Not Reality TV

Photo: Grant Monahan

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “Jersey Shore?” Is it the great surf spots in Avalon or Point Pleasant Beach? Is it the beautiful and close-knit communities of Manasquan or the pristine beaches of Bay Head? Probably not, right?

A quick Google image search brings up 374 images before you even see a beach. In fact the second word search that comes up with “Jersey Shore” is MTV and Ed Hardy. The name is now synonymous with partygoers, hair gel, and dare we say it, the Gym/Tan/Laundry lifestyle that took a beautiful region and made it famous around the world for tasteless promotion of a lifestyle that has left most of the cast in rehab or out of work 10 years later (save Pauly D).

Our beloved small community at the end of Long Island is potentially facing a similar situation. If you don’t live in the area you might not have heard the news, or seen the crew around town, or been contacted by the show’s producers to either be involved yourself or have your business featured.

Reality TV has made its way to Montauk, and it’s not something we should look forward to or admire. The Show, Share House, is a spotlight on a group of “friends,” who have been coming to Montauk for years, and are just trying to live the Montauk lifestyle.

Well, we have spoken with the shows’ executive producers who are claiming that this show is going to be a positive spotlight on a close-knit community, a community—mind you—that does not want or need a major cable network doing a reality TV show, at all.

Montauk is a special place and families and frequent visitors that hold it dear to their hearts and don’t deserve to have their peaceful corner of the world treated like a playground for TV executives to make a quick buck promoting a lifestyle that doesn’t naturally exist. We have talked to people who have worked in that industry and it is far from any normal depiction of reality, enhancing any sort of drama possible to increase ratings.

We completely understand that people have to do their jobs. These types of programs will get made, and love them or hate them, these shows get a lot of people through the lonely winters. All we are asking is that this show’s producers take the direction of respect and admiration towards our beloved small community. Anything that plays up the ongoing struggles the town faces with the weekend party crowd would be seen as ill-intentioned.

We can’t, in good conscious, get behind a project like the show’s producers are suggesting. We also can’t sit aside and risk an unscripted reality TV show portraying the community in an embarrassing nature—it doesn’t bode well for anyone in the longterm. This is our home (not just in the summer), and a special place for locals and tourists alike. A show promoting the party lifestyle out here is not a reflection of the Montauk we know and love.

Unfortunately, the cast and their actions will put Montauk on a national stage—not for surf or the beautiful scenery or fishing community, but as a staging ground for reckless behavior fueled by needless drama and alcohol.

We are not promoting, nor encouraging any ill will towards the show’s cast and crew—we are just asking that they please choose another town for this type of show. We hear Pensacola is nice this time of year.