My daughter Tory and my husband Mike plan their schedules around what time Jersey Shore starts every week. In case you live in some far away place and don’t know, Jersey Shore is a TV show that follows a group of 20-somethings who live in a New Jersey beach house together during a summer; only 2 of the 8 housemates are actually New Jersey residents; the rest are out-of-towners. Ergo, many New Jerseyans don’t think the show represents us very well. Ahem.
During the last season of Jersey Shore (which actually took place in Miami), I used to walk through our family room and mutter under my breath as I watched my two intelligent family members stare, mouths agape, at the TV and the antics of these so-called Jersey people. Then I would listen to my family members laugh and discuss what happened during every commercial break. I told them that I thought watching the show was like watching dirty water circle the drain.
Then I got sucked in.
It started last season with me commenting on tiny housemate Snooki’s seemingly insatiable need to drink large quantities of booze, fall flat on her face then sleep most of the next day. That started a discussion between Tory and me about what’s appropriate when it comes to consuming alcohol.
Another time I passed through our family room I commented on the “obvious” psycho drama between the seemingly passive/aggressive Ronnie and his almost certainly needy/insecure/possibly disturbed girlfriend Sammi. Mike, Tory and I each have strong opinions on that train wreck of a relationship . . . and we discuss it.
Last night was the second show of the new season and the Jersey Shore gang was back to its drama, lots of drama, all of it very small in the overall scope of the world, but big, big stuff in the housemates’ lives. Emotions and actions ran the typical gamut from A to B: drinking, fistfight, hooking up, and more drinking. Then the cast sat down for the weekly Sunday home-cooked dinner, sans Sammi and Ronnie, “just like a real family.” Their weekly dinner is weirdly reminiscent of some of the old sitcoms I watched as a kid; on Jersey Shore, however, the housemates sit around and make nice with each other, trying to patch up and over whatever mean and/or embarrassing things they did with/to each other during the previous six days.
I am repelled by “real life” on this show. But I watch it.
I can’t figure it out. I don’t have a “good” reason.
Do you watch Jersey Shore? Tell me why. Please. And maybe I can make sense of it all.