Cultural Commentary: Jersey Shore

There are some things that I miss about America and wish I had them here in France. And then there are other things that should never leave the country. Case in point: Jersey Shore, and this picture says it all.

The other day I came across this very unfortunate sight in the Paris metro. I think I and all my fellow Americans in Paris lowered our heads in disbelief and denial. While I’m not saying I am not guilty of watching crap television from time to time, there is something about this show – which I have admittedly never even seen 5 seconds of – it’s the cultural references I fear. Even if you’ve never seen Jersey Shore either, chances are you’ve heard the name “Snookie” pop up or seen references to the big poofy hair pop up on the news or in newspapers. So when I posted this image on Facebook after my horror, so many of my friends around the world responded made me laugh with their commentary. I thought I’d open it up for discussion here. What kind of image of the US does a show like Jersey Shore bring to a different culture?


  • I think it shows how uncultured we are as a whole. The show, while somewhat funny at times, leaves you with that opened mouth expression. The scary part is that it is not all that far from the truth.

  • I hope it flops, something like this surely can’t work in France. But you never know… after all they have CHEESEBURGER flavored chips now. Let’s just hope they don’t bring Teen Mom to France, that will be the end of civilization.

  • Disappointing, of course. But it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the popularity of Dallas, Bay Watch and all those other “truthful” depictions of American life we export. There are audiences for bad taste everywhere.

  • While I’ve only seen snippets of the show, it’s like any other crap American show. If it’s successful here, like it or not, it’s a veritable slice of American pop culture and fair game for export.

    As an African-American, there is much that I find embarrassing and shameful about the [international] success of “artists” like Snoop Dog, Lil’ Wayne, and myriad other crass, stereotyped and -typical Black entertainers and comedians. I likely feel about these fools the way many Italian-Americans feel about Snookie and the Jersey Shore crew.

    The worst is when you encounter these folks in real life. I can’t tell you how angry it makes when I hear kids – of all races – kicking the n-word around, thinking they’re “cool” and generally emulating idiots like those I mentioned in any and every way that they can.

    But you don’t have to be a racial or ethnic member of any sub-group of Americans to be appalled or embarrassed by their behavior. To be human is reason enough.

    All that said, these folks and their “culture” is part of the American experience. And I’m sure the reverse is also true. For instance, I often wonder how many of the Britcoms (it doesn’t get much better or more borderline than Little Britain) and culture I enjoy is an embarrassment to the English.

  • I’ve tried to explain how the Jersey Shore show is the downfall of America a few times since I got to France, and I really failed at explaining it (in French). Even my good friends have a negative image of where I’m from – this will only make it worse and worse!

  • I must admit that I’ve never actually seen the Jersey Shore, and don’t know that much about it, but I also saw those posters in the metro and immediately hoped that I wasn’t obviously American.
    I think that, regardless of the antics on the program, that the fact that there is a show about this is a little bit of an issue, too….

  • I have always been a proud New Jersey native, that is until this show came along. There are people like the ones on the show, but like all reality shows, they are the extreme stereotypes hand picked to make good television. What disgusts me is the popularity of shows like this. That people of all ages and incomes watch is so disappointing. I am sorry other countries are subjected to this crap.

  • I would add that like Americans, the French are free to watch (or not). If they partake and enjoy it, well, they’re as twisted as the original American audience that made this show so popular.

    What does the success of the show in France really say about the French (who choose watch the show)?

    I think it just speaks to the nature of people and our international enjoyment of a televised train wreck!

  • As much as I like to veg out with reality TV, the Jersey Shore takes crap television to a new low. The ridiculous outfits, attitudes, and cultural misrepresentations will surely do a disservice to the American reputation in France. I just hope the French watch the series with a grain of salt (or don’t watch it at all). Hopefully “GTL” won’t become part of the French vernacular.

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