People tend to assume that the success of Jersey Shore has been bad for New Jersey. Well, actually, people tend to assume that the success of Jersey Shore has been bad for America, television, the world, and most especially, the current generation of highly impressionable idiot teenagers, who will now have no goals in life beyond drinking and smushing, which means that humanity will spiral henceforth into sinful vice and we will never evolve into cosmic star children. But what if the societal effects of Jersey Shore are actually not all that bad? What if, in fact, the show has had a positive effect on the state of New Jersey, no matter what Gov. Chris Christie says? According to the Associated Press, a new poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind has found that people who watch Jersey Shore do not have a negative view of New Jersey — or at least, their negative view of New Jersey is no more negative than everyone else’s negative view of New Jersey.
The poll specifically found that 43 percent of people who have seen the show have a positive view of New Jersey, compared to a 41 percent positive response from people who hadn’t seen Shore. “The show isn’t hurting the nation’s view of the state,” said Peter Woolley, the poll director (which by the way, don’t you wish you could put “Poll Director” on your business card?) “It seems to me viewers are looking past the Situation to the shore scene itself.” Well, maybe, but that seems to imply that people who watch Jersey Shore are entirely focused on the corners of the screen; that when, say, Snooki fell over drunk on the beach and crawled around the sand like a vomitous sandcrab with poor self-esteem, viewers thought to themselves, “Golly, what a swell-looking beach!”
I have a different theory: arriving at a cultural moment when most Americans were either searching desperately for a job after being fired or working desperately at their job for fear of being fired, Jersey Shore arrived as an advertisement for an essentially bygone good-times era, when young people and 40-year-olds who pretended to be young (like Uncle Situation) could spend their days “working” at a local unaffiliated non-corporate T-shirt shop and then party all the time. New Jersey on Jersey Shore is an old-fashioned kind of place — everybody knows everybody, your family lives just a quick drive away — but with the added benefit of a beach. In a sense, the Jersey Shore cast are leading a method tutorial on how to have fun again. It will be strange to see how the show works in Italy this season, since Italians have never forgotten how to party, per Berlusconi.
PopWatchers, do you think Jersey Shore has had a positive effect on New Jersey’s image?
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