The Jersey Shore “farce”: what happens when real people interact with the cast

Jersey Shore‘s popularity has made it impossible for the show to be produced in the world that made the show so popular, a problem faced by previous series such as The Hills. But few people have written about what that means for those who end up on camera, and why it’s possible to maintain the illusion that the cast of a popular MTV show is not the cast of a popular MTV show.

Last week, Jezebel’s Tracie Egan Morrissey stalked the cast, and her report is fascinating. The parts about the production are expected though revealing (such as photos of the show’s security and production tents and space next to the house, which of course you’ll never see on TV), but it’s her own complicity in the process that’s most interesting:

“This whole time, I thought I was going to meet some celebrities, but it finally dawned on me that I had just agreed to be on a reality show. And it was a completely contrived circumstance in which I actually had to ‘act’ — act like this was no big deal, like they weren’t famous, like I didn’t wait outside their home with a bunch of teenagers and then follow them down the street and around the corner to this…this set. It wasn’t a store, it was a set, with lights and camera and unfortunately very little action.

…What really struck me was just how easily we were roped into this farce. I guess we could’ve broken character and started talking about how much we like the show or asked them what The Situation thinks about when he stares out at the ocean, but instead we behaved like sheep for the reality television producers’ slaughter.”

Read her full report.

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Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

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.