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The Garden State isn't the enchanted land of fist pumps and table flips, whatever impression you may have gotten from Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives. Besides being home to beautiful woods, lovely beaches, and many of America's pharmaceutical makers, New Jersey also holds a precious place in American pop culture. Check out some of the most Jersey-centric shows and movies.
2 of 14 Craig Blankenhorn/HBO
Tony Soprano didn't just live in New Jersey — he ran New Jersey. But the only thing more complicated than serving as the head of an organized crime family was dealing with his regular family. And his shrink.
3 of 14 Chris Haston/Fox
While Dr. House's employer, Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, is a fictional establishment, Princeton is brimming with brilliant people. And not too long a drive from the Jersey Shore.
4 of 14 Emily Shur/MTV
So they didn't go to Princeton. The tanorexic partyholics of Jersey Shore have still broadened our vocabulary with words and phrases like "grenade," "smush," and "GTL." We're going to nail the verbal on the SAT.
5 of 14 TNT
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
What do you get when you combine a floating anthropomorphic meatball, a milkshake, a box of fries and their retired neighbor in the suburbs of New Jersey? Cartoon Network's longest-running original series.
6 of 14 Matthias Clamer/Oxygen
Oxygen's Jersey-bandwagon jumper follows the Scali family as they work together at a dress boutique.
7 of 14 Camelot Pictures/The Kobal Collection
Scrubs star Zach Braff — who happens to be Jersey-born and raised — wrote, directed and starred in this achingly emo movie about a numb twentysomething actor who returns home to attend his mother's funeral.
8 of 14 Mitchell Haaseth/Bravo
Real Housewives of New Jersey
None of the other ladies in the Real Housewives franchise have gone as far as throwing a table or ripping out someone's hair extensions.
9 of 14 Miramax/The Kobal Collection
In this Kevin Smith flick, Ben Affleck plays single father Ollie, who is forced to raise his daughter in the suburbs after his wife (Jennifer Lopez) dies during childbirth and he loses his highfalutin' New York City job.
10 of 14 Dimension Films, Gramecy Pictures, View Askew Productions
Also Pretty Much Everything Else Kevin Smith Has Ever Done
It doesn't stop with Jersey Girl. It didn't even start with Jersey Girl. Kevin Smith's first three films — Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy — were known as the "New Jersey Trilogy." And Smith has stayed true to his home state throughout his career.
11 of 14 mystyle.com
The Style Network was quick to move in on the Jersey action, by creating a reality series that follows the lives of six women who work in a salon in Green Brook Township.
12 of 14 Troma/Kobal Collection
The Toxic Avenger
This 1984 cult classic featured a character who soon became known as New Jersey's first superhero. In the film, a nerdy janitor, who's constantly tormented by others, falls into a drum of toxic waste and transforms into a severely disfigured creature with superhuman strength. Toxie enjoyed three sequels, a stage musical and short-lived animated series — not bad for a low-budget freak of nature.
13 of 14 Sundance Channel
The Sundance Channel's outstanding documentary series followed Mayor Cory Booker and other leaders — elected and unelected alike — in their struggle to make the city of Newark a safer and more hopeful place to live. Mixing grit and hope, it provides a perfect antidote to the boozy antics of Jersey Shore.
14 of 14 Jay King/TLC
If you're ever in need of a creative sculptural cake — or just some seriously tasty Italian pastries — Buddy is your man. This cake artist has been supervising his family business for years. With his mother, four older sisters and brother-in-law on the team, you know there's going to be entertainment on this TLC reality show.