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Friday, July 1, 2011

More reality TV shows to embarrass Louisiana

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 3:55 PM

This was only the beginning.
  • This was only the beginning.
A few years ago the tanned, spiky-haired dummies of Jersey Shore introduced to America a culture of young people boasting dubious Italian heritage who love house music, Ed Hardy clothing and bar fights over nothing. Although none of the show's original cast members actually hail from Jersey (most of them are from outer-borough New York), television producers decided the Garden State must be the locus of embarrassing people whose great-great grandparents sacrificed everything to come to America, only to have their descendants proudly refer to themselves as "guidos" on television decades later.

Several reality shows set in New Jersey followed, including Jerseylicious, Jersey Couture and Cake Boss. The collagen-faced women of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, a show that premiered right before Jersey Shore, have been throwing pinot grigio at each other for three seasons now. Jersey Shore has also been on the air for three seasons, and the next season will take place in — oh, God — Italy (a country where Snooki is now prohibited from driving).

After a series of news items this week about upcoming reality shows set in Louisiana, I wonder: could we be the next New Jersey in terms of embarrassing reality TV exposure?

We've already had Steven Seagal: Lawman, Trashmen and the second iteration of The Real World: New Orleans. The season of Bad Girls Club set here is premiering soon, and this week we learned former Gov. Edwin Edwards is in talks for a reality TV show about him and his new fiancee (which I'm guessing will be Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica meets The Girls Next Door, except grosser and more boring). Buried in the news is that SSS Entertainment, the team behind the project, is working on something called The Wank, which the SSS Entertainment website says will follow "the party-fueled lives of young guys and girls living on the West Bank of New Orleans, where every weekend is Mardi Gras."

Also this week, because it all goes back to Jersey Shore, the same casting and production company who created the aforementioned show sent around a casting notice for a show called Party Down South. The press release for the upcoming reality show contains a conflation of regional stereotypes: they are looking for young people from Gulf states who "call ‘gators your neighbors, reckon Mardi Gras should be a national holiday" and whose "daisy dukes fit just right and are ready to make your Maw Maw and Paw Paw proud." Not sure if the show will be filmed in Louisiana — although I won't be surprised if it is, since the alternatives are Alabama or Mississippi — but I'm sure lampooning the Cajun heritage will figure largely into the show's playbook.

Could the next Snooki be in her parents' English Turn nouveau-mansion right now, beginning to straighten her black hair extensions for another Mardi Gras-crazy night over on "The Wank"? Or hangin' out in her Daisy Dukes in the back of her Paw-Paw's pickup truck somewhere in Laffayette? I guess we'll find out soon.

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