Jersey Shore

 
(i)

 

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).

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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
Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Jersey Shore was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 12 and 14 year old Written bywrightmom August 27, 2011
 

Don't waste your time

Obviously a 14-year-old is not mature enough to review this show. Probably even should not be watching it. Why would anyone think a 5-year-old should watch this? No child should aspire to be one of these "characters". They are in it for the money and fame, and that is why it influences teenagers negatively whose brains are not fully developed.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byM1RSH3 March 27, 2011
 

Degradation of Our Youth

I'm 19 and I don't see the appeal. It celebrates being a slutty, dramatic, idiot with no goals in life other than being a worthless partier for the rest of their lives. I understand some people watch the show just to make fun of how pathetic they are, but the people who think life should be like that are going to be screwed when they actually have to grow up... I'm sad for my generation and younger ones.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 17 year old Written bykabafe January 22, 2011
 

IT`S TERRIBLE FOR ANY AGFE

i`M SHOCK WHEN IWATCHED THE SHOW FOR THE FIRST TIME, ....OH MY GOSH ......IT`S TERRIBLE..... THERE IS NOTHING EDUCTIVE IN THIS SHOW...THAT`S WHY THE TEENAGER GET PREGNANT IN A EARLY AGE..........I AIN`T OLD FASHON...BUT IT`S TOO MUCH ...I`D RATHER " FRIENDS".....SOUNDS LIKE THIS ONE IT`S SO MUCH INOCENT...COMPARES TO " JERSEY SHORE'.....

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