Jersey Shore Meets the iPhone

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The Jersey Shore, a popular reality show on MTV (Stock Quote: VIA), is undoubtedly the biggest guilty pleasure of this decade so far. The show’s characters “work” in a t-shirt shop, but spend most of their days partying, fighting and generally making drama. Irresistible! So it was probably only a matter of time before someone out there would be inspired to make an iPhone app based on it.

The Jersey Shore Party App went on sale yesterday in the iPhone (Stock Quote: AAPL) store and promises to provide “everything you need to become a Jersey Shore club-goer.”  It includes features like a pick-up line generator and a fist-pump challenge, where users pump along with a track from their own music collection, plus a program that gives you your own Jersey Shore nick name. The app currently sells for 99 cents.

The party app is not officially produced through the show, so you will not find any of MTV’s content here. However, it’s clear that both the show and the app are based on the same decadent (and thoroughly entertaining) party culture.

What is particularly stunning is that an independent developer was able to beat MTV to produce this no brainer concept for an app. Pretty much all that MTV has done to promote its show online is create a Facebook group and some holiday ecards (correction: one holiday ecard). Besides that, they do try to make some extra money by selling t-shirts, but that’s so 1.0.

That left room for three developers to come in and create an app that simulates the shore party scene while also highlighting some of the absurdity surrounding the show. “We’re not necessarily making fun of the show itself, but making fun of the fact that people get pissed at the show,” said Afrim Kacaj, who designed the app with two partners, Qam Hoxha and Shaban Gjokaj.

Despite its popularity (or perhaps because of it), there are plenty of people out there who hate the show for essentially smearing an entire New Jersey community by making the people there look sleazy. (Though, we’d like to  point out that if anything, this show makes Staten Island look bad since three of the characters are from there originally.)

“I don’t understand why some people get so worked up about the show. It’s just a bunch of kids having fun,” Kacaj said in an interview with MainStreet. “And we’re doing the same thing here on the iPhone.”

Kacaj used to go to the shore as a kid and admits he’s seen every episode of the show so far. His initial idea was to create an app built around a character on the show – a guy they call “The Situation.” This app would have presented users with a bunch of ridiculous hypothetical decisions. “Two pretty girls are next to the Jacuzzi but aren’t willing to get in, and there’s two ugly ones downstairs. What do you do,” Kacaj said as an example. But he scrapped that idea in favor of an app more rooted in the party culture of the Jersey Shore itself, rather than specifically tied to the show.

The result is an app that has a kind of storyline built into it. According to Kacaj, if you’re going to party on the Jersey Shore, the first thing you need to do is get a cool nick name. “You can’t go there to party with a name like mine,” he said jokingly. Hence the nick name generator. But before you hit the clubs, you need to practice your game a bit first. So the app includes 300 pick-up lines and a fist pump feature, which not only tests your stamina pumping along with full-length tracks, but it also counts the calories you burn, so you can work on getting into better shape. Finally, the app features a glow stick so that you stand out on the dance floor.

Already, there are plans to update the app with a fake tanning feature, since that too is a particular pastime at the shore (why take advantage of the sun, when you could lie in a tanning bed?). Obviously, you wouldn’t really get tan from the iPhone, but that’s the point. “You get a fake tan at a tanning salon and the same with the iPhone,” Kacaj said. “But one doesn’t burn you.”

For his part, Kacaj has designed other apps for the iPhone, including a game called iFight, which has been downloaded thousands of times, and a music app called Tingalin that is based on an Albanian instrument. The latter one was a point of pride for Kacaj since he is Albanian himself.  He said seeing an Albanian app in the appstore was like “seeing your country in the Olympics.”

By comparison, the Jersey Shore Party App is just meant to be fun. “Life doesn’t need to be serious all the time,” he said.

My only fear is that if the app catches on, and my friends download it, they might slowly transform into the kind of characters you see at the shore. I for one can’t handle that much drama.

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