"It's entertaining." So said Nicole Mulvaney of Toms River, N.J., as she snapped a photo of the house where MTV's reality show "Jersey Shore" was taped last summer.
It has become such a popular tourist spot in Seaside Heights that a handyman was hired to build a gate to the steps. It seems tourists have been tramping up to the second floor of this pad where a cast of Italian-Americans have been showing the raunchier side of being Down the Shore during a Jersey summer.
"Oh God, it's the worst show on television," said Chris Meyer of nearby Seaside Park, as he sat eating lunch at Klee's, a popular bar and restaurant just blocks away from the site of where the show was taped. But Meyer quickly added, "Don't get me wrong, it's great entertainment."
The show that depicts an 'Animal House' experience of self-described 'Guidos' and 'Guidettes' has drawn strong criticism from other Italian-Americans.
"It promotes hatred and insults women of this state," said State Senator Joseph Vitale(D-Middlesex), who said he is calling on the parent corporation Viacom to take the show off the air. "If this were the same with African-American or Hispanic or Polish kids, there would be hell to pay," added Vitale.
But MTV did get and comply with all the proper permits required in Seaside Heights, according to Borough Administrator John Camera. However, the town this week did put out a statement saying it didn't condone or promote the show because, Camera explained, "We're getting a lot of calls from residents and property owners saying they're offended and they don't know why the town did it."
It's not offensive to 12 year old Andrew Valenti, who's watched it. "A cool show," Andrew said.
"He wasn't at my house(to watch it)," said Andrew's mom, Sheila Valenti, 45. She went on to decry its stereotyping, "He shouldn't be watching it," she said.
Still, it sounds like Seaside Heights will survive. "Donald Trump came down and did a show and renovated a motel and a pool and after a fashion it died off and nobody cared, and I think that's what will happen here," said Sue Boyers, 67, who lives in neighboring Lavalette, and is the grandmother of Andrew Valenti.
And the Borough's Camera said on balance, he expects the show will be good for Seaside Heights, because beyond the antics of these immature Twenty Somethings, it generally shows off the reasons why Seaside Heights is a popular destination Down the Jersey Shore.