Aesthetic Exploration: The Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore, Oceanview Boardwalk

The New Jersey coastline is 130 miles long. The coast line features beautiful lighthouses, boardwalks, and oceanic life; however, when one thinks of the Jersey shore, they don’t think about the 130 miles [1] where the state meets the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, the Jersey shore has a much more urban and party crazed aesthetic – an aesthetic defined by hair gel, tan lines, and fist pumping clubs. So how did a shoreline’s aesthetic become defined not by it’s natural landmarks but by the party scene it hosts? Well, it all started with the MTV hit reality television series called The Jersey Shore.

Season 1 cast of the Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore aesthetic was defined by the cast of the show when the show first aired in 2009. The cast made up of 6 main members (Mike “The Situation,” Pauly D, Vinny, Ronnie, Nicole “Snooki,” Jenni “JWOW,” Sammie, and Deena) defined the aesthetic with their appearance and life-style but they didn’t come up with this style on their own. In fact, the cast borrowed much of their style from the already existing Guido aesthetic.

“Guidos” on the Jersey Shore

The cast has declared themselves Guidos and Guidettes even though they are not all Italian, but the Guido aesthetic is not just about being Italian to them. As Pauly D put it: “I was born and raised a Guido; it’s just a life style, it’s being Italian, it’s representing family, friends, tannin’, gel, everything.” [2] That’s right, being a Guido means you can’t just be Italian, you need to have the whole aesthetic: the gel, the tan line, friends, and family. But the girls on the show add to that definition with lines like “my ideal man would be Italian, dark, muscles, juicehead, Guido.” [2]

New Yorker cartoon of The Jersey                              Shore

From the 6 seasons of Jersey Shore that aired we can now paint a picture of the Jersey Shore aesthetic. The aesthetic is defined by the Guido look and complimented by the party lifestyle exhibited on the show. The New Yorker magazine describe this lifestyle as one where “they don’t do anything except sleep and party and drink and hook up and spend quality time with their hair.” [2] Despite the demeaning tone expressed towards the Jersey Shore in The New Yorker, the show has had quite a large influence and impact on the culture of the United States – so much that the Jersey Shore aesthetic has made its way beyond the state of New Jersey and all the way to Los Angeles, California.

Jenni “JWOW”


The Jersey Shore aesthetic had such a big impact due to the popularity of the show. The first episode of The Jersey Shore had 1.4 million viewers which grew to 3.6 million viewers by the first seasons finale. Popularity of the show did not stop there, in 2011 The Jersey Shore broke MTV records with 8.9 million viewers tuning in, that’s more viewers than there were who “watched programs on both NBC and ABC” [3] that same night. They cast was so popular they were booked to appear at clubs in Los Angeles. The aesthetic was so popular thecast was “contracted to judge a Jersey Shore look-alike contest at Chicago, Illinois.” [4]

Jersey Shore members ‘partying’


The Jersey Shore has been one of the most successful reality TV series ever. So much so it has defined a Jersey Shore aesthetic. Is that aesthetic and notoriety is good for the state of New Jersey or not? I will leave that to you, the reader, to decide.








Image sources listed in order of appearance







aesthetic, exploration, jersey, shore
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jake Silverman
    May 10, 2017 11:57 pm

    It believe that it defines the jersey shore in a marketing standpoint. I think that it is and they use the aesthetics of the show to sell cheap thrills but i do not believe it goes far past that

  • Hunter Miller
    May 10, 2017 11:08 pm

    Interesting Choice of aesthetic! I used to watch this show no matter how much i hate admitting it. It is interesting to see how far the aesthetic has come!


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