What Would F. Scott Fitzgerald Say About Jersey Shore?

Ponder, if you will, Jersey Shore. What pops into your mind? Fake tans? Jolly good fun? The decline of American society as a whole? Did I ruin your day by simply mentioning the program? No matter which way you spin it, there’s no denying that the show has become a wayward phenomenon – a cultural milestone of the prescription drug generation. Congratulations, America. A 4’10? manicured Ewok with a weave now makes more than your average neighborhood pediatrician!

However, reader, think carefully before you cast your stones. Jersey Shore may glamorize alcoholism, violence, melanoma, terrible hairstyles, unnecessarily furry boots, poor bathroom habits, a general disregard for manners, and diseases that cause one to itch in highly unpleasant places, but is it really so different from some things that we consider classics?

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to high school English class. Surely you read The Great Gatsby. You at least PRETENDED to read The Great Gatsby. In fact, you probably have it listed as one of your favorite books on Facebook. First of all, liar. Second of all, consider Jay Gatsby, title character extraordinaire. Consider his many shirts. Consider his dubious back-story. Consider the fountain of debauchery that flowed from his estate like the Styx leading into hell. Let’s make a quick comparative study between Jay and Jerz:

Social Activity of Choice

The Great Gatsby: Drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages, dancing, golf, lying around, lover’s quarrels

Jersey Shore: Drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages, gym/tan/laundry (often referred to as “GTL”), dancing, lying around, lover’s quarrels


The Great Gatsby: Principally a new money mansion in which everyone gets drunk

Jersey Shore: Shorehouse or condominium in which everyone gets drunk

Male’s Preferred Clothing Item

The Great Gatsby: A plethora of different-colored shirts

Jersey Shore: A plethora of Ed Hardy t-shirts

Affectionate Nickname of Choice

The Great Gatsby: Old sport

Jersey Shore: My dude; bro/brah

Role of the Female

The Great Gatsby: Drinking too much, driving poorly, causing people to die (directly – principally through auto accidents, but alcohol is also a suspect)

Jersey Shore: Drinking too much, driving poorly, causing people to die (indirectly – through alcoholism, skin cancer, and general brain failure)

Locale of Choice

The Great Gatsby: Long Island; occasionally NYC

Jersey Shore: The Jersey shore and the New York metropolitan area in general, with some time spent slumming in Italy and Florida

Trashy. Pointless. Lavish. Unnecessary. Morally empty. These are all insults hurled at Jersey Shore. But are the guidos and guidettes really that different from the debaucherous rich of yesteryear? Is it hard to picture DJ Pauly D baffled by the concept of a real book, much like F. Scott’s Owl Eyes? Imagine Sammi tearfully hurling herself face-first into a pile of Ronnie’s freshly-laundered Ed Hardy shirts after begging him to “stahp it.” One could easily see Vinnie wistfully pumping his fist toward the distant green strobe lights in Karma. And “The Situation,” snitch and scumbag in general, could at least attempt to orchestrate an illegal scheme to acquire funding for his materialistic lifestyle, just like Meyer Wolfsheim.

Perhaps MTV is positioning us as the great eyes in the sky, poised to watch, analyze, and judge the living hell out of the morally corrupt nouveau riche born of Italian loins. Perhaps MTV is using these creatures to expose the emptiness of today’s society, much like F. Scott Fitzgerald utilized the moneyed flappers and speakeasy-frequenters of a century ago. Maybe MTV is much more clever than we think. Maybe there is a logical explanation for why this monstrosity is coming back for a sixth season after all.

Or maybe it’s a giant cash cow and you should turn your TV off. For the love of God. Look what you’ve created. TC mark

image – Jersey Shore


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  • Nishant

    “Perhaps MTV is using these creatures to expose the emptiness of today’s society, much like F. Scott Fitzgerald utilized the moneyed flappers and speakeasy-frequenters of a century ago.”

    Sigh, I wish this was true.

  • Emily Anne

    One thing though – Gatsby himself wasn’t actually a drinker…

  • emmahope

    reading this in a library, smothering hysterics at Vinnie wistfully pumping his fist towards the green lights of Karma. 

  • Gsabram

    Well done on a great article. The only difference is that GG is F. Scott Fitzgerald warning to society, while JS plays more like an instruction manual to the youth.

    • _____

      An instruction manual of what not to do

      • Guest

        doubtful, the JS crew are being rewarded hansomely for their behavior.

  • http://twitter.com/smellslikeliah Liah

    just. no.

  • Oli Rob Ver

    Ha! This is really good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1690980049 Uchenna Anyiam

    Hahaha, that last paragraph killed. And for the record, I did read and love “The Great Gatsby.” But then again I read and love a lot of interesting books.

  • Oliver Miller

    Owl Eyes wasn’t shocked by the idea of a real book.  He thought Gatsby was a hick, and was impressed that Gatsby bothered to have real books instead of fake ones in his library.  “Look at that veracity — a regular Belasco!  Knew how far to go, too — didn’t cut the pages!”  Or something like that.

    • Bealtaine

      The quote is “This fellow is a regular Belasco!What a triumph.What thoroughness!What realism!Knew when to stop -didn’t cut the pages”. I always took it to be an example of the society’s shallowness

  • Bealtaine

    I am SO using this as a point in an comparative essay if that’s ok? ” Much like Jersey Shore of today, the Great Gatsby heralded the end of an era-an era of drunken debauchery and careless lovers”

  • alia

    this was the worst article i have ever read. but i also have an incredibly soft spot for the great gatsby so…

    • Guest

      it’s clearly tongue-in-cheek, not serious.

  • Karen Li

    as much as I love “The Great Gatsby,” this article is too hilarious to not admit the similarities between the two.  Good job, oldsport.  

  • Southernvtgal

    I actually like the book

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