A staple in reality television has come to an end. MTV’s Jersey Shore aired its final show Thursday night. While becoming the network’s most viewed show in its history, the series has also found it’s share of criticism. Whether it’s the ratings, the criticism, or the publicity, the Jersey Shore has definitely made an impact beyond MTV. The cast members of the show have also become instant celebrities. It’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard the names (or persona) of Snooki, The Situation, JWoww, or Pauly D. As for the other members, if you can’t remember their names then you may know them as Guido’s or meatballs as they affectionately refer themselves. It’s not just the cast that sticks with us though, but the colorful new phrases that have been widely introduced by them as well. There’s no wonder why much of the show will be missed, and conversely easily forgotten in the minds of many Americans.
Just over ten years ago reality television saw a boom primarily due the success of Survivor and Big Brother. Cable networks began having much of their channel dominated by reality television shows. Stars have been created in the wake, such as the likes of the Osbourne family, Kim Kardashian, and now the Jersey Shore cast. The eight young adults were brought together in a house in a small community in northern New Jersey, Seaside Heights. The town has hardly been the same since. If anything, for the controversy that’s been following the show. Even before it launched in 2009 several civil rights groups blasted MTV for the way Italians have been portrayed on the show. The antics of the cast have also been called into question. Many of them have been arrested, involved in physical altercations and other adverse affects of having an active social life. All of which draws more protest on how the country views Seaside Heights and the state of New Jersey as a whole.
But as this series closes, it probably will not spell the end for many of the characters we have become so familiar with. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jennifer “JWoww” Farley are in their own spin-off series on MTV. It was the first of at least two spin-offs. Another, the Pauly D Project, had shown Pauly in his adventure in becoming a name in the music business. We’re also hearing that cast member Vinny Guadagnino has something in the works too. But Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is probably the one cast member who tries to stay in the limelight more so than the others. He’s also done several other guest spots on other shows, Dancing With the Stars, public services announcements and multiple endorsement deals. In spite of its critics, delinquent behavior has proved a success for them and MTV.
Not for nothin’ but the legacy the cast of the Jersey Shore is leaving, good or bad, will likely leave a huge impact in the American pop culture history. Their “15 minutes” have paved the way for dozens of young stars of reality. Four years of going to the gym, tanning, doing laundry, partying, and of course fist-pumping has left its mark. As much as the fame shaped the lives of eight people, our youth have been shaped to essentially idolize them. Various other television series’ have spawned because of the Jersey Shore, many in the same form and fashion. Like it or not, the show has given us a new form of soap opera. All that’s needed is the drama and high jinks that the Jersey Shore does best.