Love ‘em or hate ‘em - it’s a pretty safe bet that MTV’s “Jersey Shore” cast is culturally significant enough to remain in the entertainment news spotlight and blogosphere for years to come.
Just in case you’ve been cryogenically frozen for the past few years, “Jersey Shore” is a reality television show following eight 20-somethings as they work at a local T-shirt shop in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, in exchange for free rent at a grungy Real World style beach house equipped with cameras that film their every move.
When Jersey Shore began airing in 2009, the cast’s outrageously wild partying behaviors instantly made the cast members high-profile (while still remarkably low-brow) celebrities.
Perhaps one of the most polarizing of the cast is Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, whose drunken antics has caused millions of viewers to facepalm in disbelief (myself included).
So, when MTV announced two spin-off shows, it didn’t surprise me one bit that the pint-sized heavy drinker and chronic flasher was to be at the center of one of them.
The premise of the show is simple: Snooki and fellow Jersey Shore castmate Jenni “Jwoww” Farley move in together. Cameras roll and chaos ensues.
But what MTV execs weren’t planning was that the star of their show, made famous by taking too many shots, urinating in public and taking random men home to “smush” (and yes, that’s slang for, well, I think you get it), would get pregnant and engaged before filming could begin.
Various news entertainment outlets questioned if Snooki’s bun in the oven would affect the “creative direction” of the new show, but one can only assume that MTV wasn’t willing to abandon their cash cow just yet.
The series premiere was pretty basic - it followed the women as they went house hunting in Jersey City, the exotic new location for the show. Eventually the girls find the perfect pad and the audience is given a chance to see the show’s set for the first time: an old firehouse converted into an impressive two-bedroom apartment with lofted closets and plenty of community space in the living room - room for the rest of the cast to come and visit, perhaps?
But the real meat of the episode occurs in the last 5 minutes of the show. The episode ends with Snooki revealing to her best friend that she is pregnant and engaged to the baby’s father, boyfriend Jionni LaValle, much to Jwoww’s open-mouthed bewilderment.
(While the public has known about Snooki’s pregnancy for months now, I think the big reveal was still fun to watch. The media is blaming this complete lack of surprise on the pilot’s disappointing ratings, though.)
The first episode gives us hopeful glimpses of things to come this season, including humorous moments of Snooki attempting to drive her massive pink-and-black, Hello Kitty-themed Cadillac Escalade down the cramped streets of Jersey City, to tearful shots of Jwoww arguing with beau Roger Mathews. But more than anything I fear that this show may have already felt the kiss of death for reality TV: boredom. Without Snooki’s hard partying ways, can this show survive?
I had hoped that the spin-off featuring the Shore’s women would be more mature and less misogynistic (which is a totally different topic for a different day) than the original, I’m left wondering if what America really wants to watch is a pregnant woman and her roommate, even if those two women are heavily tanned to the point of resembling Oompa-Loompas.
Tune in for this week’s episode, Thursday at 10 p.m. on MTV.
Do you think Snooki and Jwoww are fun party girls or hot messes? Tell us in the comments.