On December 3, 2009, the whole world was changed. Months prior, MTV followed eight of America’s most interesting people as they lived in a shore house in Seaside Heights, NJ, worked on the boardwalk at The Shore Store, and drank enough to drown a small Malaysian island. They were living the modern day American dream. We had no idea the impact that these people were going to have on our culture until it was too late. It seems like everyone caught the Jersey Shore fever. However, unfortunately, I was not one of those people, and it haunts me every day.
As a resident of the Jersey shore, I originally rejected the show. I thought it didn’t represent us well at all. When I first went away to college, people told me I was “too pale” to be from New Jersey, and I indignantly explained how only Sammy Sweetheart was from New Jersey, so that stigma doesn’t make any sense. I wanted so badly for the stereotype to dissipate and let me be my own person. But as I got older, I found myself being more and more like the characters I had been trying to run away from. I told people Jersey girls don’t pump gas, we pump our fists. I danced on top of tables. I made out with strangers. I got so drunk that I didn’t know where I was.
This show shaped the world around us. Everyone wanted to party on the Jersey Shore. Duck phone sales skyrocketed after it was featured on the show. Gym, tan, laundry didn’t become just a tagline, it became a way of life. They even had a room in their house specifically for sex having. That is the height of interior design innovation. Their theme song put LMFAO on the map, along with a whole soundtrack of songs that make you want to black TF out. They didn’t just tear it up in New Jersey, they traveled to Miami and even Florence, Italy, where they show Italy how America does Italian. Jersey Shore impacted everyone, and people noticed. The cast was listed as part of Barbara Walters’ Top 10 Most Fascinating People. They joined the rankings of The Kardashians, making it nearly impossible to ignore them. The Jersey Shore was not only played in several countries, but also remade in places like England, Wales, and Spain.
The best part of the show wasn’t just the drama or the funny quotes from Pauly D, it was the lessons that the show taught us. The cast taught us to be ourselves, no matter how loud we are. Ronny and Sammy taught us to never give up on love, no matter how incredibly annoying you may be as a couple. Snooki taught us to take that last shot, no matter how wasted you already are. The Situation taught us that you can totally pull off any nickname, no matter how douchey or nonsensical it is. It’s the little things that matter in life: good hair, good liquor, and good friends.
Thinking about all of the times that I missed out on, especially T-Shirt Time, gives me a pain in my heart. I wish I had given it a chance earlier. I wish I didn’t have to now live through gifs and Youtube highlight reels. I want to be able to understand the references and live the way that avid fans live. But I will never get that time back. I’m forced to accept the fact that most people are over it. But I’m not, and I don’t think I will ever be..