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Nina In New York: Gorillas In Our Midst Haven’t Yet Destroyed Their Natural Habitat

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(Photo credit ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
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By Nina Pajak

I am shocked. And appalled.

According to a new study by a group that will apparently take money to poll for literally anything, those wacky kids from MTV’s Jersey Shore haven’t actually had a negative impact on popular perception of the great state of New Jersey. The numbers don’t lie: 43 percent of those who have seen the show have a favorable opinion of New Jersey, while 41 percent who’ve never seen it (/live under a rock) also give a thumbs up to the Garden State.

See Also: A Guide To The Real Jersey Shore

I know what you’re thinking. But amazingly, those people aren’t even Jersey residents! Or at least, not necessarily. The Farleigh Dickinson poll was conducted nationally. Some of the respondents were even from the Midwest. Go fig.

Then again, why should the show make anyone think less of NJ? There’s a reason their coast has been popular since Nucky Thompson was breaking knees and running speakeasies. It’s lovely, with or without The Situation. CBS New York’s own reporters spoke with two women on the boardwalk in now-famous Seaside Heights, who lamented that while many from out-of-state are under the impression that the Jersey Shore is trashy, they’ve got it all wrong. “It’s a really beautiful beach here,” one of them said, before revealing that she had her own piercing situation going on down in her personal, you know, situation. Then she ran into The Situation.

The poll’s director, Peter Woolley, echoed the sentiment to CBS: “The show… may be promoting one of the state’s best features — not Snooki, but the shore itself. It seems to me viewers are looking past The Situation to the shore scene itself.”

Sure. The shore! Classy, everyday viewers are too smart to let an orange juicehead gorilla or a tiny, half-naked meatball of a girl blind them to the beauty of the Jersey Shore. The show is like one long, unpaid commercial for the natural splendors of the region. I know when I watch (oh I watch—and let’s be real—so do you), I don’t really register the sweaty, steroid-induced male posturing or the vicious, steroid-induced, clawing catfights. I look past the indiscriminate hooking up, public intoxication, and crowded, meatmarket clubs. I don’t dwell on the rivers of vomit that have flooded the screen over the past few seasons. I’ll tell you what I see. I see some primo real estate in a beautiful and idyllic beach setting. And it makes me want to go!

Ah, when I watch Jersey Shore, I don’t smell the stench of sweat baked into week-old, communal smush sheets or overused, under-dressed mattresses. I smell the salty sea air! I don’t feel like everything is just a little bit sticky. I feel the cool Atlantic breeze on the back of my neck! And I’m glad America agrees with me.

Actually, it was a Canadian in the CBS New York piece put it most poignantly:

“Straight up? I love New Jersey! It’s (expletive) beautiful.”

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Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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