It’s been a while since I’ve written a television review, so bear with me. Now, this has been a year for television. I could write about the series finales of “Ted Lasso,” “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Big Mouth,” or the shocking endings to “Barry” and “The Great.” Familiar favorites like “The Goldbergs” and “Shameless” have also concluded. Like I said, it’s been a year for television.
However, there is one show that deserves special attention. The show is about a college student in her final year who has fallen victim to the dear old senioritis but would not let that define who she is because she has requirements to meet and expectations to follow. It is the age-old classic, TV-defining, career-defining, pop culture phenomenon…“Jersey Shore.”
Ahhh yes, “Jersey Shore.” My generation grew up hearing about the show but knowing absolutely nothing about it except for the fist-pumping and spray tans. For me, “Jersey Shore” meant Snooki and the impersonation of Snooki by Bobby Moynihan in the Church Chat skit in the infamous Dana Carvey-hosted episode of SNL. If you don’t know it, the church lady says that Snooki is possessed, Bill Hader comes out as a priest to exorcize her, Moynihan laughs it off, he touches her hair, and Moynihan chokes him out as an act of possession. This is all of “Jersey Shore” that I knew about.
It was a shock for me to find out that it ran from 2009-12. For all I knew, it came out in 2004. Lemme tell you, I’ve discovered a whole other world that existed behind the recession of 2008 and came to define television for a generation. It turns out that this show is examined in university media classes around the country, and after having watched the show, I understand that it is a great choice for culture.
If you don’t know what “Jersey Shore” is, I don’t know how you don’t, but if you don’t, it is a reality television show (there’s your hint) with eight roommates of Italian-American heritage, aka Guido/Guidette (which has come to be a derogatory term) living it up on the “Jersey Shore.” Not your average role models, but entertaining, for sure.
Why would a college student watch this show? Other than a very fun drinking game that was created by MTV, I know that I am actually not going crazy or will never be. The show centers your chakra. Mindless television of people with too much hair spray, a spray tan to put Ross Geller to shame, and blown out-of-proportion arguments that show either side not listening to the other is soothing. It makes you realize your life is better than you think it is.
Only two of the cast members are confirmed to have Italian heritage. The show in itself is incredibly problematic. The toxic on/off relationship of Sammi and Ronni that goes on for six seasons, climaxing at the infamous note, aids you in recognizing that the relationships in your life are probably much healthier. The roommates showing up late to work or skipping work to drink isn’t the best advice, but yet again, they’re getting paid thousands for each episode. The constant fighting fueled by drugs, lying (Angelina in herself is a fucking headache), the occasional blurred private parts and backstabbing that somehow gets resolved by sleeping with one another creates the perfect cocktail of trash.
On the other hand, it has produced moments of pop culture history that echo with time. Remember, “Come at me, bro?” Anyone who went to middle school/elementary school during this time can remember being told that by a kid on the playground. That’s from “Jersey Shore.” Snooki is getting arrested for being drunk on the beach and gets punched by a man in a bar. Pauly D yelling, “CABS ARE HERE.” Snooki and Deena get sent to Times Square as a prank. Some powerful one-liners like “You’re the Rob Kardashian of Staten Island,” “Cain wouldn’t have taxed spray tans,” “No, she died,” and the famous last words of “My only rule: never fall in love in the Jersey Shore.” New Jersey is forgotten as the garden state. For us kids, it is known as the shore state.
I am almost done with the show, I am on season four, where the gang goes to Italy. With wholesome moments of friendship and comedy, it’s not all trash. After all, reality TV nowadays is extremely questionable. All the dating shows, rich family shows, and home remodel shows are just products post “Jersey Shore” with still the same levels of extreme drama and a sprinkle of increased self-esteem for the viewer. It turns out I’ve met a lot of people who have watched the show. It’s an easy conversation starter that excites those who enjoy the show. It’s pretty incredible for something questionable in quality. That’s the beauty of television; occasionally, there’s a show worth discussing.
“Jersey Shore” can be found on HULU alongside its current revival show on season 6.