I never fully understood the hatred of the 'Jersey Shore' cast. For the most part, they do what everyone else does in Seaside Heights during the summer: party, hit the boardwalk and look for love - or, at the very least, lust.
Four seasons in, they've yet to offend me. For one thing, Seaside Heights in the summer is portrayed, in my view, relatively accurately on the show. For another, except for one unlucky Bayville resident who was the target of cast member Ronnie Ortiz's fist after an argument, I can't say that they've negatively affected my life, or anyone else's life, one bit.
For some Shore locals, that all changed Monday night when the crew invaded a bastion of Shore localism in a town where Ocean County residents are squarely outnumbered by out-of-towners: The Aztec's weekly "Industry Night."
Aztec, a bar and club on the boardwalk, hosts the Monday bash each week during the summer with the aim of attracting local residents who work weekends and need an off-night to do their own partying. It's usually a great night to head out; the crowd is a bit more laid back than at the other local clubs, and the resident mixmaster is DJ Unique, a Red Bank native who is one of region's .
This past Monday, July 11, was no exception. Unique was doing his thing, the weather was hot, and the drinks were flowing. Of course, when the drinks flow, nature calls. That's where Snooki and the gang come in.
The local crowd didn't bother much with the cast on Monday night, nor did the cast bother much with the local crowd. Snooki curiously spent a few awkward minutes of the evening crouching down between my right leg and a potted plant next to the stage on which Unique was performing. But the rest of the cast chose an area of vital importance as the place where they – and the endless line of producers and camera operators in tow – would hang out.
"I don't care that they're here. I just wish they didn't block the bathroom," one clubgoer told me as we both arduously fought our way through the fracas in order to hit the men's room.
My streak of defending the seemingly indefensible 'Jersey Shore' crew came to end.
But my lavatory lamentations are about all I can really pin on the cast. They're still not responsible for the way New Jersey is portrayed in the national media (The Sopranos, embraced by Garden Staters, exploited more Jersey stereotypes than MTV could ever dream of) nor are they responsible for the offseason drug, crime or transient rental issues that plague Seaside Heights. They certainly aren't responsible for or that they have nothing to do with, and which have been happening for decades on-and-off.
Just like my fellow clubgoer Monday night, I don't particularly care whether they're here or not this summer. But I really wish they'd refrain from blocking the bathroom.