Thanks for nothing, Snooki. Residents hailing from the Garden State think "Jersey Shore" is giving their state a bad name.
Thanks for nothing, Snooki.
You too, shopaholic "real housewife" Teresa Giudice, self-absorbed "Jerseylicious" stylists and the sequin-loving "Jersey Couture" gang.
Current Massachusetts residents hailing from the Garden State think "Jersey Shore" is giving their state a bad name.
"It just reinforces the negative stereotypes people already have about New Jersey: smelly Turnpike towns, the Mob, etc.," said Kevin Rudden, who grew up in Nutley.
When people learn where Leigh-Ann French comes from, they say, "You can't be from New Jersey. You don't have poofy hair or say 'caw-fee,' " said the Brick Township native.
"It's almost like a car wreck; you can't help but look sometimes," said Kelli Welch, who hails from Lumberton, of what passes for an entertaining look at people in New Jersey.
But what you see can be kind of disturbing.
"I've never met anyone like the 'Jersey Shore' people any time or any where in New Jersey," said Rudden, "especially not at the Jersey Shore towns we used to go to, like Sea Isle City and Wildwood Crest."
Neither have I.
I'm not a native, but even I know the state is far more attractive and complex than the self-described "guidos and guidettes," of whom most are actually New York natives, who tan and brawl on MTV's "Jersey Shore."
Seaside Heights, where the "Jersey Shore" cast gets into bar fights, is "not representative of the beautiful towns and communities that dot the Jersey coast," said Pat Mahon, originally from Elizabeth.
"Central Jersey has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and is a world or two away from Northeast Jersey," said Marianne Dent, whose roots are in Verona.
"It's a multifaceted state," French said.
"Everyone sees New Jersey (as) what they see from Newark, Jersey City or the Meadowlands," said Steve Pierson, who originally is from Warren Township. "No one sees the farms or the great camping, lakes and hiking trails. ... The beaches are fantastic. Nothing can beat the boardwalks."
And South Jersey is neither Newark nor Bergen County.
"I think many times people forget there is a South Jersey, and that includes some people from New Jersey," Welch said. The southern part of the state "has a lot of smaller towns. The only bigger city is Camden. You come across a lot more farms and you sometimes get more of a community feel.
"Sometimes I think people from South Jersey get more defensive about the stereotypes of New Jersey."
And, for the record, those on the southern end probably aren't Yankees fans. Or Mets fans. They're likely to root for nearby Philadelphia's teams than New York's, she said.
Among the biggest misconceptions non-residents have are "that it's the same as New York, and everyone has a Jersey accent," Pierson said.
"We don't all have thick accents, are of Italian-American descent or have a Mafia connection," French said.
The state that nurtured the talents of Thomas Edison and Bruce Springsteen, Buzz Aldrin and Allen Ginsberg, Shaquille O'Neal and Meryl Streep is many things to many people.
"My experience going to high school in Newark exposed me to all financial classes, races and nationalities," Rudden said. "You learned to get along with anyone, and how 'the other half' lives."
"The open arms in which it still welcomes immigrants from foreign lands" is noteworthy, Mahon said. "New Jersey welcomed my parents from Ireland and gave us a life that was just a dream when they landed here. It is doing so again for a new wave of people, albeit from different and more diverse lands."
"Growing up there taught me to speak my mind, and not to worry about what others will think if I do," Dent added.
And frankly, New Jersey natives are tired of the old "armpit of America" line. The state "has taken a bad rap for far too long, and now Snooki and her crew have added to our woes," Mahon said.
"Those posers on TV have nothing to do with the Garden State," Rudden said.
MetroWest Daily News writer Julia Spitz can be reached at 508-626-3968 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check metrowestdailynews.com for the Spitz Bits blog.