Buckwild (MTV’s West Virginia-based reality show about a group of rowdy young people, that’s been drawing in a lot of Jersey Shore comparisons) premiered to 2.5 million viewers last week, and we’re looking forward to tonight’s premiere of Washington Heights (the network’s docu-novela of Dominican-Americans in the Manhattan neighborhood). So it’s a great day to appreciate “The Rainbow That Follows Jersey Shore,” Jon Caramanica’s piece in Sunday’s edition of the New York Times – a thoughtful, optimistic piece on the success of Jersey Shore and some of Viacom’s latest programming (VH1’s Black Ink Crew in addition to the MTV shows). In it, he speculated why the reality show-turned-cultural phenomenon not only thrived through six seasons, but continues to inspire new shows, as well as other networks to conduct and broadcast their own “ethnographies”:
Jersey Shore lasted as long as it did because its characters began to transcend archetype. They put themselves on display and demonstrated that they weren’t outsiders or anomalies after all. And they live on, whether in the spinoff “Snooki & Jwoww” or on the forthcoming talk show hosted by Vinny Guadagnino.
As outrageous as their behavior was at times, the characters proved to be authentic and even relatable. And the cultural phenomenon transcends geography, too, living on in export with hits like MTV UK’s Geordie Shore, which will soon roll out across all international channels, and Gandia Shore in Spain, the highest rated series premiere on MTV since the network’s switch to DTT in 2010.
You can read Caramanica’s full piece here.