Judge Gordon Sullivan rented the beach house.
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 Four (published December 27th, 2011), and Jersey Shore: Season Five (published August 24th, 2012) are also available.
Back to Jersey. Back to Crazy.
After six seasons, who would have thought that we'd be bidding Jersey Shore goodbye—or, maybe, who would have thought this crazy group of guidos and guidettes could possibly have lasted this long without killing one another or going to jail for years. Not that the years on the Shore have failed to leave their mark on the group. Nope, the thirteen episodes of Jersey Shore: The Final Season document just how much change has come to the house and its inhabitants. Anyone who's followed the news (or not, since the announcement was almost unavoidable) knows Snooki was pregnant at the time filming began, and that's only one of the many dramas that signaled the end of the Jersey Shore. True to form, the gang goes out with a bang.
Another season, another thirteen episodes of the crazy antics of a bunch of Italian-Americans living on the Jersey Shore. The big deal this season is obviously Snooki's pregnancy, but a close second is The Situation's revelation that he couldn't take the hard-drinking/hard-partying lifestyle anymore and so was in rehab. Though there's other drama, these two events spelled the end for Jersey Shore.
You can tell a lot about a person by when they leave a good party. The boring people go home at their appointed time no matter how well the party is going; they've got to get to sleep and lead real lives. On the opposite side are those who wait until the bitter end, still drinking and singing long after its fun, courting hangovers like best friends. Somewhere in the middle is the ideal time; everyone is still having fun but nobody is getting hurt yet. Realizing where that moment lies in a particular party is a skill learned with age. All this is to say that Jersey Shore seemed like the kind of show that would hang on to the bitter end, documenting Snooki and the Situation in a rest home in Season 48, long after they had ceased to be interesting or even shocking.
I'm not saying we've heard the last from the beach house denizens, but Jersey Shore seems to have pulled up stakes at just the right moment for its real-life characters. With Snooki pregnant and the Situation struggling with addiction, the difficulties of mature adulthood are looming for at least some of the cast. The show's creators were placed at a crossroads, and they chose wisely. They could have gone straight for the nitty gritty dark reality drama, following the Situation to counseling and giving us creepily frequent medical updates from Snooki. Alternatively, they could have pretended nothing was happening and just kept partying. This final season walks the line between those options. Yes, there is still a lot of adolescent drama between the housemates, but there's also frank acknowledgement of the difficulties others are going through outside the house. The show's final moments, which see a "For Rent" sign being placed on the beach house, are filled with a kind of pathos that I'm surprised the show could reach.
The show also decided to go out on a high note with its presentation. I missed Season Five, where the show apparently started offering anamorphic enhancement, but that trend continues here. Thank goodness we've joined the twenty-first century, because now we can see the Seaside Heights antics in all their anamorphic glory without interlacing artefacts. Now the colors pop appropriately, detail is okay, and compression artefacts are kept to a minimum. The standard Dolby 2.0 stereo tracks do a fine job with the show's dialogue, and this uncensored version gives us their cursing in all its particulars.
Extras are the usual collection of bonus footage. We get both a "Reunion Special" and an "After Hours Special," both of which give the cast time to reflect on the past season and give us a preview of what they've been up to since. There are a couple of featurettes that cast a nostalgic look back at the show's craziest moments, and a collection of deleted scenes.
Jersey Shore is still Jersey Shore. The antics are still inane, the people still repugnant, and the banter still largely stupid. Even among aficionados, this season won't rate above the earlier moments before we knew this crowd so intimately. On the flip side, there's nothing special about this season to tempt haters to convert.
Jersey Shore: The Final Season provides a decent sense of closure for those who've been following the beach house for the last few years. It's still all about GTL, but the revelations about Snooki's pregnancy and Mike's addictions give this season a gravity that the others may have lacked. The anamorphic upgrade makes it easy to recommend this set to fans.
They're guilty, but they're done.
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