Jersey Shore: Entertaining…But Not Real.

I watched the season four trailer of Jersey Shore with an ear-to-ear smile on my face. Set in Italy, this season looks like it is going to be another crazy season of guidos and guidettes GLTing, partying, hooking up, and fighting. Oh, how I can hardly wait (sarcasm). Side Note: In the trailer did you see how skinny JWoww looked? How about Mike’s hair at the 1:36 mark? Do you think Pauly D and Deena are really going to hook up? Did Snooki actually do a flip? Crazy. What about Ronnie kicking the shit out of Mike so bad that they had to take him out on a stretcher? Oh man, I digress…
While I am not counting down the days until season four of “Jersey Shore”, I do confess that I am entertained by the show. Yes, I do watch it on a regular basis. My roommate and I made it a point to watch every Thursday night as that week’s new episode would premiere. The few times we missed the initial showing of the episode, we were quickly caught right back up because of MTV’s habit of replaying JS episodes about a thousand different times after they air. But to say I watch it because I think it is a good show is a big stretch. I watch JS for the easy mockability (quick, someone get a dictionary) of it. I also watch it because, well, almost anyone in the 18-24 age demographic can relate to it in some way and probably everyone can pinpoint characters in the show who remind them of their own friends or acquaintances. My compliments and endearment for the show end there. You will never see me dressing up like The Situation and going to a “Jersey Shore” party, I am not going to buy a grenade whistle, I won’t go out in public with any type of shirt on that references the show, I am not going to call that stupid hotline that is supposed to give you your JS “nickname”, and I don’t fist pump (well,  maybe on occasion).
The point of this post is not to make fun of the show, however. Actually, I want to just draw awareness to the misrepresentation MTV gives JS by calling it a “reality show.” Come on now. “Jersey Shore” is as fake as the tans of the entire cast.
Let’s just start right here with the obvious: The whole premise of the show is about as far away from reality as one can get. Besides the cast of JS, do you really know anyone who sleeps in until 12pm, “works” at an ice cream /souvenir shop in the afternoon, GTLs in the evening, gets smashed at nice clubs during the night, and brings home a gorgeous girl in the wee hours of the morning….seven times a week? I am guessing not. But I do recognize that many reality shows out there do the same thing in that they put their casts in dream locations with access to tons of booze and beautiful people. My goal is to differentiate JS as an even faker reality show as opposed to all the rest, so let’s move on.
Do you realize that each “Jersey Shore” cast member makes way more money than any other reality star on other TV? For season four, each cast member is set to make $100,000 per episode (http://www.gossipcop.com/jersey-shore-money-salary-snooki-situation/). Now multiply that by a thirteen episode season. I won’t even get started on how asinine that is. When you are making over a million dollars to party and act stupid to assure the network you are working for a top rated television show, you are going to take it to the extreme…and take it to the extreme they do.  MTV is not paying these people seven figures to act like normal, real people. MTV understands this agreement, the JS production team understands this agreement, the cast understands this agreement…the American  public does not.
I don’t understand how even if you knew absolutely nothing about the motivating factor money has in this whole thing how you could even for one second take the show seriously. “Jersey Shore” is probably just as scripted as many of the sitcoms on TV today. Did you see the episode last season when Snooki got arrested on the beach? You would have to be on crack to believe that was just some spontaneous event that got too out of control once she downed a few too many margaritas. I laughed not because of how stupid Snooki was acting but because of the poor job the production crew did in selling the moment as if it was legit. You got the camera focused on Snooki but you can see literally hundreds of people standing surrounding her, making a type of stage for her to act outrageous while J-Wow “tries” to calm her down. Snooki does face plant after face plant into the sand before the cops come and arrest her for public intoxication (must have been a slow day for the Jersey Shore Police Department). Don’t you think that any sensible person would realize that a whole beach had completely stopped to watch you act like a fool while a camera crew documents your every move? Isn’t there a moment in there where you sober up for a while? Look, Snooki is a stupid person whether she is on or off the show, but even the biggest blockhead in the world could have prevented herself from getting arrested.
Another main event last season that was unbelievably staged and unfortunately took up way too many episodes were the dramatic events between Ronnie and Sammi (boyfriend and girlfriend). One night, Ronnie destroyed every single piece of property Sammi owned. Absolutely no repercussions resulted. I mean it was kind of interesting watching Ronnie go ape shit as he smashed, crushed, and kicked everything in Sammi’s room but it wasn’t real. In the presence of three grown men (the cameramen), no one would ever make themselves look like that much of a roid-raging psycho. I thought the most ironic part of the whole thing was how after the episode ended MTV issued a public service announcement denouncing domestic violence. The very next episode Ronnie and Sammy were back together.
When an episode lacked a major staged event to carry it through, the production team inserted many minor staged events to fill up the sixty minutes. Numerous examples played out during the season: The Situation, a twenty-nine year old man, eats dinner by himself while talking out loud to imaginary friends on either side of him. Deena plays in a cardboard box like a little kid. People randomly show up on the show who happen to have text messages portraying a cast member as a cheater. Snooki slides down the stairs on a mattress. Situation sends Deena and Snooki on a taxi ride in the exact opposite way they thought they were going and don’t figure it out until they are almost to New York. Vinny’s crazy “stalker” happens to show up in every episode (shouldn’t the cast members by this time have enough security to keep the crazies away?). The examples go on and on…people’s gullibility goes on and on.
Again, I do not want to smash the show itself. Like I said, it is an entertaining show and it has introduced a lot into pop culture. I just want MTV to call it what it is and help the people in this country who might have a more difficult time distinguishing between reality and fantasy. Maybe put up a disclaimer at the start of the show saying the people portrayed in the program are entertainers who are purposely put into uncommon situations and are encouraged to do uncommon things. I think that might help a little. It will not happen though. MTV has a gold mine on their hands, why change anything about it?guess I can’t blame them.  Don’t Blink.