Think, for a second, about Jersey Shore. What comes to mind? Fake tans? HGH? The decline of American society as a whole? Jolly good fun? No matter what your opinion is, there’s no denying that the show is a cultural phenomenon. Congratulations, America–a 4’10″ manicured Ewok with a weave now makes more than your average neighborhood pediatrician!
However, haters, methinks you may judge too harshly. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to our high school English classes for a second. Surely you read The Great Gatsby. Consider Jay Gatsby, title character extraordinaire. Consider his many shirts. Consider the fountain of debauchery that flowed from his humble estate like the Styx leading into hell. Actually, don’t consider these things–I’ll do it for you.
|THE GREAT GATSBY||JERSEY SHORE|
|Social Activity of Choice||Drinking copious amounts, dancing, golf, laying around.||Drinking copious amounts, gym/tan/laundry (hereafter referred to as “GTL”), dancing, laying around.|
|Dwelling||New money mansion||New money shorehouse or condominium|
|Male’s preferred clothing item||Too many different-colored shirts||Too many Ed Hardy t-shirts|
|Affectionate nickname of choice||Old sport||My dude, bro/brah|
|Role of the female||Drinking too much, driving poorly, causing people to die (directly)||Drinking too much, driving poorly, causing people to die (indirectly…so far)|
|Locale of choice||Long Island, NYC||The Jersey shore and the New York metropolitan area in general. Italy and Florida as of late.|
Are the gang of guidos so unlike the debaucherous rich of yesteryear, dear reader? Is it so hard to picture darling DJ Pauly D baffled by the concept of a real book, much like F. Scott’s “Owl Eyes”? Picture, if you will, Sammi “Sweetheart” tearfully hurling herself face-first into a pile of Ronnie’s freshly-laundered Ed Hardy shirts. Snooki, with her dubious driving record, is certainly a bedfellow of the sneaky Jordan Baker. And Mike “The Situation,” snitch and general scumbag with an increasingly unimpressive abdominal area, could have easily orchestrated some illegal scheme to acquire funding for his materialistic lifestyle, much like Meyer Wolfsheim.
Trashy. Pointless. Lavish. Unnecessary. Morally empty. These are all insults hurled at Jersey Shore. But how are the guidos and guidettes really THAT different from the partygoers at Gatsby’s mansion? Answer: they’re not. Maybe MTV is positioning us as the great eyes in the sky, poised to watch, analyze, and judge the living hell out of the morally corrupt nouveau-riche. Perhaps MTV is using these creatures to expose the emptiness of today’s society, much like darling F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrated the moneyed flappers and speakeasy-frequenters of nearly a century ago. Maybe MTV is much more clever than we think.
Or maybe you should just turn off your TV if you hate it so much. It’s entertainment. Sorry I’m not sorry.