SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBS Las Vegas) – Executives at MTV recently announced that the Oct. 4 season premiere of the hit reality series “Jersey Shore” will also mark the start of its final year.
First airing in December of 2009, the cameras chronicled the adventures of eight raucous, fun-loving friends for a grand total of six seasons.
Most of the time, “Jersey Shore” focused on the daily activity of a house full of dramatic personalities spending their summer vacations together in the shore town of Seaside Heights, N.J. The cast also ventured to Italy and Miami Beach for two seasons.
With each passing year, the show continued to solidify its role as a cultural phenomenon, an object of fascination away from which the nation – and the world – simply could not turn.
Names such as Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino became household institutions, as well as terms such as “guidette” and “GTL” – an acronym and personal hygiene mantra coined by Sorrentino meaning “gym, tan, laundry.”
Wildly popular and often controversial, “Jersey Shore” has fans all over the world, all united by a shared morbid fascination with both the cast of characters and the eponymous region where filming took place.
But while some native to the Jersey shore have rejoiced in the economic and tourism booms brought on by outside curiosities, others have lamented the negative stereotypes and influx of tourists that visit in hopes of experiencing the now-famous region of the Garden State.
The result is a dichotomy, a rift forged between the business owners and government officials who celebrate “Jersey Shore” and the locals who lamented it.
Regardless of one’s personal opinions on the matter, few could deny the financial influence “Jersey Shore” had on the area.
“As far as business goes, I would definitely say the show had a positive impact,” Caity Lampe of Seaside Park said to CBS Local News. “It definitely brought more people down, even with the economy being in the state it’s in, [and] people just kept coming – and the Jersey Shore is by no means a cheap place to vacation.”
She added, “The boardwalk has [also] made certain improvements which I’m sure were made possible by the additional revenue the show brought in.”
Business owners were indeed elated with the economic boom they experienced, thanks to the show.
John Saaddy, who owns both the Karma and Bamboo night clubs in Seaside Heights, told the Asbury Park Press that the onslaught of people brought in by “Jersey Shore” signified bigger and better business for him and others in the region.
“Everyone has benefited from the cast being here,” Saaddy told the paper. “The impact that they have had on the area is amazing.”
John Camera, the business administrator for Seaside Heights, told the Press that the show brought in a significant amount of money for the borough as well.
In 2008, before the show aired, the borough reportedly earned $1.97 million in beach and parking revenue. In 2010 and 2011, several years after the show hit its stride, Seaside Heights pulled in an estimated $2.96 million from the same two resources.
“Overall it’s been a positive [for Seaside Heights] … [and] it has helped our tourism business,” Camera added.
Michael Graichen, who serves as the borough’s director of public affairs, agreed.
“Whether you liked [“Jersey Shore”] or not, they helped put Seaside Heights on the map,” he told the paper. “We will miss them.”
Not everyone will miss the show or its colorful cast, however. Many shore residents were, in fact, relieved by news of its cancellation.
“There was no positive effect from that show, except for when Gov. [Chris] Christie took away the tax incentives that they were giving the show after realizing that it just made New Jersey look bad,” shore denizen Larry Budden told CBS Local News. “When I first heard the name of the show, I almost thought it was a joke.”
Budden, of Brick Township, was never a fan.
“[I]t made everybody from outside the state think everyone from Ocean County looks like a Guido,” he said. “And while that may be true for some isolated parts of Jersey … it’s not like that down here. Most locals are nice people, and nobody I know from this area has anything nice to say about the show or the individuals on it.”
Lampe noted another potentially negative effect that the show could have on the region.
“I can’t really see Seaside Heights being marketed as a family vacation spot any longer. I don’t even personally like going to the boardwalk anymore except during the off season,” she said. “I’m young, I like to go out and have fun, but it’s just so much rowdier now, and the boardwalk itself is just not the same as I remember it being as a kid.”
She also observed a dramatic increase in congestion and traffic while trying to navigate the area during the show’s heyday.
With “Jersey Shore” ending, some residents expressed regret for the reverse economic ramifications of its cancellation, though they also cannot help but feel some measure of relief as well for the effects it will have on everyday living.
“’Jersey Shore’ not coming back will be a positive thing as a homeowner,” Brett Kinstler, Toms River resident and manager of a boardwalk business in the borough called Beach Paradise, told the Press. “[B]ut from a business standpoint it will affect us and impact our business in a big way.”
Some, however, don’t see many changes for the area on the horizon.
“I really don’t think the show’s cancellation will have an impact in any way,” Lampe said, “besides maybe quieting down the locals and a surplus of Axe body spray [left] on the shelves.”
But others still, including Budden, find themselves elated to say goodbye to the show, even though its conclusion will reportedly not alleviate all of the pains associated with summer tourism down the shore.
“There will be less people driving around trying to find out where the house on the show is located, but [people] can’t get enough of the boardwalk, beach, food, and atmosphere,” he said. “Nothing is going to change the yearly cycle of ‘Bennies’ [a slang term for tourists from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York, or other nearby northern municipalities] flocking to the Jersey Shore to bask on our amazing beaches every summer.”