This week, “Public Eyeglass” looks at Jersey Shore, the land of fist pumps and fake tans.
A dull glaze sets over my eyes whenever I hear the word “situation.” I’m finding myself beating up beats in my sleep. When my roommates ask when I’m going to move my jacket, I respond with “Get at me, bro!”
I am addicted to Jersey Shore.
When the trailers for this beautiful fiasco made their way around the Internet, my reaction was likely different from yours. Unlike most of the country, I’m actually from the New Jersey shore. “These people aren’t even from here!” my friends would tweet, and they’re not, except for Sammi “Sweetheart.”
Is it so bad for Guido-ism to be a philosophy? Do you see how happy these people are? Their lives are so exciting – to them. A simple wrong look can easily turn into a shouting match among roommates and a stranger can easily be “put to sleep.” But just observe their normal demeanor. Much happier than most of the overstressed, overwhelmed and under-slept people I encounter in my life, myself included.
The fact of the matter is this – no matter how absurd all of these characters are – they are insanely likable. The best TV writers could not come up with a character like “The Situation;” he’s stranger than fiction. Could someone as stereotypical as Ronnie really exist? Who the hell would think of a name like “Snooki”? These are the kinds of things that make Jersey Shore so great. On the surface, it could be nothing more than seven annoying people in one house, but it lends itself so well to analysis that it’s impossible not to get on board.
I find myself attacking the show. I mean, if you look at my byline it’s not hard to tell that I’m not exactly Irish or Russian. I already have two strikes against me. My parents react to the show the same way they did to Steve “Stone Cold” Austin – with some disdain and a question as to why I love it.
Jersey Shore has launched into everyday conversation quicker than it takes for Pauly to drop a mix. We love these characters because they have no ulterior motives. Does Vinny come home from a night at Karma and read Jean-Paul Sartre and think about what his place is in the grand scheme of things? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not happening.
I think we live vicariously through the Jersey Shore roommates. They say what we want to say but would never think of actually letting out. We secretly admire their brashness, as we laugh about how absurd it is.
I found myself rewinding episodes over and over again just to hear gems like, “That’s why I don’t eat lobster. They’re alive when you kill them.” If there was one word that would get across: mouth wide open, staring at the screen in disbelief, then I’d write it.
In 100 years, are people going to look back and think about Jersey Shore when they look at our era’s pop culture touchstones? I’d have to imagine not. What Jersey Shore represents is exactly what it is, pure momentary fun.
Steve Ciccarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.