By Kaitlyn Compari
The majority of New Jersey residents and Italian Americans tend to have a love-hate relationship with MTV’s hit show Jersey Shore. They love to watch but hate how the cast misrepresents them.
Joseph V. Del Raso, Esq., president of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), has been outspoken about his views on Jersey Shore. At a recent NIAF media forum at Villanova University, attended by members of
Dr. Aaron Moore’s publicity methods class, Del Raso clearly showed his disapproval of the behavior of the cast and blames both MTV and the cast for the depiction.
“When Megan Kelly interviewed me on America Live, she said it sounds like [I] have a problem with MTV,” Del Raso said. “I said I do. Where is the responsibility in programming?”
Del Raso believes the younger generations will be negatively influenced as a result of MTV’s poor programming.
“I worry about younger people,” he said. “It’s the 13-year-olds who watch it and think this is what it takes to be cool. That’s damaging.”
Kristen Pesce, a senior and a New Jersey resident, agrees.
“The show sends a negative message to viewers, especially young ones,” Pesce said. “It is disconcerting that this is the up-and-coming show appealing to younger viewers because it is definitely not a reflection of reality.”
Many people are angered by what they believe is a false portrayal of Italian Americans and Jersey Shore-goers.
“I think that Jersey Shore gives the Jersey Shore a bad reputation,” said Kaitlyn Carter, a junior elementary education major and New Jersey native. “People that don’t know the Jersey Shore will watch the show and think that this is how the area and the people are, when in reality, the beach that I go to in New Jersey is nothing like that.”
Pesce believes that Jersey Shore gives a “one-sided, pretentious representation of Italian Americans.”
“I am not personally offended by the show, but it does bother me that this group of people are representing my age group,” Pesce said. “I think it gives a distorted view of reality, and it is a shame that viewers have this ‘party animal’ representation of people in their 20s.”
As the cast of Jersey Shore prepares for a second season in Miami, Del Raso would like to tell Snooki (who is Chilean but was raised Italian), The Situation and the rest of the cast to examine their roots – not their hair.
“I would tell them to take some time to learn the real story about their Italian American heritage and what made Italian Americans great and how maybe they should follow their example to make for a better life for all Italian Americans,” he said. “[They should act in] a more responsible and a more mannerly and adult way instead of just living for the best hair gel and the best tanning salon and the best discotheque at night. There’s more to life than that superficiality.”