'Jersey Shore': Yes, it absolutely is offensive

I understand the “Relax, it’s just a TV show” argument put forth by people who are loving MTV’s trashy reality show Jersey Shore. I see how watching this group of obnoxious goofballs can be fascinating and entertaining. But please, let’s not kid ourselves. It absolutely is offensive, and as an Italian-American myself, I feel like I need to call bullcrap on some of the arguments saying otherwise.

I reached my breaking point yesterday morning while watching a Today Show segment in which NBC News correspondent Jeff Rossen read from what he said was a casting notice for Jersey Shore, claiming that it specifically called for “loud, proud Italians,” and “guidos and guidettes” to participate in the new show. When asked about the cast notice and creation of the show, MTV said in a statement to EW: “MTV picked it up, and worked with the third-party production company to further develop (including supplemental casting) the creative in the tradition of MTV’s authentic reality series True Life, which had successful Jersey Shore episodes — ‘True Life: Staten Island,’ ‘True Life: I Have A Summer Share,’ and ‘True Life: I’m A Jersey Shore Girl.’”

So it may very well have been a third-party producer, and not an MTV employee, who actually wrote that casting notice. But in either case, it isn’t as if this show just stumbled upon a subculture of cocky, promiscuous airheads from the Jersey Shore that happen to be Italian-American. Producers specifically set out from the beginning to build a series around “loud, proud” “guidos” (MTV points out that several cast members are only half-Italian and one is not Italian at all), and only two of the eight people cast on Jersey Shore are even from the state of New Jersey, let alone the Shore. (The guy who calls himself Pauly D said in the premiere episode that he’d never even been to Jersey before the show.)

Reality television has a long history of exploiting idiots for viewers’ entertainment, and in many ways this is just more of the same. As my colleague Tanner Stransky pointed out in his positive take on the premiere, “These seemingly silly ‘guidos and guidettes’ (their words, not mine) aren’t being forced to do anything — MTV just brought its cameras and let them do their thing.” And I agree there is little sympathy to be had for them. But even in the world of lowest-common-denominator reality programming, it is rare, if ever, that a show has so blatantly and unapologetically focused its cameras on a specific ethnic group like Jersey Shore does. Shows like Growing Up Gotti and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, for example, exploited stereotypes that happen to be Italian. The difference with Jersey Shore is the stereotype IS that they’re Italian. These people aren’t just buffoonish fame whores, but buffoonish fame-whore Italians. MTV has said they didn’t mean to “stereotype, discriminate or offend” anyone, and I don’t mean to imply that they created a show (or bought a show created by someone else) with that as their intention. However, I do find it odd that they didn’t realize this concept of rounding up “loud, proud” Italian “guidos” and holing them up for a summer of debauchery at a Jersey Shore house draped with Italian flags could perhaps be seen as offensive to people of Italian descent.

As for the word “guido,” MTV programming president Tony DiSanto told THR he realizes some people consider it a “derogatory term,” but that since the kids on the show “refer to themselves that way, we let that exist as is.” Listen, just because these people self-identify as “guidos” doesn’t mean that the word isn’t offensive to the millions of Italian-Americans who can’t stomach watching them demean themselves and their heritage in the name of reality celebrity. (That point is not completely lost on MTV, which has responded to protests by pulling the word “guido” from voiceovers and descriptions for the show.) “Guido” is a slur. The Jersey Shore cast member who refers to himself as The Situation (pictured) may declare that the word has evolved into something inoffensive, but let me state for the record that this guy by no means speaks for all Italian-Americans. And I’d be willing to bet that the person who wrote up that casting call looking for “guidos” wouldn’t be so confident in the word’s innocuousness to walk up to a random Italian-American on the street and say, “Hey, guido! What’s happening?”

The fact that the offensiveness isn’t immediately apparent to everyone is probably because Italian-American discrimination in the U.S. doesn’t have the same violent, abhorrent history as discrimination against some other groups. And honestly, that’s valid. The portrayal of negative Italian stereotypes and use of an Italian slur isn’t as destructive as, say, the use of the “N” word for a black person or the “F” word for a gay man. I’m not saying the show should get yanked (though I do think advertisers should consider their association to it), and I’m as appalled as anyone by these reports that MTV is receiving threats because of it. But also valid is the fact that as an Italian-American, I find this show and its delusional meatheads and bimbos offensive and embarrassing. That may not be cause for national outrage, but it is worth noting that not everyone is on board with Jersey Shore‘s particular brand of ridiculous fun.

Comments (419 total) Add your comment
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  • Brian C.

    Shut up. Seriously.

    • Officer Farva

      Seriously. What he said.

      • harley

        Yeah. It’s a stupid TV show dripping with real-life freaks. Just go to the Jersey shore. You’ll see.

      • Puhleaze!

        This article/diatribe was offensive to me. Can we start a crybaby organization that protests all the crybaby protesters who offend our delicate sensibilities with all of their whining and attempts to control other peoples thoughts, words, and actions?

    • Justin

      Seriously, no sane person is convinced that this is how most Italian-Americans act by watching this silly show. Frankly this kind of feigned outrage is more offensive and insulting.

      • frank

        seriously seriously shut up!!!! i’m italian american but im not a douchebag italian american. i know the diff and i’m pretty sure the rest of america knows unless they r also douchebags of another background.

      • C

        Uh, they don’t know the difference. Sorry, but I moved from the East Coast to the South, and this is EXACTLY what folks down here think of Italians. It’s real and this show will not help.

      • a man

        That just shows the ignorance of folks in the south.

      • victoria

        Not all people from the south are ignorant. Saying that is offensive to people from the South.

      • theresa

        That’s because it’s the south, not the north. People near new york and new jersey know the difference. I’m italian american from long island, where many people like the ones on the show come from, and trust me everyone knows they are extreme versions — that’s why they’re on tv!

      • MW

        Theresa,that would be awesome if the show only aired near New York and New Jersey,but it airs all across the country and people in other states DO buy into the negative stereo-types.

      • MV

        This is BS. I’ve already had co-workers come up to me and ask me if this is what I was like when I was in my 20′s. It doesn’t matter that I’m not from New Jersey and and I don’t speak or act like those idiots on the show. I know people who are hold guido parties on Thurdays to watch this crap. This show is a negative slur on Italian-Americans. I think we should have equal time for Gays, Blacks and Irish. Maybe then we’ll see what people think.

      • Matt

        Honestly Im from NJ, ive been to the place they work at, I get a kick out of the show. I dont agree with the message they are putting out there because unfortunately a lot of people in America believe everything they see on TV and take the way these people act too seriously. Good idea for a show…poor execution

      • Dave

        Speaking for the gays, fine we will take equal time. I mean its not like we arent already represented as flaming, feminine, limp wristed fairies in everything already. But in return you must give up all equal rights, refrain from kissing, holding hands, even touching your significant other and always be aware of where you are and who’s around you because you may be about to get your ass kicked. And to the jackhole’s putting the south down…we aren’t all stupid, ignorant rednecks. But your comments sure make all northerners like bigoted, judgemental asses.

      • LB

        @Dave: perfectly put.

      • B

        Oh ok, hold on “a man”, so now we are going to start degrading the south? Honestly are you that immature? Please… grow up.

      • missy

        Anybody who is watching MTV for a real-life look at anything needs to get their head examined. Everybody with half a brain knows that it in order to be cast as a member of one of MTVs reality shows you pretty much have to be young, attractive, promiscuous, and dumber than a box of rocks. The fact that they are sort of Italian, or sat next to an Italian guy on a bus one time, is a distant second to how many times they have contracted VD.

      • Jake

        I’m from the midwest and think we are all idiots for reading this article or watching anything on MTV. I don’t discriminate.

      • Heather

        Ok I am from Staten Island and as you already know (because some of the housemates are from Staten Island) the city gets a bad rep for being trashy, mob infested, etc… I mean the largest population of Italian Americans in the U.S. live in Staten Island butI am not Italian. I get a lot of crap for it, I hear all the abuse as soon as I say I am from there. You know what I say, oh well. As long as I carry myself the way I want and represent Staten Island the way I feel it should be than I have no reason to be mad. Therefore if your an Italian American and think this is offensive, than represent them the way you want people to see you. It’s only words. The show is entertaining and funny

      • Toomer13

        Bullshit i have been correct multiple times and I’m from jersey

    • Matt

      Seriously

      • Vincent

        The characters on Jersey Shore are Americans. They may be of Italian descent, but they are Americans. Anyone with a brain should be offended by this show, not just “Italians”.

      • Paul

        MV — click over to Bravo or Logo once in a while. My people are stereotyped every single gay. Or make that day. “Launch My Line”? Really? I don’t know ANYONE like that, but you’re buying into it. “Queer Eye”? Seriously? Let’s cast the flamer, the gym bunny, the great chef, the interior decorator & the gay who jusssst knowsss all about musssic. Right. And Just Jack on Will & Grace? Please, mary. Let my people go. Trust me, Italians are just the latest stereotype target.

      • Y

        Paul having his daily hissy fit?What a surprise. Pathetic drama queen.

    • michael

      ditto

      • AshleyG

        Who really cares? I don’t and I don’t know anyone else that thinks this show is even worth mentioning

    • JS

      MTV has been showcasing stereotypes for decades. That’s what they do. They’ve loaded DOZENS of seasons of Real World and Road Rules with drunken frat boys, squealing gay guys, angry black men, catfighting skanks, racist southern kids, naive religious kids … you name it, they’ve mocked it and sold it. so where was your outrage then, italian guy. Ohhhhhh, NOW it affects you. got it.

      • Thalia Eammons-Oxlade

        Ha Ha……Right on the money JS!!!

    • SC

      Agreed. As an Italian, Boston native, that now resides in the old south I see no issue with this show whatsoever. Hell, its one of the best shows on TV besides Enterouge.

      • jk

        Calling “Entourage” one of the best shows on TV (and not being able to spell it correctly) just lost you all of your credibility.

      • pw

        As Nick Dipaolo says I’m offended by the old Olive Garden commercials. Uncle Pasquale from the Old Country comes to visit his family in America and they bring him to the Olive Garden. Really the Olive Garden, you dont know of any other Italian Eatery other than some chain slophouse. better off why dont you bring him to an american eatery/steakhouse where he can get some american eats. If I visited Italy and my family brought me to an applebees i would be a lil upset.

        I would say that food is more of a definitive way of defining a country than what the youth of that country acts and wears. the clothes, image, outlook of the young people in this country is constantly changing regardless of your ethnicity.

        This “journalist” just wants to get upset about something just to get upset about it.

        As an Italian American Im offended and embarressed by Mike Bruno.

    • Gina

      I was honestly going to write the same exactly thing

  • darclyte

    I dunno, the I-A people that I know from that area who look and act that way do call themselves “Guidos.” They use other words (that all also start with a G) to knock people that they don’t like, but they all seemed to have embraced calling themselves “Guidos.” Perhaps it’s like black people who call themselves and each other N-as?

    • Ana

      There are a lot of black people (myself included) who absolutely despise the n-word regardless of who’s using it. I do not, nor will I ever, embrace that word.

      • wakeforce

        That is your rioght to do that, but how many times have I walked down the street and heard young black men refer to each other as “My n****a.” This is just holding up a microscope to show these people DO exist, no matter the PC police insistence they do not.(By the way, I am black too!)

      • Mist

        where in the world did black people come into this crap you people really need to fall back this show is just a show who cares what them dirty italians they need to take they ass back to sicily are gudow land get over yall selfes keep the n word out cause this anite about that

      • Jess

        Mist,
        Perhaps you should learn how to spell and/or speak proper English before you go spouting off about things you obviously know nothing about. You seriously just called all Italins dirty. How do you think that makes you sound? Your comments are just as offensive, especially to someone whose great grandfather did come to America from Sicily. Come back and comment when you can speak proper English and learn how to spell. Until then, go take a bath!

      • MIST-AKE

        Mist honey, please remember…it’s better to have people THINK you’re a fool, than to open your mouth

      • Whatever

        Mist, seriously, tell me you’re not Black because if you do you’re just embarrassing every one of us by not being able to write correctly (and I’m not even American).

    • MV

      Yet you couldn’t call a black person the N word – heck you and I can’t even write the whole word out without offending anyone yet you feel perfectly comfortable writing the guido. I find it offensive just as much as a black person finds the N were offensive – not matter who says it!!!

      • Y

        MV,
        Go back and read all your comments. You are being such an unbelievably whiny little BlTCH about all this.
        A couple of people made inappropriate remarks at work? Deal with it, chump. Stop whining as if it’s the end of the world and stop looking for scapegoats for your own obvious inferiority complex.

      • Sherry

        Mist, you can’t even speak proper english nor spell Guido…hahaha.

      • MIST-AKE

        Sorry my computer died,what I mean to say was….Mist honey, it’s better to have people THINK you’re a fool, than to open your mouth and ERASE ALL DOUBT.

      • Whatever

        Sorry but as the reviewer says, there’s a big difference in Black and Italian’s history in America ; after all Italians are white, nevertheless you Americans always putting people in different boxes according to their “races”. I don’t think it’s normal that people use the word guido if it is indeed that offensive but I really don’t think you should compare it with the N-word.

  • Mike

    I am Italian-American, my family is originally from New Jersey, and still have family there. I am in now way offended by the show. I don’t even think about the show as a stereotype, rather just a group of people that are completely out of control. It is like the real world, except you put 8 people that are a lot alike and will do stupid things together. You need to ligthen up, it is MTV and that you would take content on MTV so seriously speaks more to your conservative opinions than anything else.

    • ItalianAware

      Mike, with all due respect- the issue isn’t about the show, it was about how MTV promoted that started this entire debate. MTV, through promos, referred to the entire cast as Guidos. That’s a fact. What else is a fact? An all balck cast would have never been referred to a n-words in national promos. And there is nothing to lighten up about- Since MTV started calling this cast Guidos, EVERY NEWS OUTLET has felt it A-OK to refer to the Italian cast as Guidos. Do a simple google search to see if I am lying. MTV started something completely reprehensible.

      • Mike

        I did a search, and you’re lying.

      • Puhleaze!

        Oh no! What’s next — a show about northerners where they refer to themselves as Yankees? Or one with Southerners calling themselves rednecks? Uptight W.A.S.P.s calling themselves …gulp…WASPs? If being called Guido is so bad, why do Italians do it? They’re the ones perpetuating it. They even name their kids Guido! How offensive could the word be?! I hear Irish people calling themselves Micks all the time, and they had WAY more prejudice against them in this country than Italians did.
        Maybe the guy who wrote this article is just as starved for attention as the people on Jersey Shore and this is his way of getting his 15 minutes.

      • max

        did you really just compare the n-word to ‘guido’? they are not in the same league by a mile.

      • Denny

        Yeah, I’m from the South and I have lots of friends of Italian descent from up north, so I don’t believe the stereotypes, but if this was my only exposure to Italian-American culture, I might think differently. I know I wouldn’t like a show depicting “crackers” and “rednecks”, and while I liked it as a little kid, I’m now a little embarrassed about The Dukes of Hazzard. Apparently, some of you Northerners bought into that stereotype, judging by some of your comments. The point is images stick, and does it make it any better if the show’s participants perpetuate a bad stereotype willingly and allow MTV to exploit them like this? No, because it hurts those around them.

      • jk

        @Puhleaze! : People name their kids Guido because IT IS A NAME. It is what the slur derives from. People are not choosing the name based on the stereotype because the name existed first. You are an idiot.

      • ryan

        You are lying, they called themselves guidos.

      • Puhleaze!

        @jk – No kidding that Guido is a name? Gee, who knew that? You are so wise. Unfortunately not wise enough to recognize that my point is that if the name has such painful, hurtful, shameful, wa-wa crybaby inducing powers associated with it, why would people still name their child Guido? Could it be because it’s not really a big freakin deal? Yes.

      • jk

        @Puhleaze!: What you said was insinuating that Italians perpetuate the Guido stereotype by naming their kids Guido. Don’t change your point and get all fussy just because someone responds to it.

    • Sherry

      Someone said they take the “beautiful” people for those shows…they should take a look in the mirror…the girls are not that hot..just have big boobs is all.

      • EG

        That JWow chick has a slammin’ pair of knockers tho

      • Joey

        Sherry, THANK YOU SO MUCH – I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who sees these chicks for what they are!

    • Bill

      Totally.

  • Dave

    I watched about the first 10 minutes of the premiere of Jersey Shore and that was about all I could handle. The people on that show are failures of humanity.

    • Joey

      Yeah, failures that if they go with a season 2 will be making 10 grand an episode!

      • Arianna

        Me and my friend Troy tried to watch at leat least half an episode and by the time we were done we think our IQ dropped…50 points.30 for turning it on, 10 for watching the opening scene, 10 for actually watching it.

  • Kelsey

    I know I’d never refer to myself as a “mick” or a “kraut,” but if these people refer to themselves as “guidos,” I’m not sure what you can do about it, short of standing up as an Italian-American and distancing yourself from it, the same way I’ve seen black people stand up and denounce the use of a “N” word, including its use by other blacks.

    • MaryAnn

      Thank you!! Someone who understands.

  • PeterBilt

    You are offended because you want attention. Get serious. The offensive thing about the show is that people fall for these ‘characters’ that are clearly egged on to behave a certain way

    • George

      Uh yea I live at the Jersey Shore and every summer people come down from New York and do and act exactly like this, they are not characters they are as real to the guido as possible. I’m also Italian-American and guidos are a sub-culture of Italians that slick their hair back,p have no selfrespect and act like complete asshols, trust me its not because they are on camera this is how these retards act in real life and its offensive to the people who actually live here

      • Lala

        Agreed. I’ve been to the Jersey shore dozens of times growing up, and this show is NO EXAGGERATION. People actually behave this way and are proud of it. I’m an Italian-American, and while I don’t find the word ‘guido’ to be shockingly offensive and I do understand that people who refer to themselves as such are a small (and quite frankly, trashy) part of the Italian-American population, I am quite appalled by the fact that MTV’s promotions are catering to the many places in the USA where Italian-Americans are not as commonplace, and many people may think this is the ‘norm’. It is not. So, basically, in addition to people asking Italian-Americans if they are “connected” (which is seriously annoying!) they will also be called ‘guido’ or ‘guidette’ as if it’s some badge of honor to be called that. It’s not.

  • Mark

    You should be proud of your people, not offended by them. I work with a Vinny who would fit in perfect on the show. I would tell you to go have some pasta and relax but because I am relating pasta to Italian people it is probably somehow offensive.

    • Q

      Pasta is safe, but referring to a coworker as a “Vinny”? Yeah, not so much.

    • jk

      But the thing is, the people on this show are not “my people”, even though they are Italian and so am I, because nothing they do is representative of me or of Italian culture. They say that they are examples of all Italians when that’s simply false.

      • Mark

        So who on tv is your People??? Probably no one right?

        And my coworkers name really is Vinny, I’m from Boston.

        I am Irish adn Italian, would I be offended if they did a show about a bunch of Irish Drunks, Bring it on!

      • jk

        Well, if we’re going by your definition, Italian people (and Irish people, incidentally) are “my people”. Not the kids on this show.
        I’m a little confused as to how your co-worker’s name actually being Vinny is justified by you being from Boston…

      • VT

        Who said that anything these idiots say or do is representative of anything other than those particular idiots? Anyone who thinks otherwise is a complete moron too. Who gives a crap about their opinion in the effing first place? Maybe you should direct your anger at Italian-Americans who act this way in REAL LIFE and not MTV. MTV is just pointing cameras at them.

      • jk

        @VT: You ask “who said that anything these idiots say or do is representative of anything other than those particular idiots?” Well, Mark said that. That is why I replied to his comment to Italians that we “should be proud of” our people, not “offended” by them. And it’s a little delusional to say that MTV is “just pointing cameras” at them. Perhaps that argument would fly on a documentary-style series like “True Life”, but MTV specifically cast these Italian kids Real World-style. Also: did I ever mention anything about MTV in my previous posts? Not really sure where your comment came from regarding that…

      • pw

        Well I take it that you live in America so your people would probably be Americans. I’m half Irish and Half Italian, but like most people in this country the factor that contributes most to my behavior is my geographic location and my socio-economic status not my heritage.

        My grandmother and grandfather were second generation Italian Americans and they wore their italian heritage on their sleaves. You could tell they were italian by their food, clothes, religion, speach patterns, behavior and outlook.

        My point is that although theres nothing wrong with being proud of your heritage, look across the street and notice how being italian really doesnt differentiate you from your german, irish, chinese, or african neighbor. this is the 21st century, most people in this country of European descent are atleast 4th generation, of mixed descent and actually dont show any of the traits of what a true Italian would show, as if there really is a defining trait anymore. My friends mom makes some great pasta dishes and shes of German descent.

        The people on the show act this way not cause of their heritage but because certain sects of this country want to lift weights, style their hair a certain way, always have a tan, get drunk pick fights and act like morons on television. And people like myself and all of you love commenting on them.

        When I moved to Baltimore a few of my tenth grade students, some white some black, asked if I was in the Mafia. I laughed and I told him no but my uncle vincenzo was. I dont understand how Italian Americans can get offended by this show. Is it going to stop you from getting a job. Are people gonna drive by your house and yell, “go back to Italy Guido”. is some woman at a bar gonna deny you and say “I dont date WOPs.” If you really take offense when someone asks if your in the mafia or do you act like those people on Jersey Shore you should just laugh it off. If the person that asks that question is out of high school and being serious they are morons.

      • jk

        I think you guys are missing my point entirely. I am not defining ANYONE as “my people”. Mark did that by saying tha Italians should be proud of the “Jersey Shore” cast because they are “our people,” to which I responded that they are not my people just because I am Italian-American and they are Italian-American. I’m not sure what’s so hard to understand here.

  • Meghan

    I have a hard time seeing it as offensive, when all the people cast seem very content with who they are. It’s kind of like being offended by the Real World because it portrays all young people as vapid party people. I didn’t have a lot in common with “Real Worlders” when I was that age, but I didn’t get offended that people think of all young people as partiers. That’s just the world, you know? Maybe there’s a grain of truth to it, but it’s still just a show where people are being themselves.

    • jk

      But the Real World portrays a wide variety of young people – all races, religions, ethnicities, creeds, sexual orientations, etc. – as “vapid party animals.” It has a decidedly different effect when all of the cast members are purposely of the same ethnicity.

      • Menchy

        Well ageism and racism (and sexism, etc.) are all equally valid points of discrimination. Not that I think this show is honestly any of those things. Guido is the widespread term for them in Jersey. Everyone, including Italian people, refer to the hair gelled orange tanned kids in the north jersey shore as guidos. It’s no more offensive than calling groups of kids in New York hipsters or preppy kids.

      • jk

        @Menchy: It absolutely IS more offensive because the word guido is an ethnically-based stereotype, rather than one that derives from someone’s choice of attire. I get what you’re saying in that no one should be pigeonholed by a stereotype perpetuated by people on T.V. (i.e., if a gay man is offended by the portrayal of one gay man on the “Real World”, their feelings should not be diminished). However, my point is that, for the show “Jersey Shore”, MTV specifically sought out young Italians that perpetuated the guido stereotype. There is no variety of ethnicity or behavior, and MTV cannot honestly claim to have sought out Italians with any other outcome in mind than the one they got. If they had gotten a few kids who were not into maintaining the guido image (there was one guy who actually seemed pretty baffled by his roommates’ behavior in the pilot, which was a breath of fresh air), then this show would be a little bit less offensive. The fact that MTV purposely cast eight kids perpetuating the same stereotype is painfully obvious.

      • Meghan

        Yes, but it only has ONE age range. It’s still a group of similar people where one can draw conclusions about a group based on a show. Again, no one wrote these characters. These are people who not only exist, but are very ok with who they are, and anyone who watches that show and thinks that every Italian American is like that is an idiot. Period.

      • jk

        That doesn’t mean people won’t think it. And hey, there probably are many, many people who think that all twenty-somethings behave like kids on the “Real World”, and twenty-somethings have as much right to be offended by that show as Italian-Americans do to be offended by “Jersey Shore”. What I’m trying to say is that it seems like such a strange concept to specifically round up ONE ETHNICITY of people (no matter what their age) just to basically mock them, despite how much the kids cast play in to the stereotypes. I don’t think you’d ever see a preview for the “Real World” that said “Come see the hottest fa***ts, n****rs, k**es, and s**cs we could find” … yet the same promo with the word “guido” in it is aired freely. And I do think it’s a different thing to have eight examples of Italian-Americans all portraying the same image; at least the “Real World” shows different kids from different races, religions, etc., in different lights. It’s not like all the black guys who were ever on the “Real World” were all clones of each other, while the “Jersey Shore” guys pretty much are.

    • MV

      You are an idiot Meghan – or are you drunk. I assume so since you appear to be Irish. Everyone knows the Irish are drunks!

      • Joe

        Stop being such a guido MV.

    • SmartAlec

      Wow PW….. was that your college dissertation?

  • Amy

    This show is offensive to me as someone who lives at the Jersey Shore. Sammi- the only NJ resident, went to my high school in fact. While there are some people like this, it is a small minority. Thank you for pointing out that NONE OF THESE PEOPLE (EXCEPT ONE) ARE FROM NJ. I am so tired of people telling me this is what people from NJ are really like. No it is not. We already have to deal with the annoyance of the Staten Islanders coming here and clogging up our roadways/beaches all summer- but we should not have to deal with or be identified by their disgusting and ridiculous behavior too. MTV- I hated you for your True Life garbage I’m a Jersey Shore Girl (when they lived in North Jersey) and now I hate you for this as well.

    • saywhat

      … I agree. I admit, I’m not born or from New Jersey but most of my family was/is. I hate how they show people from New Jersey. I told someone the other day that I find this show offensive because it promotes steriotypes and gives New Jersey a bad reputation (promotes such things). New Jersey is a great state. Real Jersey-ites are outgoing and fun … a very diverse group of people. I love to visit (can’t afford to live there and not that big a fan of traffic and at times very cold weather) but the real New Jersey people are second to non and most are nothing like those on this show!

      • saywhat

        Not a good representation of New Jersey and The Jersey Shore.

      • Joey

        As a resident of Jersey, I know for the past few years, Seaside was on a campaign to attract more families to improve its image and increase the communities revenue. Now with this show, watch the problems they’re going to have during the summer of 2010. Of course they’ll probably make much more money in one summer with the boardwalk brawls and Ocean Ave cruising than wholesome family visits but what’s the saying — money talks!

    • KRibbons

      Yes, that is the worst part. The portrayal of New Jersey. It already has some pretty negative connotations, and this just multiplies it x1000. New Jersey is such a great state. I wish for once there would be a show that recognizes that.

    • Whatever

      I never understood why Americans see New Jersey as a bad place… Nothing bad happened to me when I spent some time there.

  • jk

    I am also Italian-American, and while I definitely take this show with a grain of salt and I am not necessarily offended by it, I do agree with you on some counts. I’m mostly just appalled that the casting call for the show singled out Italians. Aren’t there plenty of twenty-somethings who spend time at the Jersey Shore, and look and act similarly to these kids, who don’t happen to be Italian? The show is called “Jersey Shore”, not “Guidos at the Jersey Shore”. And yes, the word “guido” is offensive to me, but honestly I think it has been so misappropriated that it’s not as offensive to me as the words “dago” or “wop”. The strangest thing about this show, however, is that I have never in my entire life met any Italians who behave this way. I don’t know when the Italian ethnicity became synonymous with gelled hair and orange tans. I don’t think any of the men on the show are attractive in the way they dress or present themselves, nor do I know any women who would be – and I am in the same age group as the “Jersey Shore” cast. I know plenty of Italian people here in Chicago and elsewhere and neither people my age nor their families behave this way nor choose to display their heritage this way – there are countless better ways to do so. @Mike, maybe this show isn’t offensive to you because it’s at least a little realistic, but in the Midwest this show seems about as genuine as Snooki’s tan (so yes, I clearly have watched the show). This show reflects on one very specific subset of Italian-Americans, while lumping in the rest of us across the country with the misbehaving minority, which is disappointing. I guess things are just a little different in the Midwest – and thank God for that.

    • Amy

      I am an Italian-American as well, and I feel like this whole “outrage” over Jersey Shore is completely ridiculous. Fact is, there ARE Italian-Americans who call themselves Guidos and who dress and behave like the kids on Jersey Shore; but the fact of the matter is that there are way more Italian-Americans who do NOT fit into that description. And, although there are days I might disagree with the following, the nation as a whole is not too stupid to be able to differentiate between the two. As an Italian-American, do you also find offense with movies like Goodfellas or TV shoes like The Sopranos? Do you think that the whole country believes that all Italians are in the mob? If you do, then I just have to shake my head at how overly sensitive this country has gotten, and to inform you that you are missing out on some seriously solid entertainment. If you are a proud Italian-American like you mentioned, then just go out in the world and represent your heritage in a positive way – please don’t sit back and whine about how everyone will now think that all Italians wear hair gel and live in New Jersey. You’re only adding fuel to the fire. And I, for one, don’t want the world to think that all Italian-Americans are whiners. :)

      • jk

        I guess you didn’t see the beginning of my post, where I said that I really am not offended by this show and I take it with a grain of salt. And don’t worry, I’m not missing out on GoodFellas or The Godfather either. My point was that I’m just perplexed because I don’t know any Italians like the ones I see on this show. So maybe you should learn how to read more carefully, because I, for one, don’t want the world to think that all Italian-Americans are stupid. :)

      • ItalianAware

        Amy, you’re right, the cast do call each other “Guidos.” But, there are also Blacks who call themselves N-words on reality programs. 1) The n-word gets bleeped and 2) No Promo for any show with an all black cast has stated, ” Come watch the n-words we found” MTV did promote Jersey Shore as featuring ” the hottest, tannest, Guidos” Don’t be mislead by MTV’s nonsense view of what Guido means. Its an ethnic slur, end of story. MTV is trying to justify something that is completely unjustifiable.

      • Amy

        @JK – “But also valid is the fact that as an Italian-American, I find this show and its delusional meatheads and bimbos offensive and embarrassing.” Goodness, how could I have taken that statement to to mean that you found the show offensive?

        And, if you’ll read carefully please, I didn’t even address the whole issue of the word “guido”, I was just questioning why an entire ancestral group should find representative of their heritage what 8 idiots are doing on TV…and MTV, no less.

      • jk

        @Amy: You really must be an idiot because the quote you just attributed to me, I did not say. Honestly, where did you even get that? Here is my original post in its entirety:
        “I am also Italian-American, and while I definitely take this show with a grain of salt and I am not necessarily offended by it, I do agree with you on some counts. I’m mostly just appalled that the casting call for the show singled out Italians. Aren’t there plenty of twenty-somethings who spend time at the Jersey Shore, and look and act similarly to these kids, who don’t happen to be Italian? The show is called “Jersey Shore”, not “Guidos at the Jersey Shore”. And yes, the word “guido” is offensive to me, but honestly I think it has been so misappropriated that it’s not as offensive to me as the words “dago” or “wop”. The strangest thing about this show, however, is that I have never in my entire life met any Italians who behave this way. I don’t know when the Italian ethnicity became synonymous with gelled hair and orange tans. I don’t think any of the men on the show are attractive in the way they dress or present themselves, nor do I know any women who would be – and I am in the same age group as the “Jersey Shore” cast. I know plenty of Italian people here in Chicago and elsewhere and neither people my age nor their families behave this way nor choose to display their heritage this way – there are countless better ways to do so. @Mike, maybe this show isn’t offensive to you because it’s at least a little realistic, but in the Midwest this show seems about as genuine as Snooki’s tan (so yes, I clearly have watched the show). This show reflects on one very specific subset of Italian-Americans, while lumping in the rest of us across the country with the misbehaving minority, which is disappointing. I guess things are just a little different in the Midwest – and thank God for that.”

      • Amy

        @jk – you’re right. I misquoted you. I pulled a a quote from the article and was trying to say that your post seemingly agreed with that statement. I apologize for my misspeak. However, I am done discussing anything with someone who has now thrown insults around like “stupid” and “idiot”. I don’t understand why calling names is such a knee jerk reaction on these blogs. Take care.

      • pw

        The only people that should be offended by these people calling themselves guidos and italian americans are people that live in Italy. If I saw a show on the BBC about 8 americans living in England and acting like morons id be embarrassed and somewhat offended. And thats not even a great example cause these people are not italian, their american. a few of them arent even full blooded italian in ancestry. they have the morals, ethics and standards of the american culture they grew up in. Once again so many of you people are getting up in arms about your heritage even though it probably means little to you for the other 364 days a year. the only time you refer to yourself as italian american is when someone embarrasses your heritage or when your surrounded by a different ethnicity and want to sound cool. (I must admit I did this once when I was in a Minneapolis bar and was the shortest guy in the room and 75% of the other dudes had blonde hair.)

        If these people want to get drunk punch girls act like morons and try to get famous on MTV more power to them. And if they have to say that they’re guidos to do it, no italian american should care. they’re doing you no harm this has no impact on your life. if you think this is how all “italian americans” act your an idiot, if this show offends you for portraying your heritage this way please get over yourself. Your an American the fact that your great great grandfather came from italy probably has little impact on your life, except for your religion and where you live.

      • jk

        @Amy: I’m glad you are admitting that you misspoke because it’s an incredibly different thing to insinuate that I agreed with a quote from the article, and to say that I actually said it. Remember how you told me not to whine in your first post? I’d like to give you the same advice. Also, if you are so upset by the word “idiot” then I would have to say that you probably are more “overly sensitive” than the rest of the country, as you referred to us in your previous post. See, it’s not all that hard to actually read others’ posts.

    • Vincenzo

      As an Itlain American who grew up in Howard Beach and then Staten Island I must say I am not offended by the show. I am however embarrassed. I can’t say much I know so many who fall under the stereotype that it makes me sick sometimes. I do however have a bunch of friends like me who aren’t “guido’s”, which by the way is just a Southern Italian first name. I like to call the stereotypes Cugines or Cuz’s, cause they all say “what’s up cuz”. There are low class stereotypes for every nationality, race, religion and creed. TV will always exploit them, and we wil watch. It is what is is. Just Fuhgettabatit!

      • pw

        @ italianaware. Redskins is an ethic slur and we call the a football team that name, in our national capital no less. the term guido may have been an ethnic slur at some point and it is still a slur but it has lost almost all of its power.

        the N-word has power, asian slurs have power, mexican slurs have power because they are of different skin color and race than that of Europeans. They are racial slurs and are more relevent. furthermore any European slur, Guido, Mick, kraut, has very little power because Europeans are in the majority and have the majority of the money and political power in this country.

        If 500 years from now 75% of the people in this country are black and they have 85% of the wealth I bet the N-word could be said on a message board.

        The fact that people are offended by the fact that some trash MTV show uses the term guido and we can use the term redskin as the nickname for an NFL team shows how out of whack this country is.

  • Dominic Morrone

    okay. first of all i would like to say that MTV has been exploiting black people forever. MTV constantly gathers up eight of the most ignorant black people together in a house and they call that TV. Just because they stick a bunch of grease-balls together in a house in jersey doesn’t change the fact that Flava-Flav gets his own stereotypical black man show.

    • wakeforce

      You are referring to Flavor of Love, but have you never seen Rock of Love. Those people act the same way, only difference is skin color. Does that mean thay all white people act like the Rock of Love girls? NO!

      • saywhat

        I’m sick of both … all trashy people. What is wrong with the morals in our country??? Sence when are whores of any color and trashy over hormoned males good TV … something to promote, be proud of. I stopped watching MTV years ago and very seldom do I watch VH1 because all it is is skank TV anymore. I only caught a little of this show and found its stereotypeing of New Jersey, The Jersey shore and all people as a group shameful.

      • Dominic Morrone

        nah dude your crazy. In the flava flav s*** its a bunch of black broads going wild living up to a black stereotype i mean you make a point by saying all broads are crazy and are going to fight over celebrities but not in the same manner the black broads do and thats why MTV and all of the states love watching this s***

      • Whatever

        Except that “White-people” isn’t a minority and there actually are people ignorant and under-educated anough to judge a whole minority according to the eight nutcases cast on a TV show – because there were nutcases.

      • Whatever

        “enough” not “anough”. Sorry.

  • Ashley

    I’m a midwestern gal who has never been to Jersey. That said, I don’t think this show represents Jersey, or Italians, or anyone other than those 8 people who are on the show. I do not think of these people as Italian, and I do not associate their conduct with all Italians or all New Jersians. People need to calm down over this show. It is what it is. It’s trashy reality TV. Let the characters be what they are – trash – and let that speak for who THEY are as individuals.

    • G

      New Jersians???? Your kidding, right????

      • Cindy

        Plenty of people from New Jersey call themselves New Jersians. Chill.

    • saywhat

      … But you called it reality TV … and put the word characters in the same post!?!? If they are characters than they aren’t real representations of what is, so how is it reality TV!?!? But they are marketing this show as a representation (Just in title alone … not to mention everything else) as a representation of the Jersey shore, there by New Jersey. The association alone is poor representation and offensive. New Jersey people should be upset, once again they are being shown in a poor light and they are great people. I’m related to a LOT of them and they work hard for what they have, don’t act like the CHARACTERS on this show, or any show. Italian or not, It stinks!!!

  • Lola

    I don’t get why MTV is getting pounding for showing a group of idiots act they way they would act with or without cameras. I’m from NJ and this show is not so uncommon from what I see in my everyday life. If you’re going to be embarrased, be ashamed that these certain people are proud to be like that. They signed up for the show to be on TV, they weren’t forced at all. They call themselves guidos and guidettes but you’re going to blame MTV??? You say that “The Situation” doesn’t speak for everyone, well…let it be. He speaks for himself and the group he associates with and you speak for yourself. Not everyone is as offended as you are. I think people are smart enough to know that they’ll always be trashy groups in every nationality and not everyone will “speak” for everyone. And those who aren’t smart enough to know this…well, who cares! Just don’t be so hypocritical, because it this show was about another group, you wouldn’t give two craps and this article would not exist.

  • Mike

    The Italian Americans on the show have every right to call themselves that “G” word, in the same way African Americans can call each other the “N” word. However, it is not acceptable for MTV to use the word so freely. Imagine if they put out a casting call for all “Ns” and “N-ettes” for a Compton reality show. The fact that the cast actually responded to the casting call is a whole other issue…

    • jk

      Sure, Italians and African-Americans have the right to call themselves those names, but other Italians and African-Americans who would never use those names to describe themselves or anyone have every right to be offended by their use.

    • T

      I think you have to be careful when comparing a word like guidos to the n-word. The n-word has a history of oppression and violence. Remind me again when Italians were kept as slaves, had separate water foundtains, or had to sit in a certain part of the bus for decades. The n-word brings up a hateful past for many Americians. This is a reality show. One that I don’t believe was ever meant to be taken seriously. You don’t see black people protesting Flavor of Love, women of low moral fiber getting upset over rock of love, and I don’t recall any little people or rednecks getting up in arms about Jerry Springer. I think we need to take a step back and really look at the show. When you start comparing words like guidos to the n-word, I think you trivalize the struggle and hurt that many people went through.

      • jk

        I don’t mean to diminish the struggles of black people, which were undoubtedly different and longer-lasting than those of Italian-Americans, but I think it’s unfair of you to negate the impact of racial slurs against any group because the oppression and violence they suffered was less than that suffered by another group. In either case, the words used are offensive, whether they come from someone who is describing themselves with that word (“guido”, “n****r”, etc.) or used to demean another. And it’s kind of ridiculous to say that no one can be offended by THIS show since other groups were not offended by other shows. (And by the way, the people featured on Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, and Jerry Springer are not of one single ethnicity, so the issue is slightly different.)

    • Dominic Morrone

      come on bro me and you both know that mulinians like the ones in all the other shows are just like the ginnys on this show there all just tryna make a quick buck and if thats what america likes to watch then f*** it who cares it aint effecting ya life oh and ah by the way guido is not a bleeped term as MTV would call it trust me if they could say N****rs on tv and it would be a national crisis you could your a** they would be saying N**** all the mofo time

      • wakeforce

        Your language and wrting skills show that you are indeed a Guido! We, of intelligence know Proper Engish!

      • Ona

        Hey ‘wakeforce’, Mr. Know-it-all: There are three errors in your post:
        1. It’s ‘writing’ not ‘wrting’
        2. It’s ‘We, of intelligence (add comma), know proper (no need for upper case P) English

  • Chad Concelmo

    To call this show offensive is to insult all the people that watch it. Are we, as television audiences, so naive, that we can’t judge if a show is offensive without someone having to tell us?

    I am Italian and think “Jersey Shore” is hilariously entertaining. Everyone is offended by everything nowadays!
    Now, if the cast starting kicking puppies in their cute little faces … that’s a different story.

    I am not dumb enough to think the people on “Jersey Shore” are supposed to represent real-life Italians. Is anybody?

    • trickster

      Actually Ona-know-it-all, its four errors. “We of intelligence”?????That makes absolutely no sense. Where are YOUR language skills??

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