I’m fully aware that many of my contemporaries are fans of MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” the infamous show about a group of 20-something “guidos” and “guidettes” partying all summer long in a New Jersey beach town, and will likely be shedding some tears when the show’s final episode airs tomorrow night. And as someone of Italian heritage who growing up summered ‘down the shore’ in many of the same places that the gang visited, I may be slightly biased in my disdain for the show.
The show was probably the most lucrative property that MTV owned in the past few years, which is why the network kept it going as long as it did. But at the end of the day, all the show really did was preach horrible values to teenagers and give New Jersey residents (and politicians) a major headache.
The show did not feature many responsible teaching moments, instead focusing on unhealthy habits, superfluous lovemaking, numerous altercations with the police, and beyond-annoying catchphrases. It’ll take years for the phrase “G.T.L.” to leave our everyday lexicon (and, unfortunately, the potential for an increased number of melanoma cases as a result of excessive tanning). And lest we forget when an intoxicated Snooki meandered along the Seaside Heights boardwalk asking “Where’s the Beach?” or drove into an Italian police car while filming.
Just as painfully, the show posed a financial burden to taxpayers in the Garden State on top of tarnishing the state’s reputation.
One of the show’s most vocal critics was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In addition to describing the cast as “losers” that were”parachuted” into the state, last year Christie rescinded $420,000 in tax credits from the show, arguing that taxpayers should not be responsible for “a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens.” He has even asked New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on multiple occasions to “take back” Snooki and The Situation – both of whom are native New Yorkers.
Christie isn’t the only New Jersey resident to hate the show. A Quinnipiac poll conducted this past October found that only 8 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of the TV show, which is consistent with past years’ findings.
The gang may have one politician fan, however. President Obama made sure to namedrop the cast members’ names and their favorite leisure activity (G.T.L.ing) at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner to prove that he is up-to-date on his pop culture references.
While the Seaside Heights house that the show was filmed in may have survived Superstorm Sandy, we can only hope that the fist pumping and daily showings of The Situation’s abs don’t make it to 2013.