Jersey Shore: Uncensored Season Three:
They're back! Just when you thought it was safe to vacation in New Jersey, the cast of Jersey Shore is back in Seaside Heights to pump their fists from 11pm to 4am nightly. If you're wondering, this is exactly more of the same from the kids, meaning, despite what MTV is doing, that this show must have officially outstayed its welcome by now. Further adding insult to injury, I believe cast members clocked something like 50k an episode for this summer's hijinks. That's over half-a-million dollars for a summer's worth of getting drunk and yelling at each other. Nice work if you can get it, although viewers such as yours truly might be getting ready for something new. I ask you, who out there will give Pauly D's stalker her own show?
In other news, this four-disk collection is not really uncensored - par for the course for this misleadingly labeled series.
Everyone curses up a storm, don't get me wrong, but when that F-word transforms from a meaningless adjective or insult to a verb meaning intercourse, get ready for the beep. And don't expect to see Snooki's boobs or anything either. In fact, even flipping someone the bird is considered too obscene to pass through the censors uncensored. There you have it, kids, curse all you want, but if you want to have sex call it 'smushing' or 'snuggling' thanks!
At any rate, despite the word 'uncensored' being prominently displayed on the cover, there is a fairly hardcore Puritan ethic at work here, and talking about sex in even a slightly vulgar way or showing body parts is a no-no, so those of you who wish to see Snooki or JWoww's boobs, give it up. Also, if you want to see anything new from this series, you can give that up also. We're assuming readers are well familiar with this series. (If not, you can dig my looks at Season One and Two for more insight.) If not, your quick rundown is this: Jersey Shore is a reality show in the vein of The Real World only more refined. Eight stereotypes of juiced-up, tan-obsessed Italian American Jersey kids (average age = 25-years-old) are sequestered in a hideous rental home in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, for a summer of drinking. That's about it. They drink and drink and drink, going out to the same two clubs every night, and mostly annoying each other at every other opportunity.
For better or worse, the tent pole upon which this series sags has turned into the pathetic codependent relationship between Ronnie and Sammi, housemates who fell in love during the first season. They go out, they kiss, they drink, they get suspicious and yell at each other, and then they do the exact same thing over again for each and every episode, and of course Season Three is no different. I'd guess they scream. "it's over, I'm done with you" four times per episode at least. Ronnie and Sammi reach Lynchian heights of incomprehensible grotesquerie this season as they attempt to even vaguely understand the twisted threads of their lives. It's getting old, kids.
As is everything else ... unless. Anyway, evil Angelina, though missing some big bucks, wisely stays away for good, leaving room for Snooki's virtual twin Deena to ingratiate herself with the house, which she does in appropriate fashion; getting shit-faced on the first night and taking off her swim trunks in the hot tub with Situation. Pauly D sharpens his routine for his friends, for the camera, and for cementing his new spin-off reality show. Vinny remains sweet and a little naïve until he too gets drunk out of his mind, burning Snooki hardcore in front of everybody. Situation continues to sleaze his way through various pranks and instances of playing both sides against the middle - or is he really just a sincere friend? (No.) Oddly (or not) JWoww emerges as the most likeable, mature character on the show, meaning that her viability as an interesting part of the show is diminishing. Her bust, however, is not diminishing at all.
Knowing the Shore is far from reality, with each soul acting up for the camera, I get more and more suspicious of rigging with each consecutive season. When the boys end up drinking and dancing at the Aztec, only to discover an almost empty club populated mostly by aging tourists, the only question is whether producers simply deviously encouraged them to go on a dead night, or actually made sure to fill the room with 300lb grandmothers. However, only the truly unscripted dates everyone brings home can provide great lines like, "Man, it stinks in this house. It smells like band-aids"! With such shining moments as icing, we sadly find we can't stop watching. Even The Situation likens Ronnie and Sammi's relationship to a five-car auto accident. And through it all, whether we like it or not, these fools feel more and more like family. Annoying-as-hell family, to be sure, but family entertaining and just sympathetic enough to have us eagerly awaiting Season Four on DVD.
Once again MTV gives us non-anamorphic 1.85:1 ratio letterboxed images reduced to fit a 4 X 3 screen, preserving the 'why-are-they-still-doing-this?' original aspect ratio of the TV broadcasts. Hip production design, editing, and use of night-vision or hidden surveillance cams, means a big mixed bag of visual quality is here, all of which is intentional. So from fuzzy confessional cams to faux-aged transition clips to fairly sharp and detailed interview segments, you get the whole variety, MTV Style, and it looks fine.
Dolby Digital English Stereo Audio is fine, featuring some different music this season, much more lyrically and pop oriented. Live boom mic room-sound recording and out-of-control dance parties with loud music make for some occasionally tough listening. But don't worry, subtitles crop up whenever they're needed.
The usual hearty platter of redundant/essential extras is supplied, including Julissa Bermudez's dispiriting 40-minute Reunion Special, wherein we can revisit goofy moments from the show and enjoy unvarnished, plodding versions of the characters these kids play on TV. Bermudez also supplies a small number of 20-minute After Hours Specials which replicate a talk show format, but the only guests are Jersey Shore cast members! A Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot plugs a silly gossip magazine, while 8 Confessionals give each member a chance to unload in the secret room. Hookups and Extended Scenes probably represent the scenes they had to think twice about before cutting, and not much else.
Four disks, 13 40-minute episodes - another five nights on the couch, wasted, trying to pound down this repetitive 3rd Season of Jersey Shore. These guidos and guidettes seem hardly to have changed at all, meaning the same thrills and weird enjoyment you got before are here in all their glory. If it weren't for the fact that you, the viewer, will be inexorably sucked into their activities and lives, you'd want these unwelcome family members to jump off a bridge by now. But hey, they're family, and they make you laugh. Rent It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com