In the past few years, reality TV shows have shown up all over television, flooding networks like Bravo and MTV. Recently added to the reality mix is The Jersey Shore, a show featuring overly-bronzed Italian-American men and their scantily clad female counterparts, which has reached an even higher level of mass appeal than its competitors.
But what exactly draws adults and teens alike to this show, or any reality show for that matter? Why are we so fascinated with this “GTL” (Gym, Tanning, and Laundry) lifestyle, even going as far as dedicating high school dances to the show?
The simplest explanation is that The Shore is incredibly entertaining. “It is the greatest show ever created – just the right combo of ridiculous behavior and steroids,” science teacher Rich Calhoun exclaimed.
“It’s just so entertaining, and the characters are hysterical!” Julie Wardwell ’12 echoed. Mr. Calhoun later compared it to a car wreck, saying, “You know you shouldn’t look, but you just can’t help yourself! You can’t tear your eyes away.”
Another possible explanation is that it is intriguing to see a world so unlike our own. “It’s funny to imagine that people actually live like that! It makes me wonder why I don’t,” Victoria Serra ’12 joked.
English teacher Michael Schloat agreed: “It’s like going to the zoo, like watching a different species in its natural habitat. The people are just so self-absorbed, it’s ridiculous; they lead an utterly different lifestyle.”
In addition to its entertainment value, Shelbi Kilcollins ’12 uses the show to boost her self-confidence. “It just makes me feel better about myself,” she commented.
Whether The Shore provides a guilty pleasure or a self-esteem booster, it has sucked in mass audiences who revel in the show’s absurdity.