Why People Watch Jersey Shore
I like to consider myself to be an intelligent young person. I watch channels like the History Channel, Discovery, National Geographic or Animal Planet. I am studying to be a computer programmer and my boyfriend wants to be an archaeologist. We don't go out and party every weekend or even once a month. We may occasionally have a drink or two at home after work, but we would not consider ourselves “wild” at all. Yet last Thursday, he and I were seated by our TV with our drinks in hand, excited to watch the newest episode of this crazy show on MTV.
When we first heard about this show, we were just channel switching, trying to find anything that would entertain us. We stopped for only a moment just to comment on the extremely revealing clothing the female cast members had on. Then we shook our heads and kept looking. As time went on we found ourselves stopping on reruns of this show again and again, only to mock the outrageous behavior and laugh at the drunken fights. We said things like “I can't believe what they will show on TV now.” or, “How is this show still going on? Do that many people really watch things like this?”. Then one night, we realized we had actually watched an entire episode and had been laughing the whole time!
A bit about this show for those who are unfamiliar with it: This show is about eight young people in their twenties and early thirties that spend two months together in the same house. The main cast consists of Jennifer Farley (or Jwow), Michael Sorrentino (the “Situation”), Nicole Polizzi (Snooki), Paul DelVecchio (Pauly D), Ronald Ortiz-Magro (Ronnie), Samantha Giancola (Sammi), and Vincenzo Guadagnino (Vinnie). In the first and second seasons they were joined by Angelina Pivarnick but she was replaced by Deena Nicole Cortese for the third season. Deena is an old friend of Nicole Polizzi and is still on this show in its fourth season. They originally described themselves as Italian Americans, which upset many people who felt they were giving real Italian Americans a horrible reputation as self- absorbed, unintelligent, alcoholics. The cast is often seen drinking or drunk. Every episode shows this wild bunch heading out to clubs in New Jersey as well as Miami and now Florence, Italy. They also spend much of their time doing what they call “GTL” or gym, tan, laundry. Another large part of the show is the drama between male and female cast members. Ronnie and Sammi have been in an on again off again relationship throughout all three seasons, and episodes often show these two involved in intense arguments that overshadow any of the other cast member's attempts to enjoy themselves. There are also feelings between other cast members which can make for some uncomfortable situations.
Consider These Statistics
Number of Viewers
So why do we watch it? Do we just enjoy watching people do and say dumb things? Is it that simple? Or is it because we like to watch other young people partying and getting drunk? Does it make us feel better about ourselves? The truth is, Jersey Shore is like fast food as far as TV shows go. It gives us instant entertainment. They act foolish, dress outrageously, and for those who like it there is plenty of drama. I personally didn't care for the amount of time spent watching Ron and Sammi crying and acting like the definition of a co- dependent, dysfunctional relationship. Perhaps others got more enjoyment out of that then I did. There are an awful lot of shows out there that are nothing but this type of drama and they do quite well I'm assuming, because they are always around.
The Jersey Shore is a fast paced show that doesn't let you get bored. See, its not really reality. These people are paid because they act like they do. People seem to enjoy watching a train wreck. I don't believe for a second that Nicole Polizzi, for example, is really as dumb as she pretends to be on camera. She has said on multiple occasions that she was going to school to be a veterinary technician. Now, I don't know how she did, but that isn't exactly easy. It also shows she at least has some ambition and had the grades to get into college. So it seems to me that when she is on camera she is simply being “Snooki”. I'm sure this is the same case with some of the other cast members to some extent.
Perhaps people simply can't look away from some of the selfish, uninformed and delusional things that are said on this show. I'm sure there are quite a few people out there who really love the show and will dress like the cast and talk like the cast, don't get me wrong. But I really believe much of the 8 million people who are watching season four, do it because they just want to laugh. I hate to say it but most of the new TV shows I've watched in recent years just aren't funny. I don't know about you but I often feel like the producers of TV shows today automatically assume the public is stupid. And because they are so stupid, they don't have to really explain plot points entirely or even have a story line that makes complete sense, because we won't even notice. TV has become predictable and boring with few exceptions. That's just my opinion but I think that as a result, some perfectly intelligent people turn to shows like this which depict crazy, foolish young people living an exciting and unrealistic life. We are tired from the boring jobs and endless bills we have to deal with every day and find entertainment watching those who live without a care in the world, who have time to get dressed up and go to a club whenever they want, drink till they are silly and get paid for it! We sit at home and laugh at their bad decisions and think about how much better we are. Its actually not hard to understand at all when you think about it.
So if these
are the reasons that many people tune in to Jersey Shore every
Thursday, I have got a great idea for a new show. Tell me what you
think. It would be hosted by a good looking party girl or guy that
would go into clubs all over the world. They would have a hidden
camera and microphone on them and they would basically catch drunken
behavior from all over the world. They could have different segments
of the show such as; “Fight of the Night” where clips are shown
of the best drunken fight seen that night, “Drama Queen” where
they show boyfriends or girlfriends having a fit about something or
acting jealous, “Best and Worst” where they show the best and
worst dressed people seen that night (with their faces blurred out of
course, so they won't be humiliated), and “Random Craziness”
where they just show any clip of a drunk person doing something
really funny or dumb. It could begin with a segment on the club or
clubs that would be visited in the episode and anything unique about
the establishments. It might be tough at first to find people who
will allow the footage of them to be on TV but it could work. This
sort of show would actually be reality because people aren't supposed
to know they are being filmed. They could even switch out hosts for
each episode so that people can't figure it out as it's being filmed.
I don't think its really a show I would want to be known for but I
bet it would be a success.
Regardless, I have to admit I am one of the millions of people that watch Jersey Shore. It is one of our guilty pleasures and we secretly hope it will continue for at least a couple more seasons. I completely understand why many people think this show is an awful waste of everyone's time and are worried about today's youth. I just hope they will realize that not everyone who watches this show behaves like the cast members. They are not our role models at all, in fact we want to be nothing like them. We just appreciate having a good laugh and a good time. Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed my hub you may want to check out some other things I've written about: