A new television show aired a few weeks ago, Jerseylicious. I cannot say I watched more than 10 or 15 minutes; and even those minutes I regret. But seeing so called Jersey girls snark at each other over big hair and fake nails while their boyfriends call for another meatball did kind of intrigue me. I know, there are other bigger shows that make Jersey look like a soap opera drowning in alfredo, but THIS show happens to be filmed about 12 minutes from my house. I drive by the place all the time (there’s a Dunkin Donuts close by…and yes, I know the location of every Dunkin Donuts within a 20 mile radius of my house, I think!
Anyway, those other shows were ok, because those were not in my neighborhood (and heck, the one more famous Jersey show on MTV recently is populated by New Yorkers, so do with that what you will). But this…come on! I’m a Jersey girl born and bred. I have never worn pleather and fish net stockings two sizes too small, or earrings bigger than my first car. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood with some of the kindest, most generous people you’d ever meet. I may enjoy some snarky commentary, but screaming fights in parking lots? Not so much!
People can do what they want…but to say that this portrayal of Jersey is all that is Jerseylicious is a little annoying to me.
About the same time this show aired, we discovered a new obsession at the Casa Camiolo: The Duke Farms Eagle Cam. On March 27 or so, a pair of bald eagles in Central Jersey—about 20 minutes from the salon featured in Jerseylicious-- welcomed 2 new babies…and the folks who run the Duke Estate managed to mount a webcam on a tree overlooking the nest.
Duke Farms Eagle Cam - Duke Farms
Now THIS is reality tv.
The nest is a massive construction of twigs and sticks and softer grass in the middle. Eagles are not the junior miss petites of the bird world, and the parents bring back entire animals for the babies to eat (which is wildly impressive, I have to admit: to see a bald eagle fly to the nest with a 12 inch fish, then pull tiny bits off and gently feed it to the babies…incredible!). We are mesmerized, even if the babies are getting increasingly weird looking. Bald eagles take a while to look cool, their awkward phase rivals mine (which was epic and some days is unclear if it’s over).
My youngest child eats breakfast with the eagles each morning…we put the laptop on the table, she eats her cereal while the eagles eat carrion. Ew, but cool.
There’s something about the parental instinct of these mighty birds that is awe inspiring. They are so gentle with the babies. We had monster rainstorms here again last week, and all day the momma eagle huddled on top of her babies, keeping them safe and dry even as she looked more and more miserable. The dad eagle takes a turn sitting sometimes too…and now, as the babies are getting so much bigger—in just 10 days!—the parents spend more time next to the young birds (instead of on top of them).
The whole thing is a microcosm of child raising, and it resonates with me—the nice parts, not just the moments where sitting on the kids seems reasonable.
And look, here’s a family that got the kids to eat sushi!
So we haven’t watched anymore Jerseylicious since the first episode, but every day we check in on the eagles about 27 times. This real life nature miracle, with birds so majestic, and so close to our home, kind of makes that other Jersey stuff ok. Let people think we are all bad stereotypes of Italians. Let the secret of the real New Jersey stay secret, and the birds can raise their family in peace while tv cameras capture the “reality” of a salon in Greenbrook.
Just like my own kids, no longer babies, those eagles will fly soon from the nest to find their own way. And I will drown my sorrows in sushi…and who knows, maybe I will find solace in pleather?
Time will tell. Now, back to check on my eagle neighbors while this show is still airing!