Things I Learned Watching “Jersey Shore”

“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.

8. Girls can punch and get punched.

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).

One episode, they put the cast in Atlantic City. Carnal instincts + Atlantic City? Now THAT episode was crazy.

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.

  1. #1 by Blake Sunshine on January 25, 2010 - 10:22 am

    You are right. BY FAR the best blog post you have ever written.

  2. #2 by Katie on January 25, 2010 - 11:03 am

    I just LOL’ed. In my office. Because I thought of the SAME THING when I saw this show! RALPH! Hilarious. And embarassing. I dated a guido.

  3. #3 by hilstreet on January 25, 2010 - 11:11 am

    LOL Kate – glad you laughed and didn’t punch me.

  4. #4 by Husbanks on January 25, 2010 - 11:25 am

    Smoosh is still my favorite. I laugh every time I say it.

    Here’s to sparkly t-shirts and those men brave enough to wear them.

  5. #5 by Ingrid on January 25, 2010 - 4:10 pm

    It is a problem for society. . . but I couldn’t help but watch.

  6. #6 by Suz on January 25, 2010 - 8:22 pm

    Please tell me you’re following Sn00ki on twitter too.
    I can’t get enough Jersey Shore. Of course my brother, having been born in New Jersey, is halfway to being a guido…alas we have no Italian ancestry.

  7. #7 by Stacie on January 25, 2010 - 10:16 pm

    Does it make me a bad person that instead of liking you less, I kind of like you more? Not sure what that says about me…

  8. #8 by Katie on January 26, 2010 - 9:09 am

    I’m not a puncher Hil. A pincher, maybe, but not a puncher … I could never make it at “The Shore” … although I think I might be pretty good at fist pumping …

  9. #9 by Morgan on January 26, 2010 - 10:09 am

    I am so happy for this recap. I was worried that I hadn’t watched the show and would be uncool forever. Now I just need a good nickname…

  10. #10 by Will on January 26, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    Hil, this post is so good I’m having trouble coming up with something glib enough to top it. Well done.

  11. #11 by hilstreet on January 26, 2010 - 3:49 pm

    Will – I want your comments on the football vs. basketball post!

  12. #12 by Trisha on January 28, 2010 - 1:10 pm

    I think you should get a bump it and start wearing your hair like theirs – awesome post!

  13. #13 by Erin Lynn Young on January 28, 2010 - 10:16 pm

    Hilary, I know how you feel. I was embarrassed to have watched the show but I knew we had a problem when we watched the finale 2 nights in a row. My favorite was Pauly D.

  14. #14 by Sharon Brown on January 29, 2010 - 5:56 pm

    I loved the post – but I totally hate the Jersey Shore b/c I’m actually from Jersey! Most of those people aren’t even from Jersey – posers.

  15. #15 by Husbanks on February 1, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    Mr. Brown – now you know how Texans feel. Stereotypes are the best! Now please excuse me; I have to go put a blanket on my horse. It’s a mite cold out there. Yehaw! Bang. Bang. Bang. (sound of me firing off my six shooters).

  16. #16 by hilstreet on February 1, 2010 - 4:20 pm

    Ryan – that is from Dave’s wife, Sharon. Dave was born and bred in S.E. Texas! Yehaw! Bang. Bang. Bang.

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