Amid all the controversy that itÂ gelled upÂ last summer, MTV has decided to bring back the nefariousÂ reality television show Jersey Shore for a second season. The big catchÂ in this year’s fish nets: it’sÂ being filmed in Miami. Yes,Â as ifÂ MTV’s judgment/casting call toÂ include a crew of 7 non-New Jersey residents for a show about living on the Jersey Shore wasn’t enough, now the dung heapÂ isn’t even being filmed in the Garden State.Â PerhapsÂ more thanÂ any show in reality TV (and, hence, all ofÂ TV)Â history, Jersey Shore is a guilty viewingÂ pleasure. But when asked to pinpoint a reason why we still watch, it can be difficult, perhaps for reason of cognitive underload.Â Â I.e., the show, like mostÂ parts ofÂ pop culture these days,Â makesÂ you dumb.Â
If Jersey Shore were a rapper, it’d be Lil Wayne: flashy as hell and generally clever to a point, but morally despicable to theÂ lollipop-sucking, drank-drinkingÂ core. Perhaps Vanilla Ice would be more apropos in “the Situation’s” case. It reminds one a lot of the Jerry Springer Show back in the day. Like Springer, the fights on Jersey Shore seem to be encouraged by the people atÂ MTV, unlikeÂ another pretty embarrassingly guiltyÂ pleasure, (especiallyÂ after everyÂ season since Puck or that crazy-haired, whiskey-loving,Â Bob Geldolf-look-a-like, Dominic, departed), the Real World, which used to kick cast members off the second any fistacuffs went down. And I’m pretty sure a cast member of Real World LA gotÂ sent homeÂ justÂ for yanking a girl’s towel off – that type of [stuff] happens at least once an episode on Jersey Shore.Â
Sure,Â while proponents of the show argue that the antics of “the Situation” or “DJ Pauly D” or “Snooki” or “Sammi Sweetheart”Â must be gauged through a lens of humor, with their indiscretionÂ chalked up to hedonistic,Â “Ron-Ron”-fueledÂ youth, you sort of get the feeling these kids are going to commit a seriousÂ felonyÂ one of theseÂ nights. And we’re notÂ talking about “beating up the beat.”Â Snooki, in fact, just got arrested for disorderly conduct while filming for theÂ (don’t tell me) ThirdÂ Season.Â She also got punched in the faceÂ by a drunkÂ dude last season.Â MTVÂ showed so many slow-motionÂ replays of theÂ incident that it became almost comical.
What is it about our culture thatÂ reinforces the urge/instinctual yearning to click this show on?Â Are we that much in love with witnessing theÂ obliteration of eight total strangers’ future job prospects?Â (That is, if they do not decide to work in a Seaside Heights boardwalkÂ t-shirt booth, or (more likely),Â do some punked out MTV Jersey Shore v. Road Rules challenge for the next twenty years).Â Vinny, who along with J-Woww is probably the show’s only likeable character, had previously discussed entering law school.Â What dean in his/her right mind wouldÂ accept him?Â
I for one wish IÂ had the willpower not to turn the showÂ on like most people turn on Nascar to watch for the wreck. As a somewhatÂ young adult, I now realize that this show will encourage a certain element of America’s population – an element who needs not the slightestÂ modicum ofÂ encouragement to begin with. This “element,” (who have been known to talk about their “new haircut” and call women “skanks”, while drinking “jagger bombs” and/or “MUSCLE MILK!”),Â will now see the show and think people actually enjoy having them around. And no I’m not talking aboutÂ New York/New JerseyÂ Italians – I’m talking about the type of kids who should make parents want to eat their young.Â These are our new pop culture icons.
Â In the case of MTV’s programming decisions, and in the case ofÂ what the youth of this nation (unlike their parents, unfortunately)Â are choosing to consume, crap is starting to imitate life.
**Perhaps the best Youtube video of all time: httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JMOh-cul6M