Rude Behavior

By Judy Berman

No more “Jersey Shore”? Can it be? Are we done with rude behavior?

In the same year that we mourned the passing of Andy Griffith, many are cheering the impending death of the reality show “Jersey Shore.” MTV announced that “Jersey Shore” is in its “last season amid falling ratings.”

The contrast between the two TV shows couldn’t be starker.

Andy Griffith, who played the kindly widowed sheriff, always was ready with a gentle response to the good-natured shenanigans in small-town Mayberry.

Not so in “Jersey Shore.” Even if you never watched the show, it was impossible to escape its influence. Excerpts of the show’s cast and their escapades were the delight of entertainment news. Their public drunkenness and brawls, their visit to Italy that some feared would lead to a permanent break in U.S.-Italian relations … just more fodder for the publicity machine.

Sad to say, there’s no shortage of uncivil behavior on TV.  I can almost forgive Fox TV’s Chef Gordon Ramsay for his volatile outbursts in the kitchen. After all, we’re talking about chefs preparing food you wouldn’t serve to your dog. But Lifetime’s “Dance Moms” or … groan, TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Just appalling.

We’re scraping the bottom of the gene pool here. Is this a case of art (TV) imitating life, or is it life imitating art?

That kind of behavior would have earned me a smack-down and grounding for life by my folks.

Remember when you could “agree to disagree?” When people always heard the other person out – politely – and each side benefited from a healthy exchange of views and opinions. Me, neither.

But  now, it seems whether it’s reality shows or politics, the gloves are off and it’s every man, woman – or even child – for themselves.

The reactions are frequently explosive. Fuses are short. Backlash to a differing viewpoint sometimes turn violent. There’s a flurry of punches and a barrage of ugly, bleeped-out words. The fact that it’s played as entertainment on TV only encourages more folks, who want face time on TV and in the press, to be as nasty as they want to be.

Don’t cry for “Jersey Shore” cast members. Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino already landed another gig on “Celebrity Big Brother” on a UK network, and continues to rake in the big bucks. Snooki and JWoww are in their second season of production in their spinoff show.

But we won’t be better for the experience or exposure to this boorish behavior.

As fellow WordPress blogger, illustrator Mark Armstrong, points out, “The fact that rudeness seems to be the ‘new normal’ just makes things worse.”

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider,, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Video: Opening credits (theme song) of “The Andy Griffith Show”

Photo: Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi and Lisa Opie in a Virginia Beach nightclub. Photo taken Dec. 17, 2011

Link to Mark Armstrong’s WordPress blog:

    1. I hear ya’, Kate. A friend sent me a link to a story that says TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” pulled in more viewers than the RNC (Republican National Convention). Scary and sad.

    1. It is disheartening, Lisa. These shows really are poor examples of what we should aspire to. But the “stars” get the big bucks and lots of attention. So, the message that many take in is: “Be as bad as you want to be. You might be on the cover of some tabloid, too.”

    1. I confess, Kate, I don’t watch them either. But I’ve seen enough outakes of these shows on entertainment news and on the Internet to reinforce my decision to not watch these shows. Until people start demanding better quality programs, we’re likely to be stuck with the reality shows for a long time

  1. The behavior on these types of shows has only gotten worse. The number of shows highlighting this behavior have proliferated and the “stars” have been making piles of money. I often wonder if people feel that if they behave this way they’ll capture the attention of a producer and be given a tv series and a lot of money. Apparently, there is no reward or attention given for being a kind, well mannered person.

    1. Who can blame Snooki, The Situation, Dance Moms and the spin off shows of these reality programs? The “stars” get lots of money, plenty of publicity – even though it’s not the kind that most of us would like. I agree, Paprika. They do continue to do whatever it is that will keep the money and publicity machine going. It’s no surprise that the wannabees follow suit. A sad statement on “entertainment.”

  2. I agree with you on this. Some trends are polluting our society. Now in every day life, we meet very few people who are kind with their words and behavior. This just shows in which direction this planet is moving.

    1. Many people, undoubtedly, are influenced by the behavior of these “celebrities.” If they lack good role models, they might even believe that this is the way you are supposed to act in society. Fortunately, most people aren’t like this. It just seems the others are because they get so much press. Or, at least, Arindam, that is my hope — that the rude ones are in the minority.

  3. I agree with you. I don’t understand why rude behaviors should now become a norm. I guess we have become too accustomed to be looking at the attitudes of the celebrities, who unfortunately, the majority of them, are not really good people. We should stop looking at them as the ‘norms” and should instead develop our own role model, if we would like to leave a more sane world to our descendants.

    Subhan Zein

    1. In the clamor to be heard above all the others, sometimes the “rude” celebrities win out. They hop on the wild ride of fame, fortune, and partying. They rarely think about the positive influence they could have – if it doesn’t include a photo op. Subhan, I hope many celebrities decide to be “good” role models. You’re right, it would be a saner, better world if they did.

  4. I am not familiar with the shows you mention, but can relate to the gist of what you are trying to say. Rudeness does seem to grab more attention and at the end of the day that is what most of these people are after. I too hope that these are in the minority, although it doesn’t seem so sometimes.

    1. In the short term, rudeness might get more attention. Madhu, I agree with you. Let’s hope these rude celebrities are few and far between. Maybe we just hear them more above all the noise of fame. Over time, it’s not how many want to be remembered.

    1. We seem to be on the same path, Shakti. Maybe it’s the negativity of the political season here and abroad. Your post made several excellent points. One commentor mentioned the Native American Indian story about the battle between the bad wolf and the good wolf. Who wins? The one you feed.Thank you for your comments.

  5. Excellent post, Judy, though you may have lowered your credibility somewhat by citing that notorious nutcase Mark Armstrong… : )

    You made your points very eloquently, and I wholeheartedly agree. The thing that kills me about these “reality” shows, is that they can (seemingly) get away with peddling themselves as reality. People who are being paid and know they’re being filmed, and that the shows are aimed at what seems to be an insatiable voyeur market for boorish behavior? That’s reality? Right.

    Folks like yourself, and the people who have left comments here are the true reality, in the sense of being honest, genuine, thoughtful, and very much aware of the power of good example. That is cause for hope because it’s a much stronger and more enduring force than cheap entertainment.

    Must tell you that I’ve never seen Chef Gordon Ramsay or any of the other cooking shows (we don’t have cable), but I absolutely roared when I read your no-matter line, “we’re talking about chefs preparing food you wouldn’t serve to your dog.” I shall be laughing about that for the rest of the day… : )

    Blog on!– you’re an influence for good.

    1. Thank you, Mark. Glad I made you laugh. Now, it’s my turn to blush after reading your glowing prose. By the way, I’m right at home when in the company of “nuts.” You’re a welcome addition to that esteemed group. I agree that the rest of us are the real “reality,” but few are going to pay to watch us go about our daily lives.

    1. Actor Tony Danza, who starred in TV’s “Taxi” and “Who’s the Boss?,” and I, agree, Carl. In an interview with USA Weekend, Danza talked about his year of teaching a class of Philadephia 10th-graders. “I would tell my students that good behavior and hard work pays off — then these kids would go home and watch “Jersey Shore” and come back and tell me I had it wrong,” Danza said. “Often, the role model a kid looks to isn’t the father who goes to work every day, but the reality star or rapper who sells Chryslers or the banker who makes a fortune in a system that seems rigged.”

  6. So true, Judy. There are very few people with manners anymore. I was at a Subway restaurant and a woman in her 80’s was trying to get a cup from the stack of paper cups, but couldn’t. When I got one for her, she was shocked. I thought, that right there tells it all. And her generation was extremely polite. Very sad, indeed.

    It honestly is the most IN-tolerant time in my lifetime, in spite of more gibberish about tolerance than I’ve ever seen. Rant shall end now. ;D

    1. Your thoughtfulness doesn’t surprise me, Michael. I often think of the advice and support you gave to me. Even though I was a total stranger, you did what you could to help a fellow blogger – and I really do/did appreciate that.

      How nice it would be if everyone would be more polite when dealing others.

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