Jersey is my home. I have lived in the same small town all of my life, yet have traveled around the state because of soccer games, field trips, etc. There are many different parts of Jersey, from farmland to cities, to tiny suburbs like my hometown of Fanwood, NJ. Despite the vast differences, all of Jersey is connected through one thing- the Jersey shore.
Ever since MTV came out with The Jersey Shore in 2009, New Jersey has never been the same. Jersey is one of the smallest states in America, and therefore it never received a lot of attention until this show. Once aired, America’s perception of Jersey changed. Some people stereotyped the shore as trashy, with Guido’s roaming around wanting to party. As a native Jersey girl attending school in Pennsylvania, I have constantly heard jokes about Jersey, with people believing exactly what they saw on TV. Although the show is entertaining, I always found these people to be very ignorant by believing in this goofy show. This is reality TV. Obviously everything is exaggerated, and people are cast to create entertainment, rather than portray reality.
The people of Jersey know how much culture and community is at the shore, and they are what makes Jersey special- not the fake TV crews and tourists wanting to see the castmates. Unfortunately, disaster struck the shore not too long ago, leaving the boardwalks, houses, and overall communities greatly damaged. Although having to defend my state got a little old after a while, I truly pity everyone who made fun of the Jersey shore but never got the chance to experience it for themselves, because the Jersey Shore is such a special place.
To me, the Jersey Shore is happiness. It is where people come together with people they love, to spend a day, a week, or a whole summer peacefully. From Tent City in Ocean Grove, to the boardwalks of Point Pleasant and Seaside, it is much more than simply a beach. There is something for everyone, and as much as the locals make fun of the “bennies” for being tourists, everyone is welcome.
As much as The Jersey Shore exaggerates to create drama and interest for TV, no exaggeration is necessary when it comes to Hurricane Sandy. You couldn’t make a sadder movie, with added details for emotional affect, because this story is bad enough as it is.
Sandy has washed away boardwalks, sanded up streets, and damaged houses, but the community spirit and love for the shore is as strong as ever. This strength will allow the shore to make a comeback. It might take months or even years. But the negative image that MTV has cast on the shore did not ruin its spirit, and neither will Sandy.
#COMM30Sandy is an online class project for the Media & Society class at Lehigh University, taught by professor Jeremy Littau. You can donate to our campaign at this link, and for more information you can email Prof. Littau at jeremy.littau(at)lehigh.edu