YGL: The Jersey Shore Conundrum … Why We Watch

by Columnist

The Nation’s Capitol gives MTV’s “Jersey Shore” a loving fistpump as cast members hit up McFadden’s

By Katherine Delmonico

Pauly D & JWoww lead a fist pump contest at McFadden's in Foggy Bottom

Pauly D & JWoww lead a fist pump contest at McFadden's in Foggy Bottom

The crowd was visible from several blocks away.  About 75 or so twenty-somethings gathered outside of McFadden’s in Foggy Bottom, anxiously craning their necks to see inside of the bar.

“Does anyone have any extra tickets?” a petite brunette in a Burberry quilted jacket shrieked above the crowd. “ANYONE!?”

A guy in tattered khakis, a waffle-knit henley and a ski hat arrives with his girlfriend. “Dude- tickets are sold out!” his friend calls to him as he walks up to the line.

It was obvious to any outsider that something very important was happening here. Something of monumental magnitude that was capable of pulling D.C.’s young partygoing crowd away from Georgetown and Dupont and into a wall-to-wall packed bar, risking life and limb for Jagermeister drink specials. And apparently something monumental was happening. As I was told by one ticketless-hopeful-with-a-dream, “Pauly D is coming.”

If you don’t know Pauly D by name, he is one of the self-loving Italian-Americans that make up the cast of MTV’s breakout hit, Jersey Shore. Pauly and his cast member, JWoww (these are not actual names, rather MTV-imposed nicknames thought up by producers, which make them almost better) are on a publicity blitz that made a stop at McFadden’s last night, only to be greeted by a raucous crowd of D.C.’s undergrads.

Disappointment littered Facebook groups and area websites the day after, as partygoers found out too late that they had to have a sold-out VIP ticket last night in order to enter a cordoned off area where the two Jerseyans were settled. Honestly, however, the fact that they came to our fair city is really nothing of note. After all, they are a group of “regular” (we use that term loosely…) people who are now being paid 5 figures to appear at bars that they probably would have hung out at anyways. Throw in a Spring Break bar theme and throngs of screaming co-eds and Pauly D & JWoww are pretty much in heaven. The real question is: why do we care?

Washington, D.C: a place synonymous with an ever-changing political landscape and a fierce breadth of competition, as the city boasts the most educated population per capita in the country. It’s a city that emanates hope and change, but sometimes elitism and overwhelming pressure. In our pseudo-hipster, irony-is-the-new-black society, it’s easy to lose your sense of self at times. It’s possible that Jersey Shore’s unprecedented popularity has something to do with the fact that it provides an escape from our day to day cerebral context, and allows us to laugh at the simpler things in life, like using the term “grenade” to describe a guy entertaining a less attractive female so his friend can cozy up to her much hotter friend. Genius! After spending a humorless day working on the Hill in your Brooks Brothers tie or ill-fitting pantsuit, it’s kind of a guilty pleasure to indulge in the bizarre life on the Jersey Shore that many of us know little about. We all, deep down, feel this pressure to conform at times, but Jersey Shore gives us a real glimpse of people who, for better (and more often, for much worse), kind of seem okay with who they are. And that’s a feat in itself. As Marlo Thomas said, “We’re all free to be you and me”- even if you’re Pauly D.

Don’t get me wrong; this show will not leave you feeling like you have had a religious experience. More likely, you’ll probably want to take a shower and resolve to stop cursing. But, for what it is, Jersey Shore is kind of interesting, pretty funny, somewhat horrifying and all around entertaining. The show has been panned by Italian-American groups who say it perpetuates negative stereotypes, and Domino’s Pizza recently pulled its ads from the show, so Jersey Shore does not come without controversy. Grab a Heineken and settle in to learn about the mantras of life on the Jersey Shore, such as the essential daily activities as described by the male faction of the gang as “GTL”; gym tanning and laundry. You just might start feeling better about that post-grad summer you spent in Dewey after all…

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