Hello, #JerseyShore, I’ve Missed You

I’ve been plotting a Jersey Shore post for a long time, but I haven’t had cable since moving in to The House of the Rising Sun in mid-August, so without my data samples, research was halted.  When I got word about the fifth season kicking off, I could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch as the entire internet lights up with poor blog posts from lesser experts.  I’m not gonna waste my time and yours with a synopsis of the first episode of the new season; if you haven’t already seen the episode, you’re probably not qualified to read this post, anyway.  Just kidding, please read.

To write this post, I am going to to have to delve deeper into my love of MTV’s The Jersey Shore than might be socially acceptable.  So be it.  Typically, this would be the sentence where I feign embarrassment over admitting that I have seen every episode or that I know Jwoww‘s last name, but I am not going to do that because I am not even the least bit ashamed to admit that I enjoy watching Vinny sound the grenade whistle or am genuinely impressed by The Situation’s constant conniving.  I think the Jersey Shore is one of the most absurd and entertaining programs on television, and I am not ashamed to admit this publicly.

Take the Season 4 fight between Sitch and Ronnie:  When confronted by Ron about meddling in his relationship with Sammi, The Situation calmly tells Ron that he did no such thing (he did).  When Ron refuses to listen, out of nowhere, Sitch is screaming his head off and proceeds to concuss himself by running head-first into a concrete wall (we later find out he did this thinking it was mere sheetrock, and that putting his head through it would intimidate the much larger Ronnie.  Side note:  While pursuing various projects in NYC, I worked nights and weekends at Ceol Pub.  One of the good friends I made there, Kevin McCormack, tutored me on this very and another Irish fighting strategy – The Glasgow Kiss).  Ron and Sitch end up wrestling a bit before MTV’s two massive security guards rush in and pull them apart like rag dolls (this was especially awesome because viewers had not before seen the show’s situation desperation neutralization team) and, once apart, The Situation immediately begins proclaiming – in a weepy voice, no less – what a horrible mistake the whole thing was.  The show is great and if you think it’s below you, well, read on.

What I am about to say may be controversial, but I believe it to be absolutely true:  Television is television.  Whether you are watching The West Wing, Anderson Cooper’s hair, or Teen Mom XXIV, you sit down, you switch on your cable box, and you let your brain rest while some sort of drama unfolds before you.  It takes the same amount of mental effort to watch It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (good reviews of which I will never understand) or The Office as it does to watch MSNBC.  The idea that there are high brow comedy shows, like 30 Rock, which can offer sophisticated laughs to sophisticated people is:  A.  False and B.  A way for television watchers with guilty consciences to maintain feelings of superiority over their cohorts.  Let me put this plainly:  You are no better for watching the History Channel than I am for watching The Jersey Shore.  Just like I would never fault someone for reading Twilight while I read Noam Chomsky, I don’t think I should be faulted for preferring pure entertainment when I flip on the boob tube.  Bottom line is we’re all putting off the dishes in the sink.

Are the Jersey Shore housemates role models?  No.  Are they smart?  Well, not book smart, but – well, no, they’re not smart.  And yes, I would drown myself in a bath tub rather than watch my child grow up like Snooki.  But there are far far far worse people who are held in generally much higher esteem.  The cast members of the Jersey Shore have made money and gained notoriety by leading absurd, disgusting, unhealthy lives and consenting to have it aired for the world to see.  Sure it’s gross, but they’re only damaging themselves, which is more than I can say for asshole of the week (year?) Mitt Romney, who has been peddling his anti-immigrant, homophobic, and social darwinist politics to the tune of America the Beautiful, which was written in 1894 by a lesbian and pioneer of gay rights.  Didn’t see that one coming, Mitt, didjya?

As for the shore kids, I’m glad they’re back, but I think we might be losing the magic.  Ratings dipped at the end of Season 4 and the cast was all but forcibly stuffed into a plane that took them straight from Italy to Seaside Heights, do not pass gym, do not collect laundry (how great is it that MTV still has the cast members say things like, “who wants to leave Italy and head back to Jersey?” lest younger fans find out the whole thing isn’t spontaneous and start to doubt Santa Claus, as well.)  In episode 1 of Season 5, we see that now even Vinny might want out, so the future seems questionable.  But there is the counter-argument that, at this point, even Deena must realize that there is zero possibility of income outside of Jersey Shore persona-related projects, and that they might as well milk it for all it’s worth.  Which might be a lot still.  Remember that weak Season 4 finale rating I mentioned?   It was 6.6 million.

Cabs are still here.

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