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The “Jersey Shore” Post Script – Economic Boon or Insult? [POLL]

Jersey Shore cast (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Jersey Shore cast (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Some, I’m sure, feel that the GTL (or whatever the hell they called themselves) crew may have overstayed their welcome.

Be that as it may, MTV’s biggest ratings draw leaves the air Thursday night at 10.

But even though the crew was reviled to a degree by many of us in the media, and Italian Americans in particular for their boorish behavior…did they not give the Jersey Shore, and Seaside Heights in particular an economic “shot in the arm”?

Sure, you’re thinking, “but at what price?” Especially since if you’ve been visiting folks out of the state, how many inquiries did you get from friends who’ve asked, “but is it REALLY like that out there?”

According to one reviewer,

After three years and six seasons of boozy, rowdy wrecktitude, “Jersey Shore” concludes its MTV run Thursday at 10 p.m. EST.

I can guess why anthropologically inclined viewers might have taken to “Jersey Shore.” Here is an opportunity to study a primitive life form as it feeds, mates and struggles to communicate. (Ronnie Ortiz-Magro: “Why do you even bother? You’re only gonna get it six times as worse!”) (Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino: “I got the shirt, but I ain’t wearing the shirt when I go out. This is the shirt before the shirt.”)

At the same time, it undid decades of headway by Bruce Springsteen in ennobling his native state, forever cementing its status as a punch line. (Filming of the series wrapped before Hurricane Sandy, with its many victims and heroes, reminded everyone that New Jersey isn’t defined by a handful of camera-crazy beachside interlopers.)

The show didn’t do a lot to burnish the image of Italian-Americans, either, as the cast let it all hang out with time-worn stereotypes.

And it made the cast members — with skills barely advanced beyond strutting, scrapping, carousing and mangling the King’s English — into stars.

Now the housemates of “Jersey Shore” can look back proudly at their accomplishments. They have all done their part to lower the bar, even as they stumbled over it.

And they have enjoyed a dream job. They got paid to party. And the bigger the spectacle they made of themselves, the greater their appeal and, presumably, the fatter their paychecks.

But the time has come to say goodbye.

There will be other shows that will spin off “Jersey Shore” like “Snooki & JWoww” (starring “Jersey Shore” alumnae Nicole Elizabeth “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley).

And “The Show with Vinny,” which MTV calls a hybrid talk/reality show that “will shatter the typical talk-show format by taking the biggest celebrities out of the studio and into Vinny Guadagnino’s family home in Staten Island, N.Y.”

Along with a new gang of wild-and-crazy kids. “Buckwild” premieres Jan. 3 with a group of nine rebellious twenty-somethings living in West Virginia.

That’s all ahead. But looking back as “Jersey Shore” exits, the question persists: Why?

Maybe people watched “Jersey Shore” because it was a welcome, wacky liberation. A break from the confines of parents, kids, partner, boss. Within their world, the “Jersey Shore” housemates have been privileged to serve as your surrogate id, treating you to visions of irresponsibility while sparing you from its costs — whether embarrassment, a hangover or an STD.

Call “Jersey Shore” a train wreck, then, albeit with no casualties. But does that beat a show that really takes you somewhere?

So while we bid a fond adieu to the crew, one has to ask oneself, was it really worth it?

Did the show bring an economic shot in the arm to the Shore at the cost of its image?

Or, was the Jersey Shore’s image always that tawdry looking panorama? It just took MTV to bring it to the rest of the world…and profit off of it!

And as the Shore struggles to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, one can’t help but wonder if that economic shot in the arm wouldn’t be welcome to help in the revival effort.

 

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