Yes, I will admit it. I have watched the season premiere of the Jersey Shore, not once, but twice. And both times I went to bed with a stomach cramp from laughing so hard. If you have not yet experienced the magical abomination that is MTV’s The Jersey Shore, please visit MTV and get acquainted.
The Jersey Shore is a “Real World-esque” reality show in which 8 self-described “Guidos and Guidettes” live in a house on the Jersey Shore. It is similar to previous reality tv shows, the kind that have usually have no cultural or entertainment value whatsoever because all they do is follow some boring people around with cameras. But these people? They are not boring. Also, I don’t think they are people.
Watching the Jersey Shore is like watching aliens from outer space. The author of this excellent article calls it an “anthropological field study.” These Guidos and Guidettes have curious motivations that are only the more confusing because they resemble human motivations we know and understand, only warped and completely devoid of any irony that might explain them. But we can see the irony even if they can’t, and that is what makes it so funny.
There were a few choice moments that made me want to vomit, like when Mike, aka “The Situation,” said: “As far as I know, everybody loves the Situation. And if they don’t, I’m gonna make them love the Situation.” Also, when a Guidette said, “If a girl’s a slut, she should be abused.” But does this mean I will condemn the show in a fit of fiery feminist anger? No. That’s not my style.
Before anyone gets up in arms about the anti-feminist content of the Jersey Shore, please remember that the show itself is not pushing an anti-feminist agenda. Yes, every person on the show is sexist, but they are so off-the-reservation that no one in their right mind will walk away from this show wanting to emulate their behavior. Like South Park, the Jersey Shore uses exaggerated stereotypes to make fun of stereotypes. Certainly, the Jersey Shore could use some feminist outreach education. These people are not from our planet, and clearly need some help adjusting. But in the mean time, I will laugh very, very hard at their expense.