Date Posted: April 6, 2011
Print Edition: April 1, 2011
As certain as the seasons themselves, the dawn of each summer brings with it a new brand of subculture to the shores of Seaside Heights. The annual gathering of guidos and guidettes at local clubs and t-shirt shops, once as sparsely talked about as the New Jersey community itself, has become a yearly event as the cast of MTV’s hit show Jersey Shore takes up residence in the “Shorehouse.”
With the third season of Jersey Shore coming to a conclusion, a proper analysis and recap of this season’s trials and tribulations is called for. Even more then that however, this column will attempt to answer the question of whether or not Jersey Shore can continue its current wave of success, and if the forthcoming fourth season can bring with it the right ingredients of change.
Filmed as a documentary/ reality show surrounding the lives of 8 (4 men and 4 women) self-pro-claimed Italian-Americans (“guidos” for the guys, “guidettes” for the girls), Jersey Shore allows view-ers an inside look at the day to day life of guidos, including such things as gym tan and laundry, avoiding grenades, and trying to decide who to smush and when to get it in. Jersey Shore most recently wrapped up its third season in Seaside Heights, after spending the first season in Seaside, with the second taking place in Miami.
The third season began on a tumultuous note, as old feuds and divisions had not quite settled since the second season’s end. While Ronnie’s actions and cheat-ing in Miami continued to haunt him, Jwoww and Snookie’s rivalry with Sammi turned physical, fast. With new member Deena replacing the pot-stirring Angelina, Mike, Vinny, and Paulie (MVP) turned in to MVPD, and a new season of grenade avoiding and girl bedding began.
The show has become the crown jewel of MTV’s rather un-impressive line-up, pulling in record high ratings of nearly 9 million viewers in the second season. The show’s success has garnered wage increases for each of the “Shorehouse” members, as well as the renewal of the Jersey Shore for a fourth season. While watching Jersey Shore is something akin to witnessing a car crash, where the viewer is unable to pull themselves away from the horror and destruction, Jersey Shore possesses something more than what is normally found in a one-hit wonder. How else can consecutive rating highs be explained for each season?
At its core Jersey Shore is a character study. More than that, it is an analysis of a generation of people as they navigate issues anbd occurences of relationships, work, and life in an increasingly complex society. And, while very few of us can relate to the gym-crazy, tanned, and blown out ways of the shore members, the heart of the show lies in the human experience of friendship and love that is familiar to all of us. While rumours of who will be part of the cast for the fourth season in Italy abound, one thing is for certain. To enjoy the continued success of the show, it must become less about Ronnie and Sammie and more about the other cast members.
The constant and bitter battling between the two has become as tiresome as “The Situation’s” abs, and if viewers have to endure one more episode centered around their fighting, many individuals will stop watching the show. The viewer’s demand more grenades, more MVP, an increasing amount of Snooki’s take on culture and life, and less drama between two of the show’s most irritating cast members. A change of location should add a much needed breath of fresh air to keep the show’s momentum going.