You would think, for all the flood of condemnation, guilty-pleasure love/hate, alleged death threats and general hoopla surrounding MTV’s series “Jersey Shore” that it would be some kind of huge hit.
The show has generated protests from Italian-American groups for its portrayal of the show’s self-proclaimed “guidos” and “guidettes,” caused at least two advertisers (Domino’s and American Family Insurance) to pull their commercials and, according to at least one report, prompted threats against MTV employees. Gallons of ink and millions of pixels have been spilled (including on this site) discussing whether it’s an affront to all mankind or the greatest trash TV since “Elimidate” and puzzling over why a guy would nickname himself The Situation.
All for a show that, even by cable standards, didn’t draw that much of an audience. Last week’s premiere brought in a shade under 1.4 million viewers and a modest 1.2 rating in the adults 18-34 demographic that makes up a big chunk of MTV’s target audience. The ratings were small enough that MTV didn’t see fit to spotlight them in any press releases following the premiere, and well below even the lower-than-usual season premiere of “The Hills” (2.1 million) earlier this year.
So all the hype and protests — from Italian-American groups including UNICO, the Order of the Sons of Italy and the National Italian-American Federation — is for a show that reached roughly 1 percent of the TV-watching homes in the country. I’ll be curious to see if the furor makes the numbers go up this week, or if most people continue not to care.
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Photo credit: MTV