'Jersey Shore' on MTV: Furthering guido stereotypes or just harmless fun?
So, last night was the premiere of MTV’s delicious, guido-loving, fist-pumping docu-reality series Jersey Shore, a show that’s been ruffling more than a few feathers because it supposedly builds on negative stereotypes and bad behaviors of a subset of Italian-Americans that call themselves “guidos.” But… did those haters actually watch the show? Well, I did, and I’m here to tell you it’s pretty much the bomb. (Sorry if that offends you!) Sure, it’s also pretty much complete trash—and it certainly does build on stereotypes of “guidos”—but c’mon! It’s really just harmless fun. (And if you aren’t one of these “guidos” but still can’t separate yourself from then, then… well, you’ve got bigger problems.)
Jersey Shore is like The Real World, but filled with super-skanky folks of Italian descent who want nothing more than to tan, drink, and hook up. What’s wrong with that? And, in this instance, just like The Real World, the people depicted on screen are there—tanned skinned, “juiced” muscles, gelled hair and all—on their own accord. These seemingly silly “guidos and guidettes” (their words, not mine) aren’t being forced to do anything—MTV just brought its cameras and let them do their thing.
Which, to be honest, is super trashy. The action in last night’s episode kicked off with the group of eight strangers meeting for the first time at their shore house in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Just like most of the country, every region has its vacation spots where people—especially the younger set—go to cool off and blow off steam during the summer. In the Midwest, it might be a lake somewhere. In LA, the beach. In the NYC area, there are multiple options, ranging from the tony Hamptons to the—well, let’s just say less-tony—Jersey Shore. Think: a boardwalk, T-shirt shops, and classy dance clubs named “Bamboo” and “Karma.”
Just a few minutes into the show, we’re getting getting a picture of these soon to be Jersey BFFs. A sampling of my favorites: Pauly is from Providence, yet looks like he’s from the cast of Growing up Gotti; Mike calls himself “The Situation” because of his “Rambo”-esque abs; Jenny, or “Jwoww” (pronounced J-Wow), likes to put makeup on her boobs and says that her going to the Shore will be like “a kid in a candy store,” because of all the hooking up she’ll be doing. No one in the cast, though, is better than Nicole “Snooki,” who her housemates refer to as everything but “Snooki” (lots of times it’s “Snickers” or “Snookums,” etc.). “Snooki” proceeds to get trashed the first night in the house and dip into the hot tub in her thong and bra. Oh, and she rubbed up on every single guy and made about a million phone calls on the house’s quacking duck phone while half-drunk. Yes!
Again, I’m failing to see the problem with this show. If you didn’t see last night’s two-hour episode, catch up here (look out for “Snooki”!):
To the people who think this perpetuates stereotypes, I have one thing to say to you: Get over it. Such perpetuating of stereotyping happens all the time. As a gay man, do you think I wanted someone as heinous as Carson Kressley representing me when homosexuals finally got their due on reality television with Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? Um, no, no, and NO! (His hair alone was offense enough.) Also, the ridiculous nature of Jersey Shore only proves that these particular partying, slutting “guidos and guidettes” are a special, tragic breed and, thus, not representative of the greater whole of Italian-Americans.
To all you PopWatchers out there, what do you think of Jersey Shore? Did you watch last night? Were you offended? Are you Italian-American and have something to say about it? Get the debate started in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: Scott Gries/MTV
More on ‘Jersey Shore’ from EW.com: