By Angela Penny
Watching “Jersey Shore” is like eating deep fried Oreos without the calories.
“Jersey Shore” is the cheapest entertainment around — a guilty pleasure derived from watching people live in a completely separate world, one filled with debauchery and drama.
It’s like a deranged, steroid-and-alcohol-addled stepsister of the MTV’s first reality television show “The Real World”. But this time around MTV perfected the art of finding a one-dimensional cast that everyone can truly laugh at.
“Jersey Shore” is smashing more viewing records than “grenades” (“Jersey Shore” jargon for unattractive women).
The Jan. 20 episode was MTV’s most watched telecast ever, with 8.9 million total viewers. This topped the network’s previous record set by “Jersey Shore” on Jan 13. The Jan. 20 telecast was also the #1 telecast on Thursday among ages 12-34, beating “American Idol” by nearly 1 million viewers, according to CNBC.com.
It’s all relatively harmless so long as the cast on “Jersey Shore” doesn’t start influencing social policy or starts bailing out Wall Street. Though, despite its close proximity to the Jersey Shore, the cast might have a problem finding Wall Street on a map.
About the cast, well, normally short biographies enumerate academic degrees, professional accomplishments and aspirations.
Not so for the cast of the “Jersey Shore.”
From the official MTV website we learn that Snooki, whose height is increased 50 percent by a hair poof, “goes to the gym…in full makeup, hoping to make a splash with all the toned men.”
Pauly-D, a DJ from Rhode Island (only one of the cast members is actually from New Jersey), “keeps a tanning bed in his house. He orders gel by the case and does his hair twice a day.”
The show is now in it’s third season and just announced that the fourth season will take them to Italy.
“The cast is headed to the birthplace of the culture they love and live by,” Chris Linn, executive vice president of programming and head of production for MTV, wrote in a media release.
Though flaunting the moniker “Guido,” a slur that denotes over-muscled, greasy Italians, not all of the Jersey Shore cast is genuinely Italian. But they have adopted the term and reinvented it as a lifestyle that suits them, likely giving the real Italian community one more unwanted stereotype.
The National Italian American Foundation has long criticized the show for painting Italian Americans in a negative light. But somehow when the cast uses the name “guido” in reverential tones, it’s hard to hold it against them.
The cast is as unreal as their breasts, tans and hair sculptures.
They are unabashed about their promiscuity and unapologetic for their shallow perspective of romantic encounters.
Getting drunk and “getting it in” are their favorite pastimes and they’ve introduced a new lexicon for their rituals which help them achieve these goals.
“GTL” is an acronym for gym, tan, laundry. “T-shirt time” is the time of night where they change from their wife-beaters into their official t-shirt that they’re going wear to the club.
“The Situation” introduces himself by raising his shirt to show off his abs, which he calls a situation — because they are so cut — and thus bestowed himself with a nickname.
The cast is forced to have entry-level jobs during the season and their houses aren’t particularly impressive.
It’s like going from the glamour of “The Hills” to the reality equivalent of “Roseanne.” Working class all the way. The girls, affectionately known as “guidettes” chase “juice-heads” and “guidos.”
The kids on the “Jersey Shore” are getting paid to make fools of themselves. But it’s authentic.They’re not faking their toxic romantic relationships or blackouts on the pier where a slipper-wearing Snooki couldn’t find the beach which was two feet to her right.
In the end, they’re not really hurting anyone but themselves, but perhaps the show should have a warning like “Jackass” — don’t try this at home.