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Canada's 'Jersey Shore' will either save civilization or destroy it

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Fellow Americans, if you think our country has problems, I urge you to watch the extended preview for Lake Shore, a Toronto-based reality series that explicitly imitates Jersey Shore but turns up the boozy-sexy insanity and the caveman-like racial sensitivity. The eight cast members are all described by their ethnicity: “The Turk,” “The Jew,” “The Albanian,” etc. But this is Canada, so surely everyone will come together peacefully to break down stereotypes, right? Wrong, PopWatchers … wrong wrong wrong! Joey, “The Italian,” points out that his cap proudly advertises “#1 Wop.” “The Vietnamese” housemate is nicknamed “Annie Mei,” and I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Karolina, “The Pole,” officially enters the Hall of Shame with this bit of non sequitur Hiter-youthism: “I’m not racist. I hate everybody equally. Especially the Jewish people.” (Crap, I threw up again!)

But don’t take my word for it. Watch the video below. I recommend drinking out of a water bottle while you watch, just so you can do a spit-take.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment, there is something bracingly upfront about Lake Shore. Jersey Shore quickly transmogrified from a semi-realistic depiction of youth culture into a game show where prizes include drunken hook-ups and a slot in C-list celebrity reality shows. It’s difficult to imagine MTV allowing anything like Karolina’s comment on the air — the few genuinely offensive things that actually get by the censors are repudiated instantly. And especially since Lake Shore situates itself in a multi-ethnic perspective, it’s possible to argue that this is a sort of victory for humanity: Finally, idiots of every race and creed can pour Grey Goose down each others’ throats!

But honestly, this looks more like the Ethnicity Circus, where ridiculousness and stupidity are things to be valued. Downtown D (“The Albanian”) says of one housemate, “You can be gay, as long as you don’t get anywhere near me.” The housemate he’s talking about, Salem, is a focal point of the house conversation — he apparently claims to be heterosexual, but everyone in the house thinks he’s closeted. Somehow, I don’t foresee deep discussions about human sexuality in the Lake Shore future. (I do see lots of girl-on-girl makeout action, though.) Yeesh, one of the housemates, Robyn, actually gets motorboated in her audition.

Lake Shore feels like what happens when a nerd tries to imitate a popular doucheboat: it’s ruder, cruder, and just plain grodier than Jersey Shore. PopWatchers, is this the end of Western Civilization as we know it? Is there some good that can come from all this insanity? Is Jersey Shore now our number-one cultural export? (They love it in Japan!)

Follow me on Twitter @EWDarrenFranich