MTV’s Jersey Shore promos highlight “guidos,” offending an Italian-American group

Next Tuesday, MTV debuts its newest docudrama: Jersey Shore, which follows a group of men and women on vacation in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. MTV’s announcement of the show told viewers, “Grab your hair gel, wax that Cadillac and get those tattooed biceps ready to fist pump with the best this summer at the Jersey Shore.” In other words, get ready for some stereotypes.

As a result, the show is already generating controversy, at least among a group that fights against stereotypes of Italian-Americans. Andre Dimino, the president of UNICO National, which is “the largest Italian American service organization in the USA,” told the Star-Ledger, “Trash television sells, and they’d be more interested in making money than how they’re offending a great group of people.” The paper notes that the group “also protested the portrayal of Italian-Americans as mobsters in ‘The Sopranos.'”

In a trailer for the show, the narrator calls the cast members “guidos,” while MTV’s current web site description is more aspirational, saying the series “uncovers sometimes surprising, often hilarious and usually over-the-top personalities as they juggle work, love, nightlife, friendship and the drama that ensues. In the end, viewers see that there is more to these tan and buff individuals than hair gel.”

Judge for yourself in this extended preview–it’s much more fun to judge a show based on attention-seeking clips than the actual program itself!

Update: MTV responded with this statement to the Star-Ledger: “The show continues MTV’s history of documenting various subcultures, rites of passage of young people, and the ways they self-identify. The Italian-American cast takes pride in their ethnicity. We understand that this show is not intended for every audience and depicts just one aspect of youth culture.”

‘Jersey Shore’ offends Italian-American group; president protests use of ‘Guido’ [Star-Ledger]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.