I tolerated the first season. I cringed when the second began. And now I have to put my foot down. “Jersey Shore” — the MTV reality series that made The Situation and Snooki into household names — has officially overstayed its welcome, and it’s time for it to end.
For those who don’t know, the series chronicles the lives of eight housemates spending their summer together in Seaside Heights at the Jersey Shore. Oh yeah, and one other thing: The castmates are eight of the most self-absorbed, shallow and, for all intents and purposes, pathetic people you will ever see on or off television. A far cry indeed from its more restrained and tasteful counterparts, “Big Brother” and “The Real World.”
The first part of the second season replicated this premise with the only difference being the location, Miami. Now the cast has returned to the Shore — all of them, that is, except Angelina (the one cast member who seems to have had the bright idea to get the hell off the show). But Angelina’s been replaced by a Snooki lookalike, Deena. Unfortunately, this means that it’s back to the land of spray-on tans, hair gel, overexaggerated stereotypes and castmembers who are beyond caricatures of themselves. As Vinny himself so eloquently puts it, he needs to go back: “Like a monkey has to go to the jungle, I belong at the Jersey Shore.” Evidently, the reason for this show’s continued existence is biology. And here I thought it was just MTV cashing in on a profitable franchise.
Since it debuted in 2009, I’ve heard the gauntlet of defenses for the show. “It’s so addictive,” or, “It’s great for theme parties,” or, my personal favorite, “It’s just reality TV. Obviously it’s not ‘real.’ ” This may be true, but the fact remains that the quality is so poor, the people so absurdly awful and the portrayal of Italian-Americans so offensive that I can no longer sit idly by and pretend that it’s an acceptable guilty pleasure, because it’s not.
For starters, let’s look at midseason premiere, “Back to the Shore.” Pauly D, Snooki, Mike “The Situation,” Jenni “JWOWW,” Ronnie, Sammi “Sweetheart,” Vinny and Deena converge on the Shore house for the summer.
Immediately upon arrival, arguments break out concerning bedroom assignments and Deena’s presence. Overlooking all the cursing that makes the episode sound like a bunch of bleeps linked together by the occasional reference to sex, hot tubs or hatred for the other cast members, we can see that we’re literally watching the same show from two years ago — and the producers couldn’t even come up with a different location!
So what does this mean? Well, since MTV is unlikely to take the advice of a student TV critic — particularly since the midseason premiere garnered record ratings — there may well be more in store for the “Jersey Shore” crew. All I can do is wait for the demise of what is quite possibly the worst reality TV show of all time.