-out F-bombs.
If you made a drinking game out of bleeped-out F-bombs and rings from the quacking duck phone, you’d have alcohol poisoning.
There was much fighting in this show. The violence towards women was insulting, but the ladies also threw down in a couple episodes. Ouchie.
9. This is what happens when people act on instinct only.
The Shore is a psychological wild ride. If you have ever wondered “what would happen if I always spoke my mind and did exactly what I wanted to do with no filter?” That is what these kids do! No neocortex here. All reptilian.
The rules for interaction in the animalistic world that is Jersey Shore:
-If you don’t like someone, you punch them (a night in jail for aggravated assault is not a deterrent).
-If you think a girl is pretty, you grope her (and she usually will go along with it).
-If you are thirsty, you pound 6-7 Jager bombs (at least).
-If you are lonely, you dance on the street by yourself (this was 30 minutes of the series finale).
-If you have a crush on someone, you call them incessantly (even though you are on camera and America will think you are a stalker).
-If you are in a hot tub with a girl, you have sex (even though you are on camera and your parents are going to see this).
10. Entirely too much of my free time was dedicated to this useless programming.
I’m an educated woman. I’m a seminary student. I’m a manager. I’m a feminist. I’m an advocate against stereotypes in the Christian church. I recently wrote a 13-page paper on the detrimental effect of MTV programming on today’s youth. And I’m almost 30.
Not only did I watch all the episodes (and the reunion special), I spent 1.5 hours of my Saturday writing this blog post, talking to Ellie about the show, and scouring the internet for “Ed Hardy Sparkle T Shirt”.
I am ashamed.