This witty comment will have to wait. Judge Gordon Sullivan just ran out of hair gel.
Our reviews of Jersey Shore: Season One (published July 19th, 2010), Jersey Shore: Season Two (published January 9th, 2011), Jersey Shore: Season Three (published July 25th, 2011), Jersey Shore: Season Five (published August 24th, 2012), and Jersey Shore: The Final Season (published March 25th, 2013) are also available.
One of the funnier moments in The Sopranos occurred when business took our infamous gangsters to Italy. The look on Paulie's face when they sampled authentic Italian cuisine was priceless. I assume that clash of cultures (Italian-American vs. Italian) was a big inspiration for the fourth season of Jersey Shore. Taking the group of proud Italian-Americans to Miami proved fruitful, so why not give them a dose of the real thing? That's the basic premise, but even moving to a new country can't keep the Seaside Heights gang from their usual tricks. It's useless to complain about the show or its lack of an appropriate DVD presentation. Those who enjoy it are treated to more of the same, while those who dislike it will find nothing new.
Facts of the Case
Season Four takes the gang to Florence, Italy, where they'll have to work in a pizza shop. Ron and Sammi are circling each other, Snooki is like catnip to a number of guys, and Deena makes it with a pair of twin girls. It's just another season on Jersey Shore. All 12 episodes are presented here on three discs, with a fourth for special features:
The opening moments of this fourth season perfectly encapsulate what little appeal Jersey Shore still has. Snooki walks into what appears to be a camera store and announces "I'm going to Italy, so I need my picture taken." The man behind the counter asks her if she needs a passport, and they put Snooki in front of a camera. Because she's so short, she has to stand on an equipment case and, despite the fact that it's a passport photo, she's dressed in her usual loud attire, including a hat that almost certainly won't pass muster at the passport office. After a few snaps we cut to a typical talking-head interview where she says "You know, Italy's like, that big country. No, no. Europe is that big country. And then you have, like, Britain in there, and England, and Italy." Technically, she's correct…(Great) Britain and England, both part of Europe, are distinct entities (and woe unto you who confuses a Scotsman and an Englishman, even if they are both in Great Britain). But really, does Snooki know that? And that outfit she's wearing for passport photos, hat and all…does she really not know you can't wear a big floppy hat in a passport photo?
The initial appeal of Jersey Shore was watching a bunch of kids from a very insular subculture start to deal with something like national celebrity as they discovered themselves on camera. Then things got intense, as they went to Miami and saw how far they could take their antics. Now that the fourth season brings them to Florence, the cast might as well be in Oz. It's not so much that they've left reality behind, it's that they create their own bizarre reality wherever they go. In Season Two, Miami became just another colony of New Jersey, and Florence is much the same. As long as there are bars to drink at, eligible (or not so eligible) men and women to creep on, and a place to do GTL, the guidos and guidettes are happy. That means those who are hooked on the lives of this weird family of misfits will be pleased. Those who find their antics vacuous and pathetic will not be surprised.
The bonus features feel a little more substantial this time out. First up is a ubiquitous "reunion" episode that's really an extended set of interviews and clips from the show, there to set up more drama. Next is a decent little retrospective entitled "Jersey Shore: From the First Fist Pump" that takes 40 minutes or so to go over the history of the show and its characters. It's a bit strange, because the show has only been on the air for two years so we haven't had a whole lot of time to forget. However, it's a nice reminder for those who missed a season or want a compressed way to catch up. Then we get 18 deleted scenes that are all pretty short but reveal small character moments. There's also a short featurette on the show's fashion sense, as Pauly D and Deena take us on a tour of the fashion they acquired in Italy. Then we get eight extra "confessional" sections, and the disc rounds out with a goofy set of skits where some of the guys play up their "Italian" roots.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Ugh, MTV still hasn't deigned to give us Jersey Shore in anamorphic widescreen. I can forgive the Dolby 2.0 stereo tracks, because the dialogue is clear and that's what's important, but the lack of anamorphic enhancement is still a crime greater than anything perpetuated on the show. It was obviously shot in widescreen, and is presented here in a letterbox format that's just sad. Detail is lost, and the image is loaded with interlacing artifacts. The show could look so much better, if only they'd spring for a bit of TLC on the transfer.
It doesn't matter where you take them, the denizens of Jersey Shore can't behave themselves. They prove that once again, with a season-long jaunt to Italy full of hook-ups, break-ups, and dust-ups. It's more of the same. If that's your thing, this season won't disappoint. However, the lack of anamorphic transfers is still a weak spot, even for those not predisposed to hate the show.
How do you say "guilty" in Italian?
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Scales of Justice
• Reunion Episode
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