Monday, December 11

What is it About New Jersey And Reality Tv?

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New Jersey has taken over reality television over the last year. If it is not Jersey Shore, it is Real Housewives of New Jersey or Jersey Couture. I am sure there are plenty of other shows, I know that Cake Boss focuses on a bakery in Hoboken. I have always been told that New Jersey is pedestrian and in the shadows of New York, but reality television has shown us that New Jersey has a scene of their own that is worth looking into. Before reality television showed us New Jersey, we saw it immortalized through a lot of movies.

New Jersey was that wasteland that were trying to get away from, and that place that you kept asking yourself why you were there. My favorite show is Real Housewives of New Jersey; unlike other series of the Real Housewives franchise, the show focuses in on one actual family and an outsider that is new to the scene that is trying to cause havoc. The other shows focus on individual women and their careers (or lack of), but the New Jersey franchise has a different feel to it.

I could never really relate to shows like Jersey Shore and am watching Jersey Couture right now, and I am on the fence. I never really thought of fashion when it comes to New Jersey; if anything the over the top “new money” look of the Real Housewives franchise seems to lack the sophistication exhibited by the people shown on Real Housewives of New York. The city of Real Housewives of New Jersey, Franklin Lakes, is not the big city shown on other Real Housewives series but a small town of 11,000.

It isn’t far from the action but is not necessarily in the middle of the action of New York or even larger cities in New Jersey. But there is plenty of drama between these housewives, that are related to each other, and the outsider. Danielle Staub is depicted as the face of evil, and this appears to be a collision course that the series cannot deviate from. I figured that in time this series would move on from Danielle, but to date it has not happened. If she is still around for another season I would have to think that she is a glutton for punishment.

Then again she may be hanging around to have her own show, as Bethenny Frankel was able to do. But I have to wonder, are there other sides to New Jersey that America has not considered or is it just the lifestyles shown on these shows. There is a heavy focus on Italian-Americans in these shows that make you wonder if anyone else of any other culture, race, religion or creed lives in New Jersey. I would like to hear more about the rough neighborhoods in the larger cities on New Jersey, and how everyone else lives, than to be entertained by caricatures of obnoxious Italian-Americans all day long.

The Real Housewives series could focus on other cities, such as the rumored Washington, DC franchise, and other towns like Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, even Cleveland, Ohio. A Real Housewives series shot in Detroit could bring some attention to this forgotten city, that is often portrayed as an urban wasteland. But for the moment it is all about New Jersey. Whoever thought that New Jersey would be interesting again?

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