If you're like me - which might be highly unlikely - the word 'Jersday' means nothing, unless you've got a child between the ages of 13-32 (conservatively) or you're enjoying your arrested development a helluva lot more than I am. If you don't know what it means, thankfully, Urban Dictionary is here to help:
Jersday: Another name for the Thursday nights that new episodes of Jersey Shore air.
How did I hear about Jersday - or as I first saw it spelled - "Jersdaaaayyyyy"? Glad you asked. It was, of course, my go-to reliable source of information regarding the heartbeat and attention span of America:
No one has a tattoo of this yet - unless Mark Zuckerburg is holding out on us.
I survived the first episode, added those visions of loveliness to the scrambled bits of media attention (like here and here) and recalled the fond memory of the full-size cardboard cutout of Snooki (whale sperm expert and pickle addict) that assaulted my eyes while at the mall with my 9 year old in December:
Perfumania's Personal Appearance Princess/Guidette Warning System
In a proactive "she's only gonna listen to me until she's 12" approach, I pointed to the display and told my daughter, "NEVER dress like that. EVER."
Granted, I tell her the same thing when I see displays at Forever XXI:
Golden Goddess/Golden Shower/Golden Eggs that will be bombarded by Valtrex. . .
Trying to see if I could catch the fever that is Jersday - without the need for antibiotics - I made sure my daughter was asleep and DVR'd the program. (That's what parents like me do. I haven't watched live prime time television in nearly a decade. My choice - not one that all parents make - but it works for me - so Kidlet has a slim chance at a real childhood.)
As I watched the premiere episode of Season 5 (mainly with a quizzical look like I just figured out what calf fries were), I found myself concerned for Vinny (who was homesick - especially after seeing his family and hiding from cast mates during a surprise party). He seemed almost normal. . .and in need of people who really cared about him.
By the time the credits rolled - (thankful I could at least understand what Vinny said), I was feeling sorry for myself. Why?
(a) I'll never get that hour back, and
(b) Vinny (aka the only one I believe has a fully functional brain with minimal damage caused by alcohol - and who also graduated with a 3.9 GPA in college) is LEAVING the show!
(Courtesy US Weekly)
Vinny, aka the one who doesn't want to resemble an Oompa Loompa.
What am I supposed to do now? Watch the incredible shrinking Snooki (until she gets the implants) as she tests the limits of her birth control regimen? I feel cheated (much like most of her boyfriends, it would seem.)
Now, here's the thing that's bothering me.
Why should I care that these people are earning money in a way that I'd find demeaning and demoralizing? It's their business and they're adults (despite tons of evidence to the contrary). After all, they started out like the rest of us. . .sort of. These young people have an opportunity to gain fame and fortune. What's wrong with that?
Let me tell you: The parent in me is freaking out that these trainwrecks of humanity will be viewed as the new normal. They are paraded and pimped out on public appearances and are paid handsomely for it. I believe they'll pay the piper, so to speak, in time. The problem is, so will we.
Parents are people, too, and we have the right to enjoy the absurd, obscene, ridiculous and sublime. The same is not true of those young people who can - and will - watch Jersey Shore when they are unsupervised. How can a pre-teen have the maturity to understand, much less learn from, the consequences of poor choices when people like Snooki and "The Situation" don't? (At least that's how they're edited to look.)
As parents, my husband and I make the decisions about what our child watches. Hopefully, we're not the only ones. I wonder how many parents don't do this - and what their children are learning - and sharing with my child.
What will be broadcast on TV between the hours of 2 - 9 pm when my child is 12? 15? Online access to programs that are too provocative for children is available now. Parental controls on TVs and computers and phones are great, but they don't replace the control parents have. On more mature and provocative programming, networks digitize, bleep and block out so-called "offensive" content, but how long before nothing is offensive?
In the meantime, I think I'll head back to the mall and wrap the Snooki cardboard cutout in Caution tape.