Editorial: ‘Jersey’ in Mass.: Ready to stereotype togethah?

Boston Globe Editorial
April 17, 2010

The beer-swilling, thick-accented meathead: There’s plenty of fun to be had caricaturing a certain subgenre of Massachusetts resident, as “Saturday Night Live’’ showed with its “Sully and Denise’’ sketch. So it’s not shocking that the producers responsible for unleashing “Jersey Shore’’ — and all its attendant protests — recently announced a Bay State version.

Their casting call went viral online earlier this week, and describes the ideal candidate as someone who loves “muscle cahs, hair products and little necks on the frickin half shell.’’ It goes on to ask, “You ready to live togethah, laugh togethah, drink togethah and love togethah?’’

This is all in good fun and will inevitably lead to can’t-miss train wreck moments once the show goes on the air. But it’s also a thin, cheap look at the state. Massachusetts, of course, is freighted with many stereotypes — for prudishness, liberalism, arrogance — in addition to those who say “yah dude’’ and high-five their friends at Sox games.

Meanwhile, immigration is making Massachusetts more diverse, rendering the lily-white Bay State that’s sure to be presented on the “Jersey Shore’’ knockoff all the more out of date.

Even if the show is a commercial success, the version of Massachusetts it depicts is getting less relevant by the day. And for the millions of Bay Staters who have no interest in muscle cahs or hair products, that’s not such a bad thing.

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