Jersey Shore

Common Sense Media says

Reality show revels in crude Italian-American stereotypes.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's premise revolves around crude stereotypical images of and behavior attributed to Italian Americans. As with many other reality shows, the series also sends negative messages about what constitutes responsible behavior, the consequences of drinking and casual sex, etc.

Positive role models

The cast members are stereotypical caricatures of young Italian-American adults whose sole interests are how good they think they look and having fun. While their landlord/boss attempts to instill a sense of professionalism in them, the cast is proud of their obnoxiously inappropriate behavior (which includes hooking up, talking about sex, dressing skimpily, getting drunk regularly, and more).


Contains the expected yelling, insult hurling, and arguing between housemates. There are also occasional brawls at clubs (including shoving and punching), and at least one instance in which a man punches a woman in the face (though footage of the actual punch was edited out of the final broadcast, it was included in promos, and its aftereffects are discussed). Some of the cast members say that physically fighting is an acceptable way of resolving problems.


The cast endlessly talks about having sex. Women are frequently shown in G-strings and other revealing outfits, while men are often shirtless or in their underwear. Club scenes include lots of butt shaking, grinding, and racy dancing. Sexual activity ranges from kissing (including same-sex making out) to people in bed reaching for each other's genitals; all nudity is blurred.


Words like "bimbo," "skank," "whore," "slut," "bitch," and "ass" are used regularly. Stronger curses -- like "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and words refering to genitalia -- are bleeped.


While their labels aren't prominently featured, brands like Coach, Cadillac, and Red Bull are visible. The cast's regular haunts includes Jersey Shore hot spots like Club Bamboo.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking is frequent and excessive. Hard alcohol (gin, vodka) is visible. People get drunk on a regular basis and are often shown engaging in promiscuous behavior while drunk and/or throwing up due to intoxication. Cigarette smoking is sometimes visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the this racy MTV reality series includes many negative stereotypes about Italian Americans. The cast members are proud of their heritage, but they choose to "celebrate" their ethnicity by engaging in extremely inappropriate behavior -- from swearing like sailors (the strongest words are bleeped) to engaging in bar brawls and other physical altercations. Conversations about sex are endless, cast members are shown hooking up (all nudity is blurred), and they drink frequently -- which often leads to throwing up and/or promiscious behavior. Bottom line? These aren't the kind of young adults you want your teens looking up to in any way.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

JERSEY SHORE follows a group of young Italian-American adults spending the summer together at the Jersey shore. The four women and four men live together at the stylish Shore House and must work at a T-shirt shop owned by their landlord, Dan. In between shifts, the gang spends their time experiencing all the lively entertainment the popular East Coast hot spot has to offer -- which, in their case, seems to translate to lots and lots of partying.

Is it any good?


Jersey Shore centers on the broad ethnic stereotypes of the "guido" (a male Italian  American) and the "guidette" (the female version) -- who are often characterized as uneducated and hot-tempered and who proudly sport fake tans, over-gelled hair, and tight-fitting and/or gaudy outfits as cultural assets.

Rather than challenging these characterizations, the cast members of the show have proudly reclaimed the stereotypes. Instead of looking at Jersey Shore as a chance to transform these over-simplified characterizations into a positive celebration of their ethnicity,  they use them to excuse inappropriate behavior. As a result, the show leaves viewers with a depiction of Italian Americans that's both misguided and offensive.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between celebrating a cultural heritage and playing into stereotypes about that culture.

  • Do you think the show's portrayal of Italian Americans is accurate? Or could the cast  members be playing up to specific stereotypes because they're on a reality show?

  • Should racial/ethnic stereotyping ever be used as a source of entertainment? Is there such a thing as positive stereotypes?

TV details

Cast:Jenni Farley, Nicole Polizzi, Paul DelVecchio
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Jersey Shore was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byNeyer November 15, 2010

Call the garbage truck! This dumpster is overflowing!

There isn't a single thing that's good about this show. It's just a bunch of nobody twenty to thirty-year-olds stuck in a house, having sex, constantly getting drunk, and being idiots. Apparently the point of the show, at one point, was to get them to work at a job, but from the looks of things they've never even held a job before, much less know how to perform the tasks like normal people or hold one down. The cast consists of a group of idiots who use excessive stereotyping throughout the show and who are extremely close-minded. They have a complete disregard for anyone else's feelings and only care about the next party, club, or lay on their list. This show is nothing more than a Skinemax reject and should be treated as such. Anyone under seventeen doesn't usually have the common sense not to imitate these acts and it should be avoided at all costs. This show isn't even worthy of the title 'entertainment.'
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 November 27, 2010

An Abomintation.

When I found out they were showing this in other countries, I flipped out. Just what we want foreigners to think all Americans are like! This show sucks so bad. It's just a bunch of 30 year olds getting drunk. They act incredibly immature. I despise this show with every fiber of my being.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byteamjacobgirl2.0 January 25, 2011

If your kids can't watch other MTV shows, this one is no different.

This is just another trashy, stupid, and pointless MTV show. Obviously its full of attention seeking idiots telling everyone to drink and take drugs. And they give New Jersey a bad name.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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