Monday, September 13, 2010

September Q & A: All them Jersey shows

Once more my cousin April chimes in, asking, “What do you think of the Real Housewives of New Jersey? See I have been to Jersey a number of times and never see anything like what is portrayed on TV. Ditto the last comment for the Jersey Shore?”

I have not seen the Real Housewives of New Jersey, as I am neither a woman nor a man in such a serious relationship with one that they can force me to watch one of their shows as a bonding experience. The closest I’ve ever gotten was the series premiere of Desperate Housewives, which taught me that that sexy women being all catty with each other is not enough to get me interested in a TV show, even with the faint promise that people wound probably be shot to death before the season ends (or, more likely, as the season ends). So I can’t really give that show any kind of fair evaluation, but if you’re hoping for an unfair one, then I am more than happy to oblige.

Based on its name and infamy, I assume that it’s a reality show based on housewives in New Jersey going around slutting it up and trying to make my state look as trashy and horrid as possible. While I have no real issues with people from Jersey going out of their way to mock our state -- after all, I’ve spent my entire life hearing jokes about it from people outside the state, maybe this is a way we can all take back those jokes, like black people taking back the word “nigger” from their white oppressors -- I will say that I’m not a particular fan of marital infidelity (I slept with a married woman once, and was almost murdered for it), so shame on them for potentially promoting that. I don’t honestly know if they are or not, but shame on them anyway just in case.

Now, Jersey Shore I am a huge fan of, though going by various comments about it I’ve read on Amazon and elsewhere, I seem to be enjoying it for all the wrong reasons. It almost functions as a real life version of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where the cast can be relied upon to consistently make the worst possible decision at every last moment. I got to watch it at a friend’s house for the first time last New Years, where a muscular school teacher (now shockingly unemployed) clocked Snookie in the face at a bar, and I don’t think there was a single episode from then until the end of the first season where someone didn’t get punched right in their goddamn face. It’s as if the show was made specifically for me to incessantly giggle at like a child. It’s similar to the way I was able to somewhat enjoy Dane Cook’s Tourgasm, because as Jay Mohr described it, it’s like a real life version of Spinal Tap. The only real complaint I have with the show is really with the DVDs, which advertise themselves as uncensored despite keeping all the nudity censored and a sizable chunk of the profanity. What exactly was de-censored here?

One thing I have noticed that strikes me as curious about all these Jersey-based shows (both the two you specifically asked about, and the show Jerseylicious, which apparently my friend is in the new season of, though I’ve managed so far to be such a good friend I haven’t watched any of it) is that, judging by them, not only does Jersey seem to be an over-the-top parody of itself, but apparently every last person in the state is Italian. Now, lest I misspeak, or claim knowledge without any actual fact-checking, I fired up the Wikipedia page on New Jersey, which states:

“New Jersey is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse states in the country. It has the second largest Jewish population by percentage (after New York);[25] the second largest Muslim population by percentage (after Michigan); the largest population of people from Costa Rica in the United States; the largest population of Cubans outside of Florida; the third highest Asian population by percentage; and the third highest Italian population by percentage according to the 2000 Census. African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, and Arabs are also high in number. It has the third highest Indian population of any state by absolute numbers.[26][27][28][29] Also, it has the third largest Korean population, fourth largest Filipino population, and fourth largest Chinese population, per the 2000 U.S. Census. The five largest ethnic groups are: Italian (17.9%), Irish (15.9%), African (13.6%), German (12.6%), Polish (6.9%).”

So yeah, 17.9% of the population is Italian here, and it seems every last one of them is on a reality show with Jersey in the title. Clearly I need to start attending mass, so I can get my TV deal.

UPDATE: Alright, I just got done watching/fast forwarding through the first episode of this season of Jerseylicious, so a couple comments about that seem appropriate here:

1) Apparently my friend doesn't show up until later in the season. That, or she's pulled a pretty odd prank on me, in which case I must say "well played".
2) This is the sort of salon I'd recommend only to people I disliked and wanted to see walking around town looking as though they and their forty friends had just jumped out of one tiny car. I'm saying they all have clown makeup on, you see.
3) The show is actually somewhat fascinating to me, as it seems to have absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever to it. Scientists should study this show to try to determine how such a perfect storm of terrible could have come to pass, and then get greenlit for a second season.

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