By Genevieve Mills–
“Good riddance” “Thank God” and “Yesss” were just some of the comments readers had on the online articles announcing Jersey Shore’s cancellation. It seems that Jersey Shore is a show that you either love or hate. Yes, there were some comments expressing regret that the show is ending, but many of them were all-caps declarations of “I’m so glad it’s over, but I never watched it anyway.”
Now what’s that about? Why would you be happy a show you never watched is being cancelled? I have to admit, I was happy to hear that the show, which is MTV’s highest rated series in its history, will have one final sixth season before cancellation. However, the most I’ve ever watched of it is about 10 minutes before I left the room muttering in disgust at my younger sister’s lack of taste.
I decided to watch an episode as research for this article. The full episode confirmed my previously held view that the show is not for me, simply because I don’t find listening to a bunch of bleeped out f-bombs while watching orange people get drunk and act stupid, not necessarily in that order, entertaining. But obviously, at least eight million people do find it entertaining, as that’s how many viewers of season five averaged. My question is, why is “Jersey Shore” so popular while simultaneously being so hated?
Do people like the show because, as my 14-year-old brother put it, “It’s cheaper than going to the zoo?” Is “Jersey Shore” simply taking advantage of the old train-wreck effect? Do people like it because they’re stupid and they like watching other stupid people, or because they like the guilty pleasure of watching people behaving badly? Some critics of the show seem to think it’s the former; reality shows like “Jersey Shore” display how low-brow people’s tastes have gotten.
Because “Jersey Shore” is not the only show out there that can make you cringe and wonder “How can anyone act like that?” There’s The “Real Housewives” of multiple cities, “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Bad Girls Club” to name a few. And while I can’t watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” without thinking it should be renamed “Future Strippers of America,” I don’t think that reality shows really signify the end of good taste.
MTV has never tried to say that with Jersey Shore they’re attempting to create quality television. In fact, I once read an article by a crew member who poked fun at the whole thing, comparing taking the cast to Italy with corralling exotic animals. “Jersey Shore” isn’t supposed to be witty or thought provoking, it’s not meant to be the height of “good” taste. It’s meant to entertain, not create philosophical discussions.
Just because someone watches the show doesn’t mean they’re going to start partying every night, any more than watching Law & Order means I’m going to start solving crimes. And just because someone laughs at “Jersey Shore” doesn’t mean they won’t get a joke made on “Downton Abbey.” Tastes vary, humor varies, within society and within an individual.
So don’t get upset because you can’t believe so many people like a show that seems to celebrate ignorance. The three stooges were around providing slap-stick humor long before we ever laughed at a girl slipping in her own vomit. And please, don’t get upset because one train-wreck has been canceled, there are plenty of others you can watch.
I think what everyone should do is sit back, stop typing in all caps and appreciate all the mocking we did of “Jersey Shore” for the past three years, and then pray that 100 years from now historians don’t ever look at a single episode for an example of how humans behaved in the 21st century.