MTV // 2010 // 487 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // July 19th, 2010
"Taking your underwear off while you're in the hot tub ain't classy."
I'm happy to review anything and everything sent my way at DVD Verdict, but every now and then an assignment drops in that makes me wonder whether the Powers That Be have naught but cruelty in their hearts for yours truly. After all, what decent human being would ask another fellow human to sit through Jersey Shore Uncensored: Season One? Alas, that is precisely what I was asked to do. I'm still attempting to recover from the experience.
Full disclosure: I'm not really a "reality show" person in general. I have a low tolerance level for stuff like American Idol and What Not to Wear, much less superficial trivialities like The Hills and such. While I recognize that proclaiming something to be the bottom of the barrel generally precedes the creation of a deeper barrel, surely Jersey Shore is about as close to the bottom as the reality television genre has gotten thus far? Even so, the show has managed to become the latest reality television phenomenon, while names like "Snooki" and "The Situation" are dangerously close to becoming household names.
If you're not familiar with the program, here's the deal: eight self-proclaimed "Guidos" (young Italian-American men) and "Guidettes" (young Italian-American woman) are going to the Jersey Shore to live together for the summer. The guys: Ronnie is a dude from The Bronx intent on hooking up with a lot of girls, Vinny is a sweet-natured "Mama's Boy," DJ Pauly D is a hair gel-obsessed disc jockey who spends an inordinate amount of time in the tanning bed, and The Situation is a guy who take great pride in his rock-hard abs. The girls: Angelina proclaims is the self-proclaimed "hot girl," Snooki is a wild drama queen whose behavior threatens the group's job security, Sammi Sweetheart is a fun-loving girl who sets out with the goal of "breaking a lot of hearts," and Jwoww is...well, she says, "I'm like a praying mantis; I have sex with a guy and then I tear their eyes out."
Nine episodes are offered in this collection:
* A New Family
* The Tanned Triangle
* Good Riddance
* Fade to Black
* Just Another Day in the Shore
* Boardwalk Blowups
* What Happens in AC
* One Shot
* That's How the Shore Goes
Jersey Shore came under a great deal of attack from various Italian-American groups during its first season due to its celebration of negative stereotypes and its frequent use of the terms "Guido" and "Guidette." While these are certainly valid complaints, only the most idiotic of viewers would come away from the show with the impression that all or most Italian-Americans behave like the characters in this show. What really deserves to come under attack is the show's celebration of moronic behavior. I realize that some people are able to get enjoyment from seeing dumb people behaving badly (Jerry Springer has remained on the air all these years for a reason), but I honestly just can't see the appeal in spending hours and hours watching these people.
The characters populating the world of Jersey Shore range from very dumb to mind-bogglingly dumb. Every time I see one of these shows, I yearn for someone to stop, examine their surrounding and spew forth some measure of thoughtful insight. Sadly, such moments are limited to Ricky Gervais' appearance on that reality show in the final installment of Extras. When characters attempt to get thoughtful or profound in Jersey Shore, their woeful lack of wisdom and knowledge makes them come across as even less intelligent than they seem on the surface. It's kind of depressing to watch these young people wander through the endless tragedy that is their lives, getting wasted and willfully throwing themselves from one unnecessary drama to the next.
Over the course of the season, the usual reality show elements pop up: people spend time making out with other people in hot tubs, relationships are formed and broken, people act out in order to get attention, people go into staged depression in order to get attention...for that matter, most of the behavior in the show seems staged; all the participants seem to be behaving as if they are quite conscious the camera is on them. We rarely see genuine "reality" on "reality shows" since introducing a camera into reality automatically alters that reality significantly. Not that I think anything great would be generated were we somehow able to look at the "real" versions of these people, mind you.
The transfer gets the job done without really impressing in any way; the show isn't exactly stunning on a visual level. Much of the footage is shaky and lacking in focus, but this is par for the course in reality television. Detail is okay, darker scenes can be a bit murky at times, flesh tones seem...um, it's kinda hard to tell under all the spray tans. Audio is fine as well, though the music is too loud in contrast to the dialogue at times. There's also some distortion here and there.
The supplemental package is reasonably generous, if no less involving than the show. Noisy audio commentaries with Snooki, The Situation and Pauly D can be found on five of the episodes, all of which are of the, "Look at us, we so crazy!" variety. You also get a "Reunion Special" (42 minutes), which is essentially a bonus episode to cap off the season. "Before the Shore" (21 minutes) offers footage of the cast from their pre-stardom days, while "Tips From Snooki and The Situation" (7 minutes) is a ridiculous bit in which the two popular cast members give advice on important subjects like hair and abs. The oddest inclusion is "Jersey Shore Makeover with Michael Cera" (4 minutes), in which the soft-spoken actor gets a makeover from the gang. Finally, there are over 30 minutes of deleted scenes.
Please make it stop.
Review content copyright © 2010 Clark Douglas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 487 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes
* Reunion Special