Pop-Ed: Jersey Shore is Done…Did We Care?

bill bodkin says goodbye to seaside…

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Jersey Shore is officially over…and the apathy is palpable.

Seriously, did anyone notice that this show was ending? It seemed like only yesterday that Facebook and Twitter feeds were abuzz about “Jerz Day,” endless bemoanings of the Sam and Ron relationship and endless re-tweeting of those famed three letters G..T…L.

However, nearly three years after the show debuted on MTV, the show came to an end and it seemed like no one out there cared. No Facebook feeds mentioned it, it wasn’t trending on Twitter, even locally in the New York/New Jersey area…nothing.

It’s wild to think this show broke ratings records with nearly every season premiere, ingrained innumerable pop culture catchphrases into our lexicon and made the boardwalk town of Seaside Heights an international tourist destination…ended with such a whimper.

So why did America stop caring about the guidos and guidettes that inhabited the boards of Seaside?

1. Overexposure: These “gweeds” were way too ubiquitous. Everywhere we turned we saw The Situation with his shirt halfway up his chest — whether it be on Dancing with the Stars or any tabloid in the supermarket, this dude and his abs were unavoidable. And if you were in the nightlife scene, appearances from cast members or Jersey Shore-themed nights were inevitable. Then there were the spin-offs The DJ Pauly D Project and Snooki & J Woww — both of which had little to no point. Of course, how could we forget all the lame ass commercials the cast starred in that aired during the show. And finally, the ultimate “jump of the shark” — the girls of Jersey Shore being cast in the Three Stooges movie.

2. It Became the Most Surreal/Meta Show In History: Don’t worry we’re not going to make this sound like a college thesis where about tropes and Freudian thought. The whole point of this show was to document the lives of regular guidos who have a summer share at the Jersey Shore and of course, in true MTV fashion — they had jobs to ‘pay their rent.’ Now this was all well and good in Season 1, but after a while it became a little ridiculous. It started slowly. First, the hoopties and beaters they pulled up to the shore house in the first season were replaced with Escalades and high-end luxury cars. Then they were becoming so popular that people were searching them out for fights and gawking around them on camera. Then everyone in the cast began wearing DJ Pauly D’s star tattoo t-shirt. Then, to top it off, after publicly feuding with MTV for six-figure per episode salaries, they’re still made to work in the “Shore Store” where they are literally selling t-shirts with their catchphrases and likenesses on it. Now that’s just plain weird.

3. What Else Was There To Do?: Everyone’s hooked up with each other. Everyone’s had a bar fight or act of public drunkeness. A few people have gotten thrown in lock-up. The Situation went to rehab. Snooki got preggers. J Woww is “settled down.” They’re all really, really rich. What more could happen…seriously?

4. Even Hate Watching Gets Old: A lot of people tuned in to laugh at the show, some to see their friends, some to see themselves and some people actually loved the show. But for the most part, Jersey Shore was the show we all loved to hate. We yelled at the TV when Sam and Ron fought for the 10 millionth time. We laughed when The Situation gave himself a concussion. We cringed at some of the really hideous girls the guys took home. But after a while, it got old, then it got really old.

And I guess that’s what the point of all this is…we just stopped caring. These “regular people” became celebrities, yet we were supposed to still see them as “regular people” and we were supposed to feel bad for them for getting arrested for stupid stuff or when their 100th random hook-up didn’t work out. It just became on big mind numbing mess that kept getting shoved down our throats. And so we just stopped. We stopped taking the force-feeding. And now…Jersey Shore, like other white hot reality shows e.g. The Osbournes, Rock of Love and Studs will fade into the pop culture ether and we’ll only be reminded of its presence by when we’re looking through sale items and see the once ‘can’t keep it on the shelf’ merch marked down to $5.

However, this column can’t end without thinking of the one positive out of the Jersey Shore experience. The one really, honest-to-goodness positive thing this show did was help put money in good people’s pockets. [Editor’s Note: Bill Bodkin worked the Jersey Shore bar scene, in particular Seaside Heights for eight years]. After a couple of rough summers that were plagued with rain and terrible economy, Seaside Heights boomed financially thanks the show. Even during the frigid months of January people were lining the boards to see the Jersey Shore house. Local businesses benefited from getting their businesses shown on the show. Other businesses took the opposite approach and said the show wasn’t allowed in, placating to the local crowds. The boardwalks in the summertime were filled to the brims with people thanks to the show. And when the show was filming, you didn’t even want to be in the area, the crowds were insane. And those crowds spent money at businesses owned by some very good people and that, in many ways is a good thing.

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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites