It’s ‘Wonder Years’ vs. ‘Jersey Shore’

Published 11:57 am Thursday, February 17, 2011

Column: Thanks for Listening

I wonder.

Before my eyes I just turned into that crotchety old guy that I used to hate when I was growing up. You know the one that shakes his fists and says, “Turn down that darn rock ’n’ roll music,” and asks, “What is this world coming to?”

Email newsletter signup

You may ask, what happened to me? Well, I just flipped through the channels and saw what our kids are watching lately.

It made me shake my head.

Do you think that we as a society are going down the drain? Or are the television shows that are available to us making us go down the drain?

Jersey Shore

As I flipped through the channels, shows like “16 and Pregnant,” “Skins,” “Teen Mom,” “Celebrity Rehab 4,” and “Housewives of Whatever Town You Want” jumped out at me, not because of how good they looked, but because of the car-crash type of programming that is on our television sets.

These shows are sex-filled, violent and downright vulgar. I offer a comparison of two shows to make my point a bit stronger. I will choose an ’80s television show with one that is popular today.

I choose “The Wonder Years” versus “Jersey Shore.”

In my opinion “The Wonder Years” was a great show about the trials and tribulations of Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage), who, with the help of his adult voice-over (Daniel Stern), reminisces about growing up during the 1960s. The trials and tribulations that Kevin and his friends go through just so happen to match many of the same things that happened in our own lives. This perfect matching of what Arnold goes through and what we go through in our own lives is what made this show such a big hit.

Wonder Years

Each “Wonder Year” episode made you stop to think about what we did in our young lives during the same scenarios. Each scene made us dream and desire to go back to that simple time in our lives when, though we thought we would never make it through, we did and only now realize how fun and simple it seemed.

Kevin’s friends were Winnie Cooper (played brilliantly by Danica McKellar) and Josh Saviano (played by Paul Pfieffer). These two young people were like our own two best friends that we grew up with: loyal, fun and central to helping us guide our way in and out of the troubled waters that adolescence brings. Kevin’s parents were much like our own, the hard-working dad and the protective mom. It was a show that you could relate to.

“Jersey Shore” is a car accident waiting to happen. It is about four girls and four guys living together on the Jersey Shore. The girls are Snooki, Jenni or Jwoww, Sammi, and either Angelina or another girl depending on what year you are watching. The guys are Paulie, Vinny, Ronnie and Mike “The Situation.”

Oh yeah, this masterpiece has been on for I think like three years.

The premise of the show is to show how young Italians live in New Jersey. They have a house and all are provided top-notch executive jobs at the local T-shirt shop. Most of the show really revolves around the “clubbing” they all do at night. I noticed that they all consume alcohol like it is oxygen and then the mayhem starts.

In all of one half hour of watching this show, you will see cheating, tanning, sex, fighting, swearing, police intervention, tanning, scantily-clad women with hair-don’ts and men who are called “juice heads.”

They all dress with the following rules:

1. Do not use a mirror.

2. Men: Use a minimum of a case of hair gel.

3. Slash as many holes in your wardrobe as possible.

4. Bronzer is used until you turn bright orange.

5. Women: Use hair spray until at least three cans are empty.

6. If your skirt is too short, you are ready to go.

Now take all that you have read about the place Jersey Shore and blend into a mix of music and vomit and you have the popular show “Jersey Shore.”

What show wins in your TV room at home?

The sad part of this column is that what is winning today is more and more shows like “Jersey Shore.” We are turning 16-year-old pregnant girls and drunken idiots into megastars who are making millions. It is so sad.

Winnie Cooper and Kevin Arnold, where are you?

Scott Schmeltzer is a crotchety old guy who happens to be the publisher of the Albert Lea Tribune. His column appears every Thursday.