'Jersey Shore' in Japanese: 'Macaroni Rascals' As MTV's hit reality show comes to Japan, those in charge call on the powers of pasta to explain America's most famous tanning-bed victims
By W. David Marx, Tokyo Editor 15 March, 2010DJ Pauly D Delveccio, Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi and Vinny Guadagnino from MTV's "Jersey Shore" mug at Justin Dior Comb's 16th birthday party at M2 Ultra Lounge in January.
MTV's hit reality show "Jersey Shore" has become a certified hit in the United States by letting Americans admire (or delight in their disgust of) the bad taste bonanza of hair-gelled, fake-tanned youth who party on the Mid-Atlantic seashore. Great news, Japan: The show will start broadcasting on MTV Japan from March 21.
With the average Japanese cable TV viewer being totally ignorant of American geography, however, the name "Jersey Shore" needed an explanatory subtitle. So MTV Japan has decided on「MTV Jersey Shore〜マカロニ野郎のニュージャージー・ライフ〜」, translated by us as "MTV Jersey Shore -- the New Jersey life of macaroni rascals."
Macaroni rascals? What? Is this an erudite reference to the macaroni fashion movement of 18th century England? Our only guess is that the folks at MTV were looking for a way to translate the Italian-American epithet 'guido' and stumbled upon something more Japanese but equally un-PC. Since this is a family website, we translated 'yaro' (野郎) as 'rascals' but the pejorative word can take on much more R-rated nuances.
According to Twitter user Daniel Feit, for all the strangeness of MTV Japan's translation, the term "macaroni rascals" does apppear in the Japanese subtitles of the 1972 film "The Godfather." Someone in Programming apparently did their homework.
While MTV Japan may not quite understand that it's probably best not to identify an ethnic group by its stereotypically favorite culinary dishes, with the usage of 'yaro,' they clearly do get that these "Jersey Shore" guys are less than ideal members of American society.
Japanese audiences may not become huge fans of characters such as The Situation and Snooki, but they may at last be able to realize how much more appealing their own over-tanned, over-make-upped, overly gaudy yankii and gyaru are compared to the American alternative.
For more on Tokyo's fashion dual with Jersey Shore see: Is Shibuya Tokyo’s own 'Jersey Shore?'