Opinion

The Jersey Shore delights

Ben Clarke Political Consultant and Speechwriter

I have been grumpy lately. It all started — well, thirty-one years ago — but more recently when I spilled coffee on my laptop. True to form, I addressed stupidity with stupidity, rebuffing the “Geek Squad” at Best Buy and attempting my own repair. I rained blows upon and profanities toward the laptop … it did not respond in kind. An hour later, an hour angrier, there I was … at Best Buy and at the mercy of “Geek Squad” judge and jury, helpless.  “Sir, you should really never hit your laptop.”

I resisted the urge to compliment him on his “America’s Most Wanted” debut the night before, and went on my way. And here I am, new laptop in lap. Apparently some seven-year-old software engineer in Malaysia thought it would be funny to un-center the keypad and move it two inches to the left on the new model. I am consequently misspelling every third word and am on the cusp of having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

My hands are important; to me and my future employer: the Boston Red Sox. So I decided to play it safe and set the laptop aside for the weekend in favor of television. If I am bored and feeling smart, I watch the news. If I am bored and feeling dumb, I watch MTV. It was an all MTV weekend. For a solid three-hour stretch this weekend it was me, my St. Bernard, Dominos pizza, and MTV’s hit reality show The Jersey Shore. PBS really dropped the ball when they passed on this little slice of life series.

For those who have not yet seen The Jersey Shore, it is tricky to aptly describe the cast. Imagine taking an industrial size barrel and filling it with cheap hair spray, -30 SPF sun tan lotion and illegal body-building supplements. Blend it all together, let it harden, and cut out eight 5’5” tall human molds. Give half of them breasts. Bam. Cast. 

The names are great. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio. If, by the age of thirty, you have not attained a similarly trendy nickname, you are doing something wrong with your life.

To the dismay of UNICO National — a prominent Italian-American organization — the cast members loudly fashion themselves “guidos” and “guidettes.” And they abide by a holy creed: GTL. That is … gym, tan, laundry. That’s just their day job, though. While they work pseudo-jobs at local publicity-desperate establishments scooping gelato or selling t-shirts, they earn their money at night — at the clubs. This is my favorite part of the show …

These kids were born to dance. In the history of modern film and television, there are but a few memorable dance scenes:

  1. Al Pacino dancing the tango in Scent of a Woman
  2. Alex P. Keaton’s goodbye dance with Ellen in Family Ties
  3. My own personal — as yet to be defined — whiskey-fueled improvisational hop with the less-than-amused mother of the bride at my best friend’s wedding two years ago.

Atop them all, however, is the preeminent: the Jersey Shore boys rocking their trademark “fist pump” dance at any of a variety of classy one-syllable clubs, with names like “Pink” or “Jet” or “Statutory Rape.” It’s one hell of a romp. Visually, it’s a cross between a rather violent seizure and Mel Gibson after a few cocktails at the National Holocaust Museum. All in all, it’s a choreographic delight.

Their antics often result in them being escorted out of the club by a bouncer, but if you ask me, that is just another example of The Man keeping good men down. If the fellas strike out with the ladies at the club, a bevy of classy looking leftovers sit ambitiously at the ready outside the door of their beach home, chomping at the bit to join them in their BP-filtered hot tub.

That’s when the magic happens. If these guys aren’t running the country in ten years, we are hopeless.

Yes, MTV has spun one heck of a yarn with The Jersey Shore. Kim Jong Il may hate the West, but I have a hunch this glorious epic will be clogging up the little guy’s TiVo during future war exercises.

Ben Clarke has worked in Washington, D.C. as a political consultant and speechwriter for the past 10 years. During that period, he has served as chief political writer for GOP strategist Frank Luntz, speechwriter for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and communications consultant for Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. He has worked on countless House, Senate and Gubernatorial campaigns across America. He has also worked on or covered campaigns in Ukraine, Georgia and Greece. He may be reached at benclarkeopinion@gmail.com.