Season 5 may be done, but N.J. natives continue to feel the impact of 'Jersey Shore'
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The “Jersey Shore,” which debuted in 2009, continues to draw viewers. The fifth season’s first episode was No. 1 in the Nielsen Ratings. The show kicked off its first episode with the same formula of partying and drunk shenanigans that seems to captivate their audience.
The show “Jersey Shore” made its debut in the winter of 2009 and became an instant success. The show features eight young people, some of Italian descent, but that socialize in the same circle. For example, Nicole “Snooki” Pollizi is not Italian, but she was adopted and raised by an Italian family who live in Poughkeepsie, N.J. These people are picked to live together in a Seaside Heights beach house. For the most part, the program shows these young people going out every night, getting drunk, sometimes fighting and having sex with random strangers. In addition, the show includes the cast members interacting with one another in the house, working at a t-shirt store on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, going to the gym, doing laundry and getting haircuts.
From the untrained eye, this manner of behavior would not seem too exciting or entertaining. There are many, different reality TV shows that have come before this one that include these same instances and situations. The ratings website, “Nielsen,” posted the top 10 cable television shows for the week of January 16 and “Jersey Shore” was No. 1. On the following week, Nielsen posted the top 10 ratings for cable television and “Jersey Shore” was second to the reality television show “Pawn Stars.”
“The Huffington Post” reported in an article on March 3, 2011, that MTV, the network that broadcast’s the show, has had its highest ratings in the past five years and “Jersey Shore” was the main source of that ratings jump.
Mickenzie Alden, a 22-year-old graduate school education major at Rutgers University, says “Jersey Shore” is a show that is addictive to watch, whether you love or hate it.
“When the show first started out, a lot of people that were from here were interested to see how they would be portrayed and if they would be relatable to the characters at all,” says Alden. “In the next couple of seasons, there were a lot of negative connotations that connected New Jersey residents with the characters, which sparked a lot of controversy against the show.”
Alden says it is no secret that the show will have a long lasting impact on American pop culture even after it fades away.
“In the next 10 to 15 years down the road, there will always be a blurb when you talk about pop culture and the “Jersey Shore” era,” says Alden, “People will also think back to what it has done to the culture in New Jersey and when people think about how the show has affected pop culture, they will think specifically to the vocabulary terms used in the “Jersey Shore.”
Whether “Jersey Shore” ends soon or continues with another couple of seasons, people that watch the show have been affected by it and currently believe that it will have some kind of lasting mark on pop culture.
It was recently announced in the news that Pollizi is pregnant and engaged to boyfriend JionniLaValle.
“I do not consider her a reputable person, or someone that should be looked up to, but she’s pregnant and engaged, so she needs to be doing better things with her life than being on television all the time,” said Becky Soltys, a 21-year-old English Major at Rutgers University.
“I think that it’s not a good idea and it’s ridiculous, especially since she lost all of that weight and now she’s pregnant,” says Veronica Cohen, a 21-year-old Junior SAS English major at Rutgers University.
“When I thought about the safety of the child, I realized that he or she probably will not have the best rearing or upbringing,” Cohen added.
Although there are people who are turned off by the show and do not follow its appeal, the cast members are definitely making an impact with viewers, which is evident from their increases in salaries. MariellaMostof of “Wetpaint.com” lists in an article that each cast member was only paid $5,000 per episode during the first season, but after Pollizi was assaulted by a drunk patron at a bar, the cast members’ pay steadily increased to $10,000 per episode at the start the second season. By the time the show reached its third season, each cast member was making $30,000 per episode.
Mosthof added that the cast members get paid large sums of money for making appearances outside of the show, which includes Pollizi doing red carpet appearances for up to $20,000 and “DJ” Pauli DelVecchio doing DJ gigs where he makes $80,000 in a week and an average of $40,000 per gig.
DelVecchio’s spin-off show, “The Pauly D Project” recently premiered with its first episode last Thursday, March 29. The show follows DelVecchio and his entourage of close friends from Rhode Island as Delvecchio chases his dreams of becoming a celebrity DJ and travels the world.
“I’m excited to show the world this side of me and for everyone to see where I came from and meet my friends and family,” says Delvecchio to Crystal Bell of “The Huffington Post.”
Cast member Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has made the most appearances outside the show. Sorrentino was invited to the “Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump,” which took place on March 15, 2011, even though he has no background in comedy or any connection to Donald Trump himself.
Guy Winch, writer for “The Squeaky Wheel” of “Psychology Today” described Situation’s performance at the roast as mediocre.
“His first joke fell flat, the second was worse and it went downhill rapidly from there, culminating heckles and boos from the audience.”
Katy Adams, who writes for “The Washington Examiner,” also said Sorrentino’s performance was sub-par.
“You can expect a little good-natured booing at any Comedy Central roast but the crowd booed a lot louder at a recent taping of Donald Trump’s roast at the Hammerstein Ballroom.”
“That’s because Jersey Shore star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino cracked a few too many bad jokes Wednesday night.”
Despite poor reviews, the fact that he was invited just goes to show how incredibly popular he is and how the show is becoming very intricate in American pop culture.
Cohendoes not catch the show during its regular running time, but locates it On-Demand and watches it then.
“The show is not for everybody,” says Cohen, “I think that it has a lot of negative impacts on pop culture, but it is wildly entertaining and even though it has a lot of really negative portrayals, there are people that are smart enough to know how horrible it is and are able to make fun of it in a good way.”
Soltys says the show is successful and has made an impact on pop culture because many people in New Jersey can identify with the lifestyle promoted on the show.
“The show has already made its way into every reference,” says Soltys. “It is like beating a dead horse because people watching the show see the same drama and visuals that give them a constant feeling of familiarity that they can identify with, especially when watching a location that they have been to before, like Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
There is a “Jersey Shore” spin-off show that stars Pollizi and Jenny Farley, which is currently filming, but the official premiere date has not been set yet.
Erin Carlson who writes for “The Hollywood Reporter” says in an article, “While the New Jersey town of Hoboken rejected MTV’s request to film a “Jersey Shore” spin off co-starring Snooki and JWoww, nearby Jersey City has welcomed the hard-partying reality stars with open arms.”
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer rejected the location where the spin off was originally supposed to take place. Carlson writes, “Last week, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer denied MTV permission to shoot there, saying in a letter that any attempts to film in a manner without a permit will be dealt with immediately and aggressively by the City of Hoboken.”
There has been talk that Pollizi and Farley will need extra security for shooting their spin off. “The Huffington Post” newspaper reports in an article, “Police spokesman, Edgar Martinez said Thursday that the production company in charge of the show will pay for off duty police officers to provide security and will pay for any additional officers if they are needed.”
Public reactions for the spin-off have been mixed. Jersey City’s Ward E. Councilman Steve Fulop immediately expressed his opposition to the show filming here, and two online petitions appeared expressing outrage that the reality-show stars will soon call a former Mercer Street firehouse their new home.”
“We’re excited,” says Heather Fulcher, 26, an employee of the restaurant Marco and Pepe. “I think Jersey City is a great place to film. There’s nothing we’re really worried about, but we do expected to see them a lot.”
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