Albanians do not back down from a fight. Vietnamese women are like cartoon characters. It’s okay for Italian-Canadians to calls themselves wops. – Toronto Star, Nov 11 2010
I had hope that this day would never come. Fortunately, it came and went as Canada’s
gimmick of the reality show Jersey Shore came with a bang and ended with a whimper. Well, sort of. It’s a sure thing that Lake Shore, as it was aptly titled, will be remembered and forgotten for two reasons. One for being Canada’s Jersey Shore that no one knew or cared about. And two for being the reality show that will never come to a TV near you. The show was created in April 2010 by Maryam Rahimi, a relatively unknown graduate of Concordia’s fine arts program in Film Production who had recently moved to Toronto. In the summer of 2010, dozens of young 20-somethings gathered at a local Toronto nightclub to hopefully become the next Snooki or Mike “The Situation”. Out of these, eight were chosen to gain their fifteen minutes of fame.. For those interested, don’t hold your breath. The Toronto Star reported that Lakeshore was scrapped for good as it failed to gain the attention of any networks. It was supposed to premiere early 2011 but in October, Rahimi sent an email to the cast stating that the Lake Shore reality was a dream deferred. But before the show had the chance to make an impact on the TV screen, it already came with controversy.
Like a caste system, the chosen eight were classified by their ethnic backgrounds and nationalities like Anni Mei (“The Viet”), Robyn Perza (“The Jew”) and Joey Violin (“The Italian”). It gets better. Some of them were accompanied with politically incorrect stereotypes and anti-Semitic remarks. “I’m not racist. I hate everyone equally — especially Jewish people,” exclaimed Sibel Atlug (“The Turk”) in the eight-minute promo trailer, the statement that possibly served as the demise of the show. So, Canadians will be robbed of the chance to see Toronto make a fool of itself, but don’t worry Mayor Rob Ford is already doing a great job at that.
Now that Lake Shore is dunzo, does it signal the end of American-created, Canadian-duplicated entertainment shows? Most likely not, but it does not mean that they’ll last any longer than their predecessors (i.e Canadian Idol).This bootleg Canadian version of Jersey Shore, judging by the promo trailer, had nothing new to offer except different people, different city but the same mentality and perpetuated stereotypes of ethnic minorities. The only difference is that it would have be interesting to see how these eight would have bonded or clashed as they lived, partied and hooked up in one house, Jersey style. For me, judging by the cast photos, this show does not and would never have reflected the diversity of Toronto as Rahimi claimed. If anything, it only represented a small fraction of it. Is it necessary for Canada to mimic every show that is a hit across the border? Did we forget or even remember what made Jersey Shore so popular? That infamous scene where Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi gets punched in the face by a male and, not to mention the outrage from Italian-Americans for the stereotypical portrayals on the show, do we really need all that drama in the Great White North? According to those networks, apparently not.
At the end of the day, this show would have been just pure, uneducated entertainment. It won’t boost intellect and neither is it going to bring awareness to the social issues of today. There is no need to protest, if you don’t shows like these, don’t watch it. It’s simple as that. Besides, shouldn’t we watch shows like Jersey Shore and thank the heavens that it’s not us in that shore house? Well, maybe I am. Putting my personal biases aside, Jersey Shore was, at first, my Thursday night guilty pleasure and comic relief all wrapped in one. But after four seasons in a span of two years and a fifth one currently on air, I can say that I’ve lost a couple thousand brain cells every time I watch an episode. But it’s good to know that no shore house antics will be heading up to my city….that is, for now at least.