Only in Jersey: 3/7/12

It’s Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week, and it’s time for another edition of Only in Jersey!

If it’s filming in Jersey, takes place in Jersey, or is about celebs from Jersey, you will find it here.

Who would've thought of West Orange as "status symbol land"?

In the wake of Davy Jones’ untimely death last week, I’ve discovered at least two connections The Monkees have to the Garden State. First, I was very surprised to learn that one of their hit songs, “Pleasant Valley Sunday,’ was written about life in West Orange, of all places. Yup, that’s right: the tune, penned by Carole King and her then-husband, Gerry Goffin, was inspired by their time living on Pleasant Valley Way in the township’s Watchung Mountains. Kinda gives new meaning to the lyrics, huh?
The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
Serenade the weekend squire
Who just came out to mow his lawn

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray
She’s proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
Mr. Green
He’s so serene
He’s got a TV in every room

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don’t understand

Creature comfort goals
They only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of scenery

The second Monkees/Garden State connection, which I recall but had forgotten, is that the band filmed the video for its ’86 comeback hit, “That Was Then, This Is Now,” at Great Adventure’s arena in Jackson. The song and video only feature Monkees Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, although apparently Davy was part of the tour.

My “Jersey Shore” birthday

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MTV may be premiering Season 4 of “Jersey Shore” tonight, but I’ve already caught a glimpse of Season 5!

Move over, Florence: The kids are back in Seaside!/All photos by Ava Gacser

I was down the Shore last Tuesday, July 26, to celebrate my birthday at Island Beach State Park, which is adjacent to Seaside Heights, the home of “Jersey Shore.” On a whim, I decided to drive by the infamous den of iniquity just to see what it looked like in person. Seriously, I had no expectations other than that.

Well, guess what? I drove (then walked) right into the middle of filming for the show! Happy birthday to me!

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“Real Housewives”: What happens when their big fat fabulous lifestyles are over?

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Every once in a while, it’s nice to see some *reality* seep into the lives of Bravo’s “Real Housewives.”

Teresa Giudice's big fat fabulous life came to a screeching halt once Bravo cameras stopped rolling./Photo credit In Touch

And for some of these ladies, by *reality* I mean near financial ruin. You know, as in bankruptcy.

In addition to dropping money in the mall, Lynne Curtin decided plastic surgery was in the cards for her AND her teenage daughter./Photo credit Bravo

While I don’t derive any pleasure seeing the lives of these women come crashing down around them, watching them struggle – you know, like everyone else is doing these days – makes them a lot more relatable. And I sure find it fascinating to see how they handle it.

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“Real Housewives of New Jersey”: My big fat Italian vacation

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I’ve seen some people kvetching online about how lame this week’s “My Big Fat Italian Vacation” episode of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” was, but I loved every minute of it.

If only what happens in Italy, stays in Italy./Photo credit Bravo

And there were a million and one reasons to love it. And much of the credit belongs to Teresa Giudice, who came up with the idea in the first place and whose antics before, during – and who knows, probably after, too! – made for some pretty amusing television. Just watch:

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By the way, I’m so relieved to see “Fabulous!!!” works in any country. Now if only they could learn to say it in Italian…

Favoloso!

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Johnny Weir isn’t just good, he’s all over the place

Since I first started watching Johnny Weir’s reality show “Be Good Johnny Weir” last week, I have seen the U.S. figure skater (and Jersey boy) all over the place. And that’s a good thing!

First, I caught up on an interview Johnny did for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” where he hilariously pointed out that figure skating and football aren’t all that different (except maybe figure skaters keep their hands to themselves):

I think he really hit it off with correspondent Frank Deford (himself a Princeton University graduate), don’t you?

Then I found this outtake from “Be Good Johnny Weir,” in which Johnny does one of his hilarious impressions of his Ukrainian coach Galina Zmievskaya:

Then last night Johnny appeared (all too briefly) on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” in which he was thrown the ridiculous *Facebook* question “How does it feel to be so fierce?”

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Johnny was back on the tube this morning, visiting “Regis & Kelly.” Kelly Ripa, herself a Jersey girl, is evidently a huge fan.
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Johnny also is featured in a Vanity Fair spread on athletes of the 2010 Olympics. The caption accompanying Johnny’s photo includes his revelation that after competing in this month’s World Figure Skating Championships in Italy, he plans on a little sojourn to Mongolia, of all places.

One thing you can definitely say about Johnny: He's comfortable in his own skin./Photo by Vanity Fair

“I’m going to take a vacation to Mongolia because I want to ride a yak,” he told the mag. “…and then maybe (I will) continue skating, but if not, I want a career in fashion.”

Alas, not all of the Johnny-mania lately has been positive.  People reported that two insensitive and clueless Canadian sports broadcasters stuck their feet in their mouths when they made inappropriate remarks about Johnny during the Olympics.

“This may not be politically correct, but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?” Claude Mailhot of RDS, a French-language sports channel in Quebec, is quoted as saying.

Fellow broadcaster Alain Goldberg said he thought that Johnny’s mannerisms might hurt other male figure skaters.

“They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him,” he said. “It sets a bad example.”

The mocking didn’t stop there, though. The pair also joked that maybe Johnny should be required to take a gender test and that perhaps he should compete against women instead.

In his typical style, Johnny rose above the fray.

“It wasn’t these two men criticizing my skating, it was them criticizing me as a person, and that was something that really, frankly, pissed me off,” Johnny said. “Nobody knows me. … I think masculinity is what you believe it to be.”

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