It’s hard to fall from the heights of fame, the prestige of everyone knowing your name. When the limelight dies down, your delusions of grandeur are revealed for exactly that, and the grand plans you made based on gimmicky popularity prove fleeting. Eventually, the fleeting limelight of style reveals a hollow substance; plenty of substance, just nothing anyone wants. Quickly you become a dated remnant of better days, your brush with unearned glory a bitter joke, fame for the sake of fame, made all the more bitter for the hopes it raised. And the fall from grace usually comes with at least a few desperate grabs at any niche that slows the descent. Sliding from the spotlight is rarely a dignified process.
No, we’re not talking about the Republican Party here. And we’re not talking about the cast of Jersey Shore. But we are talking about an establishment closely associated with them: Rivoli’s Italian & Seafood Restaurant of Tom’s River, New Jersey, your home for plate-loads of mediocre Italian food, served up lukewarm and eventually.
Indeed, Rivoli’s has been struggling lately. They briefly rode a wave of Jersey Shore fever, and the show’s star’s have even been known to make a (well publicized) appearance there. Which you can tell, from the “creepy” Jersey Shore cast mural in the lobby. But Snookie’s tide has long since turned orange in the light of celebrity’s false sun, and that which lies beneath has been exposed for the synthetic abomination it is. Here are a few quotes from Yelp reviews, gathered for the establishment over the last few months:
The atmosphere is extremely outdated/tacky, booths are not as comfy, the lighting is too dark, and to me it’s stuffy. I would suggest remodeling this place A.S.A.P from the inside out!
The food? At one time it was one of the best. Now? Mass produced dog chow. Lost your taste.. lost your respect..
I’m surprised this place is still open. Huge portions of horrendous food. Ill tempered owner and incompetent wait staff. Stay away despite the two for one coupon.
As other reviewers have said, there is nothing special about this place other than the portion size, and even then, it’s just large portions of terrible food.
Bearing in mind those were posted before Rivoli’s posted its own sign. It’s own desperate grab to regain some press and notoriety, by doing what all fame-wh*ring New Jerseyans do when they’ve got nothing substantive or appetizing to offer, and the ratings start steadily declining: capitalize on tragedy, and stir up controversy.
This is a pretty obvious reference to Eric Garner, who was recently publicly strangled to death by New York police. The sign reads “I can breathe, I obey the law.” Cop Block summed it up best:
“When a man says ‘I OBEY LAWS,’ all I see is ‘I OBEY.””
Of course, like all fame wh*res sliding down the slope of irrelevancy, Rivoli’s has made at least one desperate grab for a niche. The “law obeyers,” or “police officer supporters.” And that is a fairly sizeable niche nationwide, at least among those who favor Urban Extermination Squads. Can’t blame Rivoli’s for grabbing at the ledge. But unfortunately, “the Nation” doesn’t eat at Rivoli’s. The locals do. So, here’s what a local has to say on Rivoli’s “support” of law enforcement:
“Here’s the thing-this place does not support law enforcement. This restaurant openly championed the Jersey Shore cast which, on a regular basis caused all kinds of headaches not only for the locals in the Seaside Heights area, but…wait for it…the police as well.
Bar brawls, disorderly conduct and other anti social behavior was the norm for this bunch. They also gave the owner a ton of publicity. So it seems that he doesn’t so much support obeying the as he does giving a pass to people who make life miserable for residents and first responders by DISobeying the law.
If this guy really cared about the community, he would not have promoted and embraced a crew that cause far more harm and broke the law in a far more grievous ways than selling cigarettes. “
But still, the shill to law enforcement supporters seems to have worked. They now have a full 30 Five-Star reviews on Yelp!
Exactly 28 of them are from the last three days. And 17 of them were from out-of-state reviewers from as far away as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Nevada and California.
The last time Rivoli’s saw five-star reviews: 2008 and 2010. The last four-star review Rivoli’s got was in 2012.
But, hey, let’s focus on the positives here. By capitalizing on death and tragedy, supporting an authoritarian police state and ingloriously grabbing at the last niche available before sliding into obscurity, Rivoli’s has at least seen a pretty strong bump in the ratings. It’s been talentless fame-wh*ring to make those orange people on the “creepy” mural proud. No, we might not do the same. But falling from fame is is an undignified ordeal.
And you wouldn’t understand.