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RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 487 minutes
• Episode Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Reunion Special
New Jersey takes retardation off of Texas Death Row and into the hearts of MTV viewers.
DJ Pauly D, Jenni Farley, Sammi ‘Sweetheart’ Giancola, Vinny Guadagnino, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Snooki as the attention whore.
Jersey just made every other part of the country feel better about themselves. Over the course of a few episodes, America came to learn about what it takes to be a Guido. They beat out the beat, they used product, they turned a Jacuzzi into STD soup and Snooki took a punch. It was the New Golden Age of Television. MTV had long abandoned showing short-form music videos, since they realized that the music companies wanted more cash. Taking a lot of non-union workers, they could placate the masses and recoup costs by exploiting state level tax incentives. Armed with a fistful of cash and a wide array of time slots, they decided to point the camera at their viewers. What they found were Teen Moms, young criminals and this motley bunch.
When the show debuted, I caught it by accident. I was flipping through the channels and there was this glowing orange hue busting out of the LCD. The bright light called itself Snooki and invited us to smoosh. From there, I had learned that eight young Italians were chosen to leave in a house and have their lives taped for our amusement. The formula seemed familiar, but I didn’t care. There was an Irish girl with Tara Reid tits, there was a girl from Staten Island and another girl who said words that didn’t ring of English tone. The four gorillas in their crew matched their female counterparts with intense hair and possible use of anabolic steroids.
Jersey Shore took some time to grow on me. I watched for four episodes and nearly tuned out. Then, the magic happened. I love how MTV could market half of the show around Snooki getting slugged, but pussied it out on the original broadcast. If you want to see the uncensored mouth bop, it’s on the DVD. For a brief moment in time, a single drunk from NYC got to do what America would desire in the upcoming year. A chance to bitch smack that glowing Italian stereotype. Unfortunately, it just led to more material for the show.
That’s where we enter the upswing of the show. Sure, that came crashing down once the meatheads realized that they were famous. It’s just in that last half of Season 1 that we began to saw the potential. Every ethnic group, every regional clan and every stereotype before realized that they had a new group to besmirch. There was eight new poster children for every fear that kept Fiorello LaGuardia awake at night. America loves dumb Italians and we were beginning a third wave of their television dominance. First came The Fonz, then Tony Micelli and now we have their seven bastard children and their pet Snooki.
I’ve sat on this for a few months, as talking about Jersey Shore during a media blitz is like pissing in the wind. No matter what you have to add to the dogpile, there’s always one other person that’s trying to beat you to the punch. Months after the one-two season punch, I’ve had a chance to set down and re-examine what was dropped into our collective laps. MTV, TLC, A&E and related networks have all but abandoned their original programming models and latched onto the reality television teat. But, they’ve gone after that dollar in a way that the major networks have yet to touch. These companies want your freak show dollar.
There is nothing about the Jersey Shore that is special. Yet, by going out of their way to select the eight most bizarre stars…MTV has created a moment in time. Season 2 has ruined this moment by letting the cast know that they’re famous and giving them way too much cash for sitting on their ass in a sunny location. The show is shot, framed and edited to follow these people through a never-ending parade of youthful excess and gain. There are no consequences, no one pays for shit and the gang is only asked to work at a t-shirt shop or a gelato parlor to provide some sense of structure.
At this rate, I’m just waiting for MTV to bypass the bullshit and just setup a couple of camera in a Halfway House. The house that Beavis and Butthead built is reaching a point where they can’t scrape the barrel’s bottom anymore. They have to go lower, as the huddled masses are starting to wise up and mug for the camera. There is no pleasure in watching people revel in luxury and try to molest barely legal teens. The last chunk of the first season was gold that MTV will never recoup with this crew. Honesty and ignorance go hand-in-hand with the young and it took so long to get the cast to open up.
In a perverse way, the audience could almost identify the crew as being human. A group of young people who had come to care about each other, while the rest of the world would pass them off as short bus folk. The gentle nature that the stars would show in-between session of fuckery helped to make the group into television stars and thus began a year of overexposure. But, that schtick is part of the business. Hollywood ruined their entertainment value, but MTV seems to have plans to produce a third offering for our viewing displeasure. That is if they can land people when they’re not promoting Vodka, dancing or fist pumping like champs.
Do I hate the show? Hell no, but I won’t acknowledge it as a creative force. Much like the McRib, Jersey Shore is an entity that doesn’t need your approval. When a show stops being a show, it becomes a cultural staple. You can’t argue the artistic merit of a Smiley Face button. You can’t slam the intellectual merits of a Rubik’s Cube. This kind of crap becomes the material for Trivial Pursuit games down the road. The viewer is invited to sit back and watch, as they pass the time waiting for far more stimulating material to appear before them. The Jersey Shore is a rock. It is an island.
comes with several commentary tracks that sound like the cast threw a few back and began to talk over each other. You get the Reunion Special that MTV aired shortly after the first season’s last episode. Plus, Snooki and The Situation give you some life coaching tips to help you learn how to live the GTL way. The Before the Shore featurette is fun, if you want to see how these meatheads lived before getting a taste of fame. My favorite material comes with the Youth in Revolt promo material where the Jersey Shore crew turned Michael Cera into a guido. My only problem with the release is that it’s not truly uncensored. Some language gets bleeped, a lot of potential nudity gets blurred and only the Snooki punch is left unaltered. Give us a better taste with Season 2, MTV.