What's left to say about Jersey Shore that wasn't Tweeted last night as MTV's guido-sploitation reality show steamrolled west across our country's time zones like a manure-spreader, bringing us all together in mock-horror and self-satisfied contempt? Well, a couple things.
Have you ever met a self-described "guido" or "guidette"? I haven't, and I've lived within their purported stomping grounds for a decade. In fact, I bet that 99% of Americans have never met one, which is probably the bet MTV execs were making when they greenlighted this show, because the whole point of it seems to be to allow members of a tiny splintered-off sub-group, a small social network, really, to present themselves before the the largest possible audience that will feel comfortable looking down on them. Remember in Independence Day, when the aliens came and all of the nations and religions and creeds forgot their differences and came together to fight them? The same concept is at work here (though it can be argued that all of reality TV is like that on some level.) It's been said before: we watch reality TV so we can celebrate and take comfort in the fact that we're different, we're not like these people. MTV has simply raised the ante by choosing to present eight horrible people who define themselves by the same ethnicity. And yes, that is bad, but to get too worked up about it (as Italian Americans, as people from New Jersey, as reasonable human beings with the ability to reason and a sense of fairness), while understandable, is to play right into MTV's hands.
Because as repulsive and wrong as this show is, isn't calling it racist (or ethnicist) kind of...racist (or ethnicist)? Yes, it's annoying that the people on this show choose to define themselves and their behavior as that of a particular background, but if you accept that these people represent Italian Americans you have to accept that the women who clawed for Bret Michaels' attention on Rock of Love represented American women. It's an obvious lie. It's that wrong, and that laughable, and while I have no doubt a few people out there in America are stupid enough to think less of Italian Americans based on this show, I firmly believe that when those few people turn fourteen and meet their first actual Italian American, that spell will be broken.
That said, this show is horrible and everyone involved with it should be ashamed of themselves. The biggest shock of the entire premiere was the fact that the show actually has credits (though, suspiciously, not very many!) Here are nine horrifying clips from this painful TV show about, and let's call them what they are: eight individuals afflicted with the same crippling syndrome, rounded up by an attention-hungry cable network and presented for us to laugh at and pretend to be shocked by. Let's think of it as one long, entertaining anti-tanning PSA. Above, the shore house mates meet each other.
Snooki demonstrates that she likes being the center of attention, and "Ring Around the Rosie" is given a new meaning.
"I just don't want your pukey breath on me." I have a new appreciation for the kindness and maturity of my tormentors in 7th grade.
New girls arrive, and quickly get naked. Angelina freaks.
"This situation is is going to be indescribable. You can't even describe this situation." - The Situation
The shore house becomes a yelling house.
"I should have just pounded out what's her face on Friday." Never before has a man's term for the sexual act so aptly described his bad technique.
"Guys, I gotta let you know something that's disgusting." Vinny has PINKEYE!
"Go upstairs with your whores and have fun." = Funny
"I will cut your hair while you're sleeping." = Funny
"If a girl's a slut, she should be abused." = Unforgivably sickening. Like this show, really.