Snooki… Teacher Extraordinaire?

Can’t believe I am going to write about Snooki–again–but I am.  You see, Snooks got very drunk on last week’s episode of  Jersey Shore, and faced a serious consequence.  She was arrested.

Now I know there are those who think there is absolutely no value, other than shock, to shows like Jersey Shore.  People who believe that Snooki, the Situation, and their reality TV brethren have no business achieving 15 seconds, let alone 15 minutes of fame.  And, for the most part I agree.

Last week, however, Snooki demonstrated, in a way my parental warnings can’t, what happens when you cross a line.   And there was nothing appealing about the way she did it.  Snooki looked and behaved like an ass.  My 17-year-old daughter watched, and she too found the behavior to be abhorrent.  I know this is what she thought, because we discussed it.

There are people who believe that children and teenagers should not view programming that is distasteful.  And I agree that subject matter should be age appropriate.  But I also believe that teachable moments come through a variety of venues.  And on Thursday night, Snooki provided me with one.

MTV routinely features shows that appear to reward poor, and sometimes dangerous, behavior.  But… the network also produces a few series that inspire.  If You Really Knew Me, Made and True Life are examples of programs that shine a light, though not always a positive or candy coated one, on some of the real issues and challenges teenagers and young adults face.  These are the shows I want my kids to watch.  Yes, I am actually okay with my teenagers watching MTV–sometimes.

And sometimes, I don’t want them to watch.  But they will.  So, I do too.  And then we discuss.

Do you think TV shows and movies–even those with questionable content–serve an educational purpose?  Would you let your child watch Jersey Shore?


5 responses

  1. If I had a child, I wouldn’t let them watch any awful “reality” or unscripted programming, simply because I find it so loathsome and lazy. (Exceptions, of course, for things like Mythbusters, Cosmos reruns with Carl Sagan or ESPN’s 30 for 30 series).

    I don’t object to “edgy” or boundary pushing material (I grew up reading Mickey Spillane novels and watching R-rated movies as a pre-teen), and then having conversations with an adult to contextualize it. I just object to poorly executed entertainment filled with narcissistic morons looking for their 15 minutes. A literate, engaging script and a nuanced performance is so much more worthy of your time. I’ll take Tony Soprano, Raylan Givens, Nucky Thompson, Al Swearingen, Walter White, Don Draper or Buffy Summers any day over some vapid “real” person.

    Still, there are lessons to be learned everywhere, I suppose, and if you were both exposed to this TV cancer, then kudos to y’all for making something worthwhile from it!

    • @Shan, You have very sophisticated (and good) taste. If more people (including myself) followed your lead, we wouldn’t have to have this conversation.

      @La Jolla Mom, Thanks for having my back Katie!

      @Rex, I agree with pretty much everything you have written. I do think that sometimes, seeing how horrible a behavior looks with your own eyes, helps to reinforce what you know, and believe, in a way words can’t. My kids don’t think highly of the cast of Jersey Shore, but they find them entertaining, because they come across as basically harmless and stupid. When Snooki lost control, she was no longer entertaining. I think it was (pardon the pun) a bit sobering to see that even silly reality TV “stars” go to jail when they cross a line. Also, it was great for her to see how out of control and ridiculous Snooki looked drunk.

  2. I think your daughter’s reaction is more of a function of you and your husband’s parenting than any perceived value of this particular “reality” show. Far too many kids look at this group as cool and something to aspire to. I usually can find redeeming value in most movies, television and music. Sometimes there is none.

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