At this point in pop culture, it would be a miracle to find people in this country that have not submitted to, at least, one reality TV show (Amish and Mormon communities do not count for this exaggeration). Of course reality shows have shown to be influential on us young-ins, but what types of lessons are sticking in our heads?
I believe that as college students, we are expected to educate ourselves in the history, economics and philosophy of the world; but, somehow I find myself still scheduling time to sit down in front of the television each Thursday night for one particular reality show. So, as a collegiette beginning a new school year with a fresh season of my own guilty pleasure show (just one of many), it would appropriate to evaluate the positives “Jersey Shore” has on our generation.
Here are a few lessons we can take away from these guidos and giudettes that have landed at the top of the TV ratings, yet again, for their fourth season in the motherland Italy. (You can whip this list out the next time an adult claims these guidos are turning your brains to mush—that’s what Thirsty Thursday is for…after watching the latest Jersey episode, of course).
- Avoid being the sloppy drunk, especially when you are surrounded by modern technology. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Deena Cortese probably can’t even count to the number of times they have fallen during nights out drinking while on camera. However, both have the ability to laugh at themselves right after, which is the best way to recover from drunken stumbles in public.
- “GTL” (gym, tan, laundry) for life should be done sparingly with caution. Going to the gym is a good idea, but only leaving enough time in the day for some weight-lifting might not lead to the best time management skills. Tanning is debatable: tanning beds are bad news, but spray tan can lead to looking like an orange peel. If one must have some color in the middle of winter, then a fake-bake is the best way to avoid prematurely aging your skin (a 24-year-old having a 65-year-old’s skin). I don’t think I can say anything negative about laundry.
- On that note, if someone consistently uses “GTL” and “DTF” in their personal lexicon in a non-mocking manner, you probably can expect the majority of conversations to revolve around clubs, hangovers and possibly STDs. Of course, it’s one own prerogative on who he or she hangs out with, but know what you’re getting and accept it, nothing more and nothing less.
- High school health class is more useful than expected—it’s still puzzling how an almost 30-year-old man doesn’t know how sexually transmitted diseases can be passed. For a person like Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, whose idea of a perfect night is hooking up with multiple girls in only three hours of clubbing, I assumed he would be a bit more cautious in the bedroom… or in his case, the bathroom, taxi cab or alley.
- An ego without a little self-depreciation is not attractive. Confidence is a great characteristic to have, but not an over-abundance of it. Mike “The Situation” has an ego bigger than his six-pack abs. “Everybody loves me—babies, dogs, ya know, hot girls, cougars. I just have unbelievable mass appeal,” in his own words. On the other hand, Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio has a slight ego but acknowledges the fact that his blowout may not be to everyone’s liking: “Don’t let the spike hair fool you, like I’m not a bitch,” he says.
- “Stay fresh to death”—personal hygiene is appreciated in every subculture apparently. I can’t argue to this guido motto. I actually love “t-shirt time.”
- Show up to work hung-over, but only if you plan on limiting your career choices to jobs with a maximum of four-hour work shifts. College students can understand this lifestyle, but continuing it until you are out of your twenties is just plain lame (unless you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars having cameras follow you around living that way).
- Loyalty these days can be difficult to come by when you can easily “de-friend” a person after one disagreement. In the “shore” family, supporting your friends is expected, and that is a trait I can respect. If you were being disrespected in front of a friend, whether you are present or not, wouldn’t you want someone to stand up for you because he or she cares about you. I stand by my friends and family and I expect the same in return. The Jersey gang believes in the same principle for friendship. Although the guys on the cast lean towards fighting to express their loyalty, among other emotions, it does get the point across clearly (not really recommending that activity though).
- Granted this show’s cast might not appear to be the most educated, but when the amount of new projects each personality has developed from living in front of cameras for a couple months is higher than the number of courses I have taken in my whole college career (I’m a senior, so it’s been a lot) there’s some smart business going on. Each experience leads to more opportunities, and it’s to our benefit to take advantage of new opportunities.
- If there was only one lesson to take away from this reality show, it might be that family is top priority always. Whether it’s making time to drink, cook, eat with one another or defend each other, they have formed their own mini-family. They might seem to hate each other in heated battles full of f-bombs, but they love with all their hearts.