Friday, June 22, 2018
News At Noon Newsletter

MTV’s ‘Floribama Shore’ showcases stupidity, debauchery and Southern stereotypes

First of all, there aren't "shores" in Florida. We call them beaches here.

But Floribama Shore is the title given to MTV's newest Jersey Shore-inspired reality series that premiered Monday night. The "Floribama" part is the nickname for the stretch of coastline running from Mobile, Ala., to the panhandle's Panama City. This native Floridian has never heard "Floribama."

The premise is similar to many other washed up MTV ventures: eight twentysomethings are stuffed into a picturesque seaside house with their drunken drama and antics recorded for all the world to see.

But instead of cheesy nicknames and "gym, tan, laundry," Floribama Shore has beach, barbecue and booze with a hefty scoop of outdated Southern stereotypes.

You get all this and more at the house in Panama City Beach, home to the "hottest clubs this side of the Mason Dixon" line, according to one cast member.

MTV had a surprise hit with Jersey Shore, which was inspired by the long-running reality series The Real World. The latter at first gained acclaimed for its raw look at contemporary adult issues. The former was like watching multiple car crashes on steroids while LMFAO's "Shots" played on repeat.

With Siesta Key, another Florida-set reality series that aired over the summer, the network aimed to bring the popularity of shows like Laguna Beach and The Hills to the Sunshine State. Now with Floribama Shore, MTV seems keen on getting more juice from premises that just aren't in style anymore.

Previous coverage: What MTV's Siesta Key has to do with 1-800-Ask-Gary

The network also seems bent on capitalizing on Florida subcultures. But instead of showcasing the state's diversity, their two Florida-set series energize cheap stereotypes about the people who live here.

You don't get on these types of shows for intelligence or emotional maturity. Like many other MTV reality shows, the cast is there to embrace and fuel the the fires of stereotypes.

In Floribama Shore, that means selling the false Southern conventions of being simple and modernized good ol' boys and Southern belles. So far there are no mentions of controversial conservative politics or the alt-right, but the series' two African-American cast members (Candace Rice and Kirk Medas) are edited in such a way that it's quickly clear they aren't the intended stars.

The first episode is all about getting to know the housemates, ages 21-25. Half the cast is from Panama City Beach, Jacksonville or Amelia Island. The rest are from small town Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Within 13 minutes of the premiere, 21-year-old Kortni Gilson, a Panama City Beach native, gets "blacked the hell out" drunk and mistakes her new roommate's bed for a toilet.

In another scene Jeremiah Buoni, the cliche heartthrob of the house, quips about his personality, "I have to be a gentleman and a douchebag because I feel like that's what women want."

And while the cast members seems to hit it off instantly and start the tradition of praying before each meal, their Southern hospitality feels supremely inauthentic, even for the likes of a reality show.

Floribama Shore might be entertaining if it wasn't so sad. MTV seems stuck in a past that sees alcohol abuse and drunken debauchery as a youth rite of passage. Watching a grown woman urinate in someone's bed and hearing people perpetuate outdated gender roles isn't funny. It's just sad.

MTV seems too nostalgic for a time when people wanted their reality television with virtually no purpose other than to entertain the masses with beautiful young people showcasing their worst behavior. If only someone told MTV that The Real World and Jersey Shore generation has moved on.

Watch

Floribama Shore airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on MTV.

Contact Chelsea Tatham at [email protected] Follow @chelseatatham.

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