Jersey Shore: our love/hate relationship


It’s the show with the characters we love to hate. Weal staffers Bree Gardner and Rebekah Jarvis debate the pitfalls and the merits (yes, apparently there are some) of the reality show.

Gardner: Ah yes, Jersey shore.

Marketed by MTV as a series that has “focused its lens on various subcultures and rites of passage, uncovering a host of memorable characters in the process,” JS begins by throwing a bunch of irresponsible alcohol abusers together into a home and filming their unhealthy, self-destructive lives.

The so-called ‘insight’ into subcultures is non-existent at best, not to mention horrendously slanderous, racist, and full of mischaracterizations.

Paired with memorable characters best known for steroids and boob jobs, it encourages excessive drinking, womanizing, backstabbing and manipulation.

Alcohol abuse and sex addiction are two problems seriously overlooked and encouraged by Jersey Shore. These kids may need rehab more than another beer, yet society would rather find amusement in their problems than seek solutions such as counselling.

And need I even mention its shocking mischaracterizations such as homosexuality, whereby Snookie states the reason lesbianism is on the rise is actually due to cheating men?

Don’t we have enough image issues without men strutting around talking about “grenades” and “landmines”, terms used to pejoratively describe the weight and attractiveness of females?

Nothing seems genuine about these people at all, from their plastic-and-steroid bodies to their shallow, lecherous lifestyles. Yet, somehow these people receive more notoriety than artistic, witty, substantial programming that is withering away in the shadow of crap like this. And then they’re paid for it.


JARVIS: I admit Jersey Shore is a mindless, misogynistic and superficial television show. But hot dang, it’s fun to watch. In two seasons, I haven’t missed a single episode.

My boyfriend and I have a weekly ritual of letting the Jersey Shore cast buoy up our collective sense of self. The show’s value lies solely in its ability to make us feel better about ourselves in comparison to these idiots.

When Ronnie and Sammi bicker like a pair of bored children, our relationship appears to be the pinnacle of health and communication.

When Snookie drops chicken on the floor and can’t figure out how to clean it up, our critical-thinking skills seem to reach MacGyver-like heights.

And when The Situation gives yet another insecure young woman “the boot” for not being DTF (down to f**k), I call my mother and thank her for giving me the confidence to recognize and avoid horrible men.

Yes, Jersey Shore is disgusting if watched with any sort of admiration for these people. From what I can tell though, most viewers are using the monstrous character flaws it presents as fodder for entertaining and easy insights into our culture’s lowest common denominator.

Why not, I say.

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