‘Jersey Shore’: Why Seaside Heights Wants Nothing To Do With Show
Jersey Shore was one of MTV’s most successful reality television shows, despite the heavy criticism from Seaside Heights residents and Italian Americans. Castmates drank too much, argued too loudly, and partied too hard, which is typical for most reality TV programs. However, Jersey Shore offended the Italian American community, and the residents of Seaside Heights do not want to see them strolling down the boardwalk anymore.
Why was ‘Jersey Shore’ banned from seaside heights?
The series finale of Jersey Shore aired in 2012. However, MTV decided to bring the group back together for Jersey Shore: Family Vacation in 2018. An insider told Us Weekly that Seaside refused to approve MTV’s permits for filming. Therefore, the second season of Family Vacation will take place in Wildwood, New Jersey with a few scenes shot in Atlantic City.
Christopher Vaz, Seaside Heights Administrator, spoke to Us Weekly to explain their decision. He says they do not want the show to film in Seaside Heights, but did issue a “limited permit” to shoot at the Jersey Shore house. They were also able to film the Shore Store, where the cast worked, and Casino Pier. Vaz says they were filming to celebrate birthdays and bid their farewell to the house. He claims the main reason for allowing those shoots is because the Jersey Shore family raised several thousands of dollars to “restore the shore” after Hurricane Sandy. Overall, the city wants to keep Jersey Shore is in its past and no longer wants to associate with the show.
Why are Italian Americans offended by ‘Jersey Shore?’
Italian Americans felt like Jersey Shore, and the stereotypes they represented was an attack on Italian American culture. The Jersey Shore castmates were proud Italians who brought the terms “guido” and “guidette” to the mainstream. To them, the word described a fun, laid-back lifestyle that involved working out, having the best spray tan, and “freshest” clothes. For people who had never heard of those terms before watching an episode, they thought it meant a well-groomed Italian guy or girl.
However, New Jersey state senator, Joe Vitale claims the term is similar to calling an African American the “n-word.” Andre DiMino, president of Italian American group Unico National, claims being called a “guido” was fighting words when he was younger. Italian American activists want the word completely removed from the show and fewer Italian flags visibly displayed. Activists claim the show has an Italian American brand on it, but the cast does not accurately depict an Italian-American lifestyle and instead relies on stereotypes.
Did the ‘Jersey Shore’ controversy lead to the cancellation of ‘Made In Staten Island?’
Made In Staten Island premiered on MTV in January 2019. The show follows seven young people, born into families associated with the Italian mafia. It was supposed to chronicle their lives as they try to resist the temptation to fall into crime. However, the show was taken off air in February after only three episodes. While the castmates claim the show is not canceled, MTV has removed the show from their A-Z list.
Similar to Jersey Shore, Made In State Island stirred up controversy from the Italian American community. The executive producer of the show is Karen Gravano, from Mob Wives, and one of the castmates is the granddaughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. “The Bull” was a known hitman for the Gambino family. In the show, the castmates glorify their mob ties and state several times that Staten Island is a crime-filled city.
Critics started a Change.org petition for MTV to either cancel the show or remove Staten Island out of the name. It reached its goal of 10,000 signatures on February 19. Mayor Bill de Blasio has even blasted the show for perpetuating negative Italian-American stereotypes.