First of all, if you haven’t watched last night’s Jersey Shore episode, go watch it now before reading this post.
I watched last night’s Jersey Shore and was reminded as to why I should never have started watching it in the first place.
Yes, I know that this show has been blatantly offensive from day 1…but for some reason, last night’s episode really made me stop and think, “Why am I watching this?”
Whether it was Sammi sucker punching Ronnie in the face, or the misogynistic humiliation of the girls in the house, using “grenade whistles,” I found myself waiting for the redeeming quality of the show at the end. I was hoping at some point a producer steps in and says, “You can’t be here, you’re a danger to your roommates” a la the Real World days (though Real World is produced by a different production company than Jersey Shore). Though some of this has happened before, it was never under simple circumstances. Ronnie is sitting there minding his own business, trying to ignore this girl who clearly needs professional mental help, and he gets punched in the face! That’s quite different than getting punched in the face at a crowded bar full of belligerent drunks. And speaking of…
The shot where Snooki gets punched in the face at a bar during last season’s Jersey Shore NEVER made it to air. They ran the clip in a promo, there was outrage, and it was cut from the show before it aired.
NOT TO MENTION…MTV’s Teen Mom cast member Amber Portwood was charged for 3 counts of domestic abuse for her televised rage towards her baby’s father and was sent to jail!!
So hey MTV, why then is it okay to air Sammi’s domestic abuse incident and not Snooki’s punch? After the Amber Portwood incident, shouldn’t MTV be a little more socially and ethically aware of the ramifications of airing non-scripted domestic abuse on-air!? If anything to protect their shows’ credibilities?
The misogynistic undertones of this show I can at least not get too confused about – this shit is happening in A LOT more television than Jersey Shore. However, domestic abuse in any situation, even Jersey Shore, should not be taken lightly. If MTV is going to air the Real World, Road Rules, and the Challenges – where if people are abusive they are sent home, why then are they not doing it for the Jersey Shore? Which is the standard ethical protocol, MTV?
Though maybe this is what MTV wants…people like me to ask questions and blog about the issues I find offensive on television!
I asked my friend Gabi, who is the MTV TJ, about why she thought last night’s episode was her favorite. I implied that the domestic abuse and heightened misogynistic undertones (even for Jersey Shore) seemed to be very against the type of message she so courageously and admirably speaks about – not only in her Young, Fat, and Fabulous blog but on her MTV TJ blog as well. This post and this post are two great examples of why I am a champion for her. Gabi and I have also talked about similar issues because I think she is a fantastic representation of a young, confident, intelligent woman who is sure of herself and what she stands for. Gabi’s response was basically that this has all happened before on the Jersey Shore, and that the abuse and misogyny is nothing new. It even yielded a You-Go-And-Get-Him! response from one of mine and Gabi’s mutual friends!
I totally get that it’s nothing new, but that doesn’t make it okay. Racism and discrimination is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it okay either (I also know those are larger issues, but you get the point). What does it say that some of us find the domestic abuse on this show to be entertaining?? And what makes Sammi’s punch any less of a serious offense than Amber Portwood’s?
In the end Gabi, someone whose opinion I admire and trust, suggested that I could stop watching the show. But, if anything I am going to continue watching the show so that I know exactly what other sorts of unethical things are going on with the show that all of America seems to have fallen in love with! And to try to wrap my brain around why Amber Portwood gets charged with 3 counts of domestic abuse but Sammi doesn’t…and why people seem to think that I’m insane for asking these questions. It’s a modern marvel if you ask me!
I also feel a responsibility to post the national domestic abuse hotline number, because if you or anyone you know (EXCEPT REALITY TV STARS APPARENTLY) is being abused, you can call 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). Check out www.thehotline.org for more information on domestic abuse and educate yourself on a serious offense that plagues families across the world.