Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Screw You, Brooklyn...


It is no secret that I don't exactly revel in being originally from New York. For a number of reasons, I always felt much more like a Los Angeleno at heart, and when I was living in my childhood home in Brooklyn, I was pretty much just counting down the days until I could leave. A number of things about the area embarrassed me-- from the police officers in my neighborhood that let a child abuser off with just a warning because they were old friends, to the underage keg parties held in the park by the shore, and to the trash that literally lined the streets. There were some fun things about the place, too, don't get me wrong: the yearly street festival was always a fun afternoon with friends, eating and shopping far too much, and having delis, bagel stores, pizza parlors, and Dunkin Donuts all in walking distance is something I realize now that I took for granted. But if Oxygen goes through with this Jersey Shore-esque ratings-whoring reality show Brooklyn 11223 as announced via press release yesterday, I will burn the city down myself.

That is not a metaphor.

Oxygen is boasting taking viewers to "the small, close-knit community of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and surrounding neighborhoods including Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst in Oxygen’s newest docu-series...to provide a voyeuristic look into the lives of a group of twenty-something friends whose once rock-solid friendships have been torn apart by betrayal."

Read: sleeping with each other's significant others.

Have a little self-respect, Brooklyn! I never thought you were better than that, but so many in pop culture and the greater state of New York thought you were that you should be trying to prove people like me wrong-- or at least the minority. A reality series set in the city would sound well and good if we could expect a look at the culture of the region, but it will most likely be the lack thereof (the culture). Dealing with the interpersonal drama of the kids that live there-- the kids that care more about going out to bars or clubs and getting plastered rather than contributing anything at all to society-- isn't enriching anyone's television. It's a trainwreck waiting to happen. And setting it in a place like Brooklyn, it's also a felony waiting to happen.

Today I stand with Councilman Vinnie Gentile in the request to get Oxygen to pull this program from the March schedule. I don't know why the city officials didn't step in during production. After all, Jersey Shore has been on long enough that once casting was announced, eyebrows should have been raised. It's too late in this sensational reality genre game to claim ignorance or hopefulness that such a series would shine a light on a special community.

All I can say today is that at least I was raised in 11209. It may not be that far removed from 11223, but I'll take every inch of separation I can.

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