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A shore thing

Chris Allen | Thursday, September 23, 2010

This past Tuesday, I took advantage of a two-hour lull in the afternoon to go to the gym and put in a workout. On the walk back to Alumni, I rolled up my shirtsleeves and tried to get a tan on an uncharacteristically sunny day, an attempt that failed miserably. When I got back, I put in a load of laundry.

To anyone out there who knows I’m from New Jersey and sarcastically made a ‘G.T.L.’ joke in their minds, this column is for you. I’m about to hit you with a dose of reality.

For the less MTV-savvy among you, the process I’m referring to is the daily tasks of Gym, Tanning, and Laundry (in that order, mind you) made part of the popular lexicon by the increasingly visible member of the reality series “Jersey Shore”.

There are a lot of things that make me angry. But almost nothing makes me angry enough to write a column. The total desecration of the image of my home state, and its most beautiful region, by MTV’s admittedly addicting reality series leaves it to people like me to bring some basic facts to this fine Midwestern university community.

The real Jersey shore is not teeming with self-proclaimed guidos, binge drinking and sketchy nightclubs. Trust me, the shore I grew up with wouldn’t make a good reality show. Go up to any New Jerseyan you know (and given the preposterously high ratio of us at Notre Dame, I’m willing to bet you know a handful) and ask them what the region means to them.

I’ll tell you what it means to me. It’s a place where, inexplicably, a collision of beautiful beaches, boardwalks and a dizzying combination of attractions and amusements results in an almost impossible juxtaposition of serenity and vibrancy and an environment where time almost ceases to exist. Some of your fellow Domers even call the region home. I should be so lucky!

Some of the best moments of my childhood occurred at Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey, so I can say with absolutely certainty that the nine-year old that is still alive and beating inside me feels a little betrayed that people now associate my beaches with a bunch of celebrity-hungry bimbos from New York and New England. Just about the only thing that would make my inner child more angry is if The Situation and Pauly D took their show to Disney World and tried to pick fights with Mickey Mouse as they tried to hit on Snow White. 

As consumers of reality television, we have to be able to see the line where reality ends and fabricated production takes over. “Jersey Shore” seems to be the ultimate example of that, as to me the show is no different than a scripted comedy.

So enjoy the show, but please, be nice to my New Jersey. We already have to deal with Snooki on a regular basis, so we don’t need the extra hassle.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Chris Allen at callen10@nd.edu