'Jersey' Takes a New Spin on a Stigmatized State

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The new legal drama Made in Jersey follows the journey of a New Jersey woman who becomes a lawyer at a high-class law firm in New York City. Unlike recent New-Jersey-based reality shows, the cast assures that the show won't stigmatize the state.
With an abundance of reality shows that portray New Jerseyans in a negative light that has formed stereotypes about the people of New Jersey, Made in Jersey's lead Janet Montgomery said that the show doesn't fit the mold of stereotypical New Jersey.
"There's a lot of reality TV about Jersey, and from actual natives of New Jersey it seems like people are sort of fed up with...the rest of the country laughing at them," said Montgomery, who had a recurring role on Entourage. "[The show] gives a much more... family sense to New Jersey."
Kris Polaha, who plays one of Montgomery's co-workers on the show, credits the show's creator, Dana Calvo, for taking a positive spin on the state of New Jersey.
"I think Dana Calvo's a genius to put a spin on it because I think now...if you're living in Ohio, you think that Jersey's a bunch of super tan guidos," he said, "but I think the reality is [that] there's a lot of really bright, educated people in New Jersey."
As former Desperate Housewives actor Kyle MacLachlan noted, the show is less about New Jersey and more about the relationship amongst the show's characters.
"I think the nice thing about our show is that we're actually presenting [it] like this is a real family," he said. "They just happen to be from New Jersey, but [it's a] fantastic, wonderful, colorful, warm, loving relationship that [Montgomery's character] has with her family...We're presenting more of a slice of life. These are not eccentric characters...They're real people."
In addition to the show's uniqueness in its portrayal of New Jersey, Montgomery asserted that the show deviates from the usual procedural show because of the dominance of having a female lead.
"It's different from most procedurals that are on network TV currently because it's got this great family element," the English actress said. "It's a very different type of lead. It's a female lead. It's not like 'The Good Wife' with rich people's problems. It's a very working-class [show]."
Made in Jersey will premiere on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBS.