Five years ago while visiting family there, we happened to take exit 82 off the Garden State Parkway and find ourselves in Seaside Heights, a beach resort on New Jersey’s central coast. As it turned out, this was just weeks before Hurricane Sandy devastated the island. This summer I packed my digital recorder and we headed again there, returning to the boardwalk which was ripped asunder by the might of forces greater than man. My plan was to record the recollections of the storm offered by some of the people there and generally review the recovery. I found remarkable modesty and pluck.
The boardwalk has been the playground for generations, but also became the venue for mostly the 5th season of a reality TV show, The Jersey Shore. I stumbled upon this programing I believe while searching for a baseball game prior to my 2012 trip. I am glad no small children were present.
The basic plot is a revolting sexual embrace of more or less everything that is wrong with reality television; men playing to their base instincts, women taking advantage of the same. Lots of skin, and in the 30 seconds or so I watched, everyone appeared drunk.
Not surprisingly Italian America is outraged by the portrayal of Italian Americans. Governor Christie criticized the show in 2010, claiming that the producers, MTV had hired New Yorker’s for the cast, but that was before Bridgegate and Trump when he still had moral standing. The locals I interviewed on my 2012 trip complained about how the cast and crew hogged the beach and boardwalk.
My reaction to the results of the hurricane, the biblical washing away of the sin, was to presume Almighty God had had enough of this. Apparently farewell screenings of the show were made in December 2012, in defiance of Divine Commentary.
So here is to New Jersey and their remarkable resilience! They have survived Sandy, Bridgegate, and a spectacle on television smearing what is otherwise a really nice beach with fun attractions, all rebuilt after the storm, unlike the television show.
Perhaps some humility has been added, note the pier does not jut so far into the Atlantic any longer, and no roller coaster defies gravity. It is well with my soul.
The podcast lasts about 40 minutes.