MTV // 2012 // 462 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // August 24th, 2012
Guidos, Guidettes...and God Forbids!
Time to break the writer's fourth wall and offer up a little true confession, critic wise. I have NEVER seen an entire episode of Jersey Shore. Never wanted to see one. Never understood what the fascination might be. Granted, the notion of watching sexually adventurous arrested adolescents drink and debauch their way to a date with a McDonald's fry station may seem like ersatz-celebrity schadenfreude, but is that really the purpose of the show? In fact, does anyone in this post-Paris/Kardashian culture really care? As a reality expose, the first part of that label clearly fails. From what I have seen (having now had to suffer through an entire season of this stupidity), these people represent Italy and their Italian heritage about as accurately as a moustached widow wearing an all black Mussolini costume, working a grind organ with the aid of a panhandling monkey, with a side of Parm. The Loony Tunes had more decisive depictions of our friends from the Mediterranean. Still, MTV rakes in the cash for this crude, rude ensemble cesspool. It may have some slight entertainment value, but so does rectal surgery, or a snuff film.
You know the drill by now. A bunch of self proclaimed "Guidos" and "Guidettes" (apparently, less ethnically sensitive nicknames were not available at the time) get together, pool their penicillin, and head to the titled locale for as much unfiltered tanning and body image abuse as possible. They all have personality-appropriate pseudonyms, their real names carefully hidden to prevent future prosecution. There's JWoww and Sammi (correct spelling optional), Snooki and Deena. On the guy side of this slop is Vinnie, Ronnie, Pauly-D, and "The Situation" (otherwise known as Mike). All eight love to party -- not in a Charlie Sheen kind of "bi-winning" way but in a knock down, unconscious, buried in a pool of your own Chevas sick kind of way -- and their constant desire to share their STDs lead to many a night of bed-hopping, rough trade, and loose pick-ups. Oh, and they love to curse and fight.
Believe it or not, we are in Season Five of this foolishness, the gang having just returned from a trip to the homeland where they proved, once again, that Americans can be much much more than merely ugly. The new crises revolve around a hurricane threat, one cast member's desire to leave the noxious nest, and the possible patter of little feet. Here is a brief synopsis of every episode you will find here:
* "Hurricane Situation" -- Back from Italy, the gang confront jealousies from both outside and inside the house.
* "One Man Down" -- Vinny decides to leave the house.
* "Dropping Like Flies" -- It's The Situation's turn to stir things up when he storms out.
* "Free Vinny" -- After more confrontations and carnal conquests, the gang decides to get Vinny back.
* "Nothing But Nice" -- Vinny is back, The Situation settles down, and Snooki has issues.
* "The Follow Game" -- The Situation plots against a roommate, while JWoww's love life hits a rocky place.
* "Love at the Jersey Shore" -- A typical installment of romance, inebriation, and barroom brawling.
* "Sharp Objects" -- Deena and Snooki are shaken by a shark attack while the guys continue to upset the Appian apple cart.
* "The Truth Will Set You Free" -- Pauly and Vinny play a prank on JWoww while the actions of the other roommates lands one in the slammer.
* "One Meatball Stands Alone" -- A confession rocks the house.
* "We Are Family" -- It's a tearful goodbye, as the roommates reflect, wondering if or when they will return to...the Jersey Shore.
Oh Lord...why are you punishing me?! I would rather hang out with Honey Boo Boo and her inbred redneck cholesterol-infused clan than spend five more minutes with the jaundiced crew of Jersey Shore. From their incredibly fake skin coloration and desire to drink anything laced with meds and alcohol, they are the Italian American Civil Rights League's worst nightmare. They make the assassins and a-holes of any mob movie look like members of the Mormon religion by comparison. As people, they are reprehensible, as shallow as a kiddie pool from Walmart. As TV icons, they are inexcusable, teaching such valuable life lessons as how to piss oneself, the proper means of contracting Chlamydia, and how to use your cartoonish attributes as a means of covering up your single digit IQ. Every episode is a lesson in never having to take responsibility for your borderline psychotic behavior. Beat up a girl in a club? Who cares? Have sex with several strangers simultaneously? No problem. Get a real job or somehow find a way to contribute to the culture you are systematically destroying? Up yours, Gavone!
Nothing here warrants watching. Just dial up The Soup, The Dish, the scum from a soap dispenser, or any number of reality show comic commentaries and watch your screen as its systematically stained. Jersey Shore dispenses with one of the root concepts of broadcast amusement: it fails to offer us people we care about or want to know. This is like a circus sideshow on steroids, a chance for the "norms" to gawk in wide-eyed disbelief as supposed members of the human race reverse evolution by several servings of spaghetti. Who cares if the women are bustier than Uschi Digard and just as willing to show off same? They're also as vacant and irredeemable as Facebook stock. And the guys...they may be muscled and toned, but they're also the very definition of meatheads. Archie Bunker would run out of rifts before completing his critique of these bombastic Braciola-cakes. Let's face it. Jersey Shore is not doing anyone any favors. Not Italians. Not New Jersey-ites. Not even whores.
So, the question you're probably asking is, "When do all the jokes end and the real DVD criticism begin?" Well, now is as good a time as any. Season Five starts out with some slight promise. One hopes that returning to the country of their traditions (at least, for some of them) would change their perspective, and it does seem to have that effect on Vinny. His decision to leave, and the gang's goal of getting him back, is one of the Season's few narrative successes. Similarly, Snooki's on-again/off-again aardvarking with Jionni (who will eventually become her -- SPOILER ALERT -- fiance and -- SUPER SPOILER ALERT -- baby daddy) provides some soap operatics. But for the most part, the show wallows in junk juvenilia (think Jackass without the sense of irony) and the typical tantrums of those with too much alcohol and too many shared bodily fluids in their system. If Jersey Shore were a building, it would be condemned. Not even a crack house is this unsightly and infested.
At least MTV lards this train wreck with enough bonus material to make consumer consideration possible. There are "After Hours" specials (extra installments which feature specific house guests addressing the previous episode's plot points), a Reunion Special (always good for a tussle or two), deleted scenes (usually cut for content, continuity), confessionals (YIKES!), and cast interviews (and you thought they were incoherent on the show). As for the tech specs, let's just say it's no surprise the show looks cheap and optically challenged. When making something akin to a mobile surveillance video, there's going to be a loss in picture quality. Why the studio decided to release this title in a flaccid full frame transfer, however, is confusing. This is 2012, right? The era of HD TV? Anyway, the Dolby 2.0 Stereo is a bit better, if only because it allows us to hear all the dance floor drones in considerable clarity. By the way, "Uncensored" means language, not anything else.
So, what did I learn during my week long trek through the bile and butter faces of this particular slice of pop culture? Well, I learned that America will watch just about anything (cue Honey Boo Boo) to drown themselves in the horrific excesses of others, while simultaneously complaining/championing the same. We are a society of self-loathers, limiting our amusements to something akin to watching a monk self-immolate. We miss the meaning, while marveling at the spectacle of it all. Yes, Jersey Shore is everything you've heard, and a lot, lot worse. One would beg for death, if their soul wasn't already crushed.
Guilty. Get rid of it before it becomes self aware and tries to survive on
Review content copyright © 2012 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 462 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* After Hours Specials
* Reunion Special
* Cast Interviews
* Deleted Scenes