Well. So. That happened. Last night, MTV’s Jersey Shore premiered with two back-to-back hour-long episodes. And it was everything that it purported to be. Like, if you watched the trailers and you thought, “I want to see that,” then you were most likely very pleased, and if you thought, “That looks like a nightmare,” then you were most likely very appalled, and if you thought, “That looks like a nightmare and I want to see that nightmare,” then you were both pleased and appalled, which is correct. I have no idea how many actual normative adult Americans watched this show, but I do know that everyone with a Livejournal and a Brooklyn zip-code was on-board. This might just win the Webby Award (America’s most important award) for Most Blogged About Show of the Year. Vulture already has a Top 10 Jersey Shore Catchphrases list up, and Rich FourFour, a native New Jerseyiac, provides an insider’s outsider’s point-of-view. You can expect to download more blogs about Jersey Shore throughout the day, I’m sure.

This blog is no exception! So, let’s blog about this thing!

Obviously, MTV is on our side, if our side is defined as the people who think that the Jersey Shore are subhumans (subalterns, for any graduate students in the room) to be mocked and disdained. The viewer is encouraged to stare gape-jawed at these proud Oompa Loompas as they struggle with things like how telephones work, and the stress of a full-time job intended for a high school sophomore. The tone of the show is incredulous and openly derisive, with useful subtitles for the most egregious Shore Talk, and sweeping music when one of the castmates tiptoes along the borders of having a genuine human emotion. The house, as with all reality show houses, is designed to encourage conflict as well as rampant alcohol abuse, but it also fits neatly into its appropriate reality show caste, in that the house is kind of super-shitty? This is a newer phenomenon, but now that reality TV is so pervasive and abundant, networks have discovered that they don’t always have to put everyone up in a “fancy” (not fancy) mansion. Like the gentlemen on Bromance who lived in a condemned frathouse, or the women on Real Chance at Love who share rooms in a fake ranch made of plywood and farts, the group on Jersey Shore are reminded of just where they stand on the reality TV totem with their run-down woodchip timeshare that you just know smells like fry-grease, and where, say, the Real World cast gets to run a football team or invest $50,000 in a business of their own design, the Jersey Shore cast sells cornball t-shirts to mirror images of themselves.

But here’s the thing: they don’t care. They don’t care in real life, and they definitely don’t care on this show. Laugh at them all you want, America, these motherfuckers are having the summer of their lives.

The thing is, for as dumb and sloppy as these people are (and they are VERY dumb and VERY sloppy), they are basically living their lives the way that they want to live them, which is, for better or for worse, what we are all trying to do. And for every superior joke we make about Ed Hardy, Christian Audigier sells another 100 bedazzled-dragon shirts. So who is winning? (HINT: not us.)

The impulse that drives us to watch Jersey Shore with a smirk is the same impulse that drives the people on Jersey Shore to call us “faggots.” Because the reality is that they are part of an actual community, with its own language and its own mating rituals and its own value system, which to someone on the outside seems ridiculous or impenetrable, but to someone on the inside makes perfect sense.

“What? You don’t wear clothes?”

And communities that don’t understand each other are scared of each other. Depending on the nature of those communities, they might try and protect themselves by punching a woman in the face at a bar, or by posting exceptionally-clever “jokes’ on Twitter.

Watching Jersey Shore last night, I was most reminded of this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos, which similarly involved a group of people engaging in what might look to some of us (most of us, probably) as a Genuine Living Nightmare. And yet, the Juggalos have a very sincere sense of community and belonging when they are together, even if it’s centered on a culture of meaningless violence and aggressive bigotry. I’m not saying that there isn’t some kind of moral scale upon which we can place these different value systems. I actually believe, for example, that date rape is wrong, and that owning your own tanning bed is ridiculous. But I am sure that there are aspects of the way I live my life that other people might find misguided or offensive. At the very least, I am sure that I don’t want it to be televised. Which is actually the biggest difference between me and the cast of Jersey Shore. The rest is just details.

JUST KIDDING. These guys are retards! LOL.

Professor TV Over Here.

Comments (71)
  1. What I learned last night watching this show was this?

    If you don’t love the situation then the situation will probably rape you.

  2. I feel like it’s my duty as an Italian-American to say, I didn’t read none of that, ya fruit.

  3. someone majored in sociology.

  4. Working 6-9 selling t-shirts with geckos doing the Kama Sutra is actually a pain in the ass.

  5. There was advertised fist pumping…I didn’t see enough fist pumping.

  6. all I know is that I’m going to be Schnickers for Halloween. or Purim! Purim comes first.

  7. Gabe, I was also immediately reminded of the Juggalos while watching (gagging, laughing, screaming at the tv) this show. There should definitely be a Juggalo reality show on MTV and THEN it can be like the Real World Road Rules challenge where the Juggalos and Guidos have their very own spin off reality show TOGETHER! But instead of winning money they are fighting for their lives a la Battle Royale. My money is on the Juggalos!!

  8. My skin is the color of the inside of a Butterfinger and refer to women endearingly as ‘ham wallets’. MLIJS

  9. I am annoyed The Situation stole my pickup line. I am kind of known for saying, “excuse me, beautiful ladies, do you love the situation?” and then when they look at me confused I say, “This is the situation right here.” Then I take the lid off a silver serving tray to reveal a huge pile of steaming hot dogs in buns. “The situation is that I have all these hot dogs and I can probably only finish four or five at most and I was wondering whether you guys would want to come back to my house and watch a a whole season of a TV show on DVD and try to pound out the rest of these hot dogs.”

  10. ” Dear Situation, Please pull up your pants and put a shirt on.” –Everyone’s grandma

  11. Anybody remember the MTV True Life thing they did a while back on the Jersey Shore? That was actually scary. Not funny in the least, but really, really frightening. They found actual sociopaths for that feature. Here we get a guy who’s nickname was formerly a nickname for his abdominal muscles, I’m kind of disappointed, though not as disappointed as I would have been if Snickers had actually left the show that first episode.

    • Do you mean the one about summer shares with the girl who was dating the guy who basically hated her and she was like “he won’t call me his girlfirend but we’re really perfect for each other”?

      • I think so. The one with the dude who wore the newsboy hats and was all sociopathic and whatnot. Completely out of touch with reality.

        • They just showed that episode last week (I watched it again, of course.) He had about 50 of those hats and called them “Corleones.” My favorite thing about that guy (among his many admirable qualities) was that he was a construction worker living with his parents but bragged to everyone about how rich he was.

        • I think there were two “True Life: I Have a Summer Share” episodes. The first featured Tommy who was looking for love in the Jersey Shore in order to get over his rather recent break-up with his fiancee.

          I forget the names on the second one, but I do remember the boyfriend wore a lot of New York Giants paraphernalia and scared me more than Tommy did.

    • Whoa, whoa whoa. There are three episodes of true life floating around in this conversation, we need to sort this out.

      1. I Have a Summer Share-features mostly Tommy: self declared “King of Seaside Heights,” eater of cheeseballs, had his heart ripped out and fed to him on a silver platter, probably sociopathic, drove a cadillac, did all his confessionals at home with a very 90′s Dallas Cowboys trashcan in the background,also thought he could find true love at the jersey shore.

      2. I’m a Jersey Shore Girl-features Dotty and Lisa mostly: the whole episode they pretty much complain about how terrible their boyfriends are and have alcohol fueled emotional breakdowns like Snooki on the first night, never really say what they expect their boyfriends to be doing, but they are not doing whatever it is and are terrible human beings, but hey a Guidette needs her a Guido. (with all this jersey shore tv knowledge I have never heard the word guidette before last night.)

      3. I Have a Summer Share 2-Idiotic JR the myrtle beach life guard finds it hard to study for the LSAT when all of his roommates consume Intervention levels of alcohol daily. Also Carly who moves in with misogynistic as fuck, Buck on the jersey shore. Buck is the giants loving guy and a huge dick who wants Carly to be faithful to him but he is free to peruse other women. Oh and she wants to move in with him to make their relationship work.

  12. I love that ‘Guido’ has been reclaimed by the population it was once meant to denigrate, in the same way ‘queer’ was adopted by the gay community. This show is ridiculous and so much fun, but it’s also kind of a demented fuck you to a country that has consistently harbored prejudices against Italians. Sorry, getting a little serious here. Has anyone tracked down the origins of the ‘Guido’ haircut? I still cannot figure out that upbrushed weirdness.

    • As an Italian(MUTT)American, I prefer Stupid Wop Dago, so I guess we’ve come a long way (No We Certainly Have Not)

  13. NO! GABE! People can be my boyfriend, that can be my movie but I AM NOT JERSEY SHORE. NO! NO!

  14. “If a girl is a slut, she should be abused” – Guidette.

  15. LOL, indeed.

  16. Ok guys. I feel the need to say this every time something like this show happens. I’m a native New Jerseyan (although I’ve lived in Philadelphia for 3 years now), and just would like to let everyone out there know that NOT ALL OF NEW JERSEY IS LIKE THIS. The Jersey Shore is most certainly like this, as is most of Southern New Jersey. But the rest of the state? NOT LIKE THIS. I promise you we are not all fried leather Guidos who hate any person who is not a fried leather Guido. In fact, some of us are very nice, and would be much nicer to you if you didn’t have such a negative view of us, thanks in no small part to these fist-pumping troglodytes. Just know that there is more to New Jersey than all of that. Ok, that is all. I feel better now.

    • Are you from Fairlawn? Had a friend from college from Fairlawn. Always insisted that Jersey isn’t all bad, just the southern bits. Probably true. My parents live in Hoboken. Hoboken’s ok. I can vouch for Hoboken.

    • also, this culture is not unique to new jersey. take out all the references to the italian flag and guidos, add in the confederate flag and some gunracks, and you’re on the redneck rivieria in alabama. it’s all shades of the same terrible schlock.

      • I dunno, I was raised in the south and went to school in the Northeast, I’ve lived in NYC and LA, and the thing is there’s trashy people everywhere. However, the Long Island/NJ variety is interesting to me because it isn’t clear where it comes from. The others come from socio-economic circumstance, but these people, as a commenter somewhere pointed out, are often from upper-middle, and in the case of Long Island, Upper classes so to speak. So, was it a massive failure of parenting? How did these people make their money? I’ve never understood. And another interesting thing: people from the south find the northern type of white trash such as featured here kind of frightening, but are comfortable with trailer-trash. People raised in the north: vice versa. (All references to white trash in this post are merely to convey understanding of what and to whom I’m referring in the quickest possible manner and I mean no offense. I don’t think these people are to be thrown out. Their more deplorable qualities rehabilitated, perhaps.)

    • I remember that The Bloodhound Gang had a song (I heard it on accident, I swear) called “The Ten Coolest Things About New Jersey.” It was ten seconds of silence. I believe them.

  17. My TV now emits a faint odor of Axe body spray and luncheon meat. We’re gonna need more glade plug-ins over this way…


  19. i might go pound out a situation right now ifyaknowwhatimsaying

  20. Gabe, while they may call us ‘faggots’ because we laugh at them I say we turn the tables on those Guidos, a la the recent South Park where the boys changed the meaning of the word to “Asshole Harley Riders.” Faggot should now mean “Douchebag, overgelled, overtanned Jersey Shore Goombas.”

  21. BENNY GO HOME!!!

  22. Notes from the Shnunderground

  23. Here’s my critique of the entire guido subculture-Unlike your juggalos, your standard rednecks-white trash, or people who are proud of being ghetto, guidos dont necessarily suffer from any sort of poverty-institutional, regional, or racially based poverty at all. Those other groups are in a way turning their marginalization into a badge of honor. These people seem to be from pretty standard middle class, stable environments-sure the singular ethnic nature of some of their neighborhoods might encourage a kind of non-mainstream culture but how does it get this extreme? I really doubt their parents even looked this ridiculous by 1980′s standards.

  24. Two observations stick out in my mind after watching Jersey Shore last night:

    1) Snickers’ mouth looks like a cat’s butt
    2) Everyone is equal in this world and we should all realise and celebrate the synergy of simply being human beings because even guidos get pink eye.

    Side Note: Did anyone else watch the True Life before Jersey Shore because I’d watch a show about that kooky Tommy guy instead anyday. Wheres My Cheesebawls!

  25. I am glad MTV pixelated that middle finger! Because despite all the anti-intellectual vanity, the terrible, temporary, selfish life choices, and the shameless pandering for popularity and fame MTV reality shows have thus far helped broadcast, celebrate, and breed, the worst thing in the whole world that could happen is if we saw someone flip someone else the bird. PHEW! CLOSE ONE, MTV! THANK YOU!

  26. I’m a total nerd from north Jersey, but I do know and have great fondness for my Italian-American neighbors who might fit the spikey-haired, loud-mouthed stereotype. Not everyone in Jersey is like this, but, additionally, self-professed guidos are more than just tangerine-colored caricatures– they’ll gladly help fix your volvo, they take great care of their families, they’ll drive you home after a stupid night in Hoboken, or if unable, will wake up their cousin who lives two blocks away from you and have him drive you home safely. They’re assholes (I mean them no disrespect because I respect them), but like in addition to as well as that, I love them anyway!

    • What she said. I like to think of it as all just some good natured ribbing. Despite their differences for the most part the average Guido is good people.

  27. I loved that the first ad from nearly every ad block was either for MTV’s Teen Mom, or pregnancy tests. Someone in Ad Sales knows what they’re doing over there!

  28. Did anyone else see the step by step commercial for taking 5 Hour Energy? “Take half, then see how you feel… maybe you’ll want more!”

    Just add a little in your ron ron juice, it’s okay, it’s made out of bananas and apple! Natural!

  29. Snooki is the self-proclaimed “Princess of Poughkeepsie”. As someone who has been to Poughkeepsie, that might be about right. Sorry Vassar.

  30. growing up and actually living in that region for 20+ years (YIKES…) I can actually say I’ve heard some gems like: “punching the clown” or “hey, u hear bout Gina? she dropped kid! Least it ain’t mine!”
    My real education is from working the boardwalk those summers. I was almost ashamed at being ambivalent last night upon hearing them say shit like “pound it out”etc.

  31. Viewer poll: Will “Jersey Shore” result in more A) abortions or B) STDs?

  32. How many instances of someone saying “Not for nothin’” were recorded on last night’s show? This phrase is native to these folks, and hilarious to people who are not from the New York/New Jersey area, so I’ve been told.

    Also, judging by the stills above, I have definitly walked by that T-shirt stand on my way to get fried oreos and play the crane machines.

  33. “the women on Real Chance at Love who share rooms in a fake ranch made of plywood and farts”…this made me laugh lots at work, which was embarrassing! But at the same time, considering I work at a kitten-slaughtering farm (metaphorically) where we just slaughter kittens all day, it’s rare that I get the chance to laugh around here, so thanks!

  34. finally watched it… and realized it’s… yeah, it’s exactly the same as regular The Real World

  35. also: how serious they were about saying grace? interesting…

  36. I love the show but I am distrustful of MTV’s intentions. Is it really necessary to make it clear they are Italians? Ive run into my fare share of Guido’s and for the most part they are fun to laugh at…at first. After you come to accept your complete lack of ever understanding their subculture they are just harmless, at times likable, meat heads/ female meat heads(?).

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