Sunday, March 6, 2011

Taking On Jersey City

Hey all,
       It's your favorite Rambling man (yes I realize I am neither Hank Williams or a member of the Allman Brothers band) back to verbally abuse the "interweb" as only I can. My words can often go off on tangents and I wouldn't have it any other way, but for today's ramble I'm gonna do my best to stay a little more focused on the topic at hand. What's the topic you ask? (I thought I explained in the Red Hulk blog that I don't like questions?)Well I'm about to tell you.
       I decided to take some of my precious free time this evening and watch the new animal planet show "Taking on Tyson". Now before I even start, let me just say, I hate reality TV. I find 99.9% (there's always one or two diamonds in the rough.... Season 1 of the Joe Schmo show from 2003, I'm looking at you) of it detestable and the reason that pretty much any insightful, thought provoking, serialized show (that is not based on some sort of crime scene investigation) simply cannot survive nowadays. Now despite all this pent up rage towards reality TV, I still wanted to see the show. There were two main reasons for this: First, I find Mike Tyson interesting. His story throughout the years despite all the controversy has been one of a tortured soul striving to make it through life and his appeal is evident anytime he steps in front of a camera. The second reason (and much more of the selling point for me) is that a huge portion of this show was shot in Jersey City, N.J (J.C.)., MY HOME TOWN! Finally I could see a story told from inside the walls of the place I grew up. Mike's pigeon coup is a few blocks from my house and I know the scenery of the show like the back of my hand. I could not wait to enjoy a good Jersey City story that did'nt have to pretend it was shot in NYC. But unfortunately that is exactly what I was given.
       I took a few notes (I know, I'm neurotic) while watching the show once I realized that it was clearly no love letter to J.C. Here's some of the stats I came up with :
                        -  at least 1 shot of the Empire state buliding
                        - 1 shot of the Statue of Liberty
                        - at least 10 references to New York(not counting signs), Brownsville,Brooklyn & the Bronx
                        - 2 references to Hoboken
                        - 1 to Lyndhurst
                        - 2 to NJ in general
                        - even one to Carlisle PA!

So with all this you can imagine that a show that was shot mostly in Jersey city would reference it several times in the episode, but nope, NOT ONE mention of J.C.(there was a brief 1/2 second shot of a sign in the background on Tonnelle Ave. that had the words "Jersey City" on it but I only noticed it when pausing the DVR to check)!
         I cant lie, it stung a bit. There was even a point where I had all but given up, only to be tricked into false hope when I saw on overhead shot of the White Mana, a Jersey City landmark, across the street from Mike's pigeon coup. I thought, "here we go, time for some talk about J.C.", but to my dismay, here are the actual words said by the shows narrator: "In Mario's Diner, Next to the Ringside gym in Jersey..........". ......that was J.C. at all, not even a reference to the Mana itself, just a diner in Jersey.
       I realize that it was probably naive of me to assume the show would be about Jersey City just because it was shot there.I get it. New York is always going to be the big brother looming in the background, but from someone who grew up rooting for a team from Cleveland because both of my states football teams claim to play in New York, it just would have been nice. But hey, it is what it is and I don't blame Mike Tyson, Mario Costa ( I mean c'mon, the man is Jersey City and both the Mana and Ringside are iconic) or any of the people from Jersey City involved with the show for its inability to mention its hometown's name. They don't control what a narrator says nor what a network decides to focus on. I won't even say people shouldn't watch the show, because it's still quite interesting. Just know that if you do, your watching a show about Jersey City, N.J., that was shot in Jersey City, N.J., with people from Jersey City, N.J. and anything else is just the magic of television. I'll see ya when i see ya people. 

1 comment:

  1. I also refuse to support the Giants, Jets, and Red Bulls for the same reason. But besides what the show won't tell you is that Mike Tyson could not enjoy this hobby in our overshadowing brother to the east. Our poultry ordinance last revised in 1982, permits homing pigeons. We also have the most permissive laws for chicken keeping and various othe poultry. What I mean to say is that in the wake of this hipster revival when people are fighting their city government to let them raise their own - especially in NY - we have always allowed it. You could say it is because our laws are old and were created under Cucci - or you could say that we had great foresight and were ahead of the times. I like the latter. BTW - Jersey City owns the land Lady Liberty stands on.