If you ever wondered whether “my generation” would someday look back on the Jersey Shore days with fondness and nostalgia, then I can answer, YES.
Jersey Shore premiered on December 3rd, 2009. Like, feels like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? That’s just the illusion caused by the nonstop onslaught of horrifying news that leaves us feeling hopeless about even having a future makes every day seem longer than they used to in the past. But I can definitely remember the way Jersey Shore was received by critics when it aired —
“Ewww, reality TV is the downfall of our civilization!!”
As if Jersey Shore invented reality TV? Spoiler alert: it didn’t. And for perspective, when Jersey Shore premiered, The Apprentice had already been airing for five years. FIVE. YEARS.
I don’t recall Snooki ever putting babies in cages.
Our elders may have had no shortage of criticism for the likes of the Jersey Shore and its famous denizens with their curious monikers, however, I would just like to point out that, even though Jenni “JWoww” Farley definitely punched Mike “The Situation” squarely in the jaw for getting her kicked out of the club just before closing time when she was vomiting and sick, she has yet to collude with a foreign government to win an election in order to line her pockets with pay-to-play money while handing the reigns of the nation to the farthest-right powers which will ensure a doomed generation with mounting debt, stripped social services, and a bankrupt Social Security system.
Yeah, sure, Jersey Shore may be responsible for normalizing “DTF” and “GTL,” drinking and partying and excessive tanning. But Donald Trump normalized hate crimes, white nationalism, and “good guys on both sides.”
I know Jersey Shore isn’t perfect. Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, famous for getting arrested in season 1 after punching a man who was following the group home hurling threats and insults at them, has a history of anger and assault. It’s kind of like how, if you dig into the personal history of the sitting president, you’ll see that he’s been accused of sexual assault by 19 women and allegedly battered and raped his ex-wife. I say “allegedly” only because the records have been covered up almost as well as his trail of colluding with Russia (which is not that well, actually, but well enough that I can’t present it as absolute fact, but you can draw your own conclusion). Watch Season 2 and you’ll clearly see that Ronnie’s issues with aggression can absolutely be linked to his alcohol consumption, not that that’s any excuse, but it is something to consider. Donnie, on the other hand, doesn’t drink. He soberly stands in front of crowds and threatens violence and rape against those who disagree with him. Another thing to consider.
Look, I’m not saying that life on the Shore is perfect. There’s emotional manipulation, fists fly freely, and there’s always some kind of a Situation at the house. But to me, the Jersey Shore was a simpler time. Hard to believe those carefree days were less than 10 years ago. When our biggest concerns were sitting around in a wife-beater until the cabs arrived, so our t-shirts didn’t get sullied before hitting the clubs. And until I can see a future where we can again raise our fists and pump freely to the beat, I’ll seek my escapism where I can find it.
image via MTV website