Not that long ago, MTV stated it was going to make a push into shows with a more positive social message. This resulted in "The Buried Life", a series that stands out as one of the best the channel has ever offered, with moments that were genuinely moving. While the teens in that show wanted to achieve their goals ("Tell a Joke on Late Night TV"), they also helped others make their dreams (reunite with a family member) come true, as well.
There's "The Buried Life", then there's "Jersey Shore", a series that makes "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" look like "Masterpiece Theater". That's not to say that there's no entertainment value in watching the folks of "Jersey Shore", who appear to have graduated from Derek Zoolander's Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
The only problem is that the entertainment value isn't slightly positive, and is often unintentional (in fact, the series offers some of the best unintentional laughs I've had in ages.) The folks of "Jersey Shore" include: Snooki, J-Wow, the Situation and a bunch of other people who apparently didn't realize that 15 minutes of fame takes coming up with a ridiculous name (although newer cast member Deena Cortese comes up with a memorable tag line in the opening credits: screaming "You like tha boobs?")
The cast was named as one of the "Top 10 Most Fascinating People" in the 2010 list from Barbara Walters. Apparently, the "People Trying to Solve Cancer" were not fascinating enough, or maybe they were bumped off the top 10 list by Justin Bieber. It's good to know the priorities of society are in order.
The series is a sloppy "Real World", showing a group of 20-somethings all coming together to live during the Summer in a house (love the wood paneling!) on the Jersey shore. The series follows the group as they drink, try to hook up with people, work out, drink, make sure that they are covered in two tons of spray tan, pick fights, talk about how they're like a family for two seconds before distrusting each other again (or get in a catfight), dance in Jersey clubs until the break of dawn. The series isn't great television (and I'd recommend not thinking too much about what the show says about the future of humanity), but what makes it priceless is the sheer inability for any of the participants to realize what they look like or how they act, as they remain delightfully self-absorbed and take being obnoxious to new and remarkable levels.
The series had the perfect exit in season four - everyone headed to Italy and caused trouble in really, really beautiful scenery. It was largely a lot of the same in a new location, but it least there was some element of change. Given the special location, the series could have taken the chance to drop the booze-stained curtain on the series. No, instead we get a fifth season of the series that feels a bit like an afterthought and two spin-offs: "The Pauly D Project" and "Snooki and J-Wow" (as for the latter, if they are the modern day answer to "Laverne and Shirley", then heaven help us.)
The fifth season opens up with the group heading back to Jersey, seemingly overly thrilled to get back (um, were they took drunk to see their Italian surroundings in season 4?) and it's not long before the same drama starts up again. Situation's friend "The Unit" has knowledge about Snooki that could wreck her current relationship and the two quickly start squawking at each other. The first handful of episodes of the season see Vinny and The Situation leaving and returning, which doesn't really create much drama whatsoever, nor do the relationship issues, such as Snooki and her boyfriend's troubles.
The fifth season already saw the series start to sour with rehashed drama and boring arguments between the players. The sixth season, however, becomes just rather sad. The general sense of the series by this point is that everyone involved is just going through the motions. Drama that was often wrapped up by the end of the episode now seems like drama that has bloomed out of a situation where - in some instances - people have grown a little tired of each other.
The show's tone has changed over the seasons, as well - no one seems to be having much fun, and what arguments the group does get into seem more serious and more genuine. Watching "Jersey", it dawned on me why MTV's "Real World" has worked as well as it has for all these years because the people are only in the house together for a season. "Jersey Shore" starts to feel like what it may be like if the same "Real World"ers had to live in the house together for season-after-season. After six seasons, things have started to get "real" for the "Jersey Shore" cast (they were never polite.)
This time around, the gang returns - some things having changed (the Situation has returned from rehab, Snooki is facing motherhood) and some things staying the same (Ron and Sammi's continually - and irritatingly - volatile relationship; like many other aspects of the show, it has become repetitive to the point of sheer boredom.)
The Situation's stint in rehab is unfortunate, but it - and the general feeling that these people don't all get along anymore at this point - adds to a glum tone that certainly is a significant difference from the early seasons. Snooki's facing motherhood doesn't lead anywhere (I guess they saved the focus on that for the "Snooki and J-Woww" spin-off, which is now in its second season and starting to run out of steam already.) Overall, the "trademark hilarity" the cast offers (according to the back of the box) seems in much shorter supply this season.
"Jersey Shore" has provided some guilty laughs (there's a scene earlier in the show's run that stands out as my favorite, with the guys and girls in separate taxis - the guys are quietly staring out the window and cut to: the girls in the other car screaming at each other), but the fourth season in Italy would have really been the perfect place for the series to end. The fifth season was tedious, but the sixth season feels drab and pointless.
Oh well, at least I'll always have my favorite scene from the show's run (the highlight being 1min 35sec in):
As always, the shows are uncensored. Meh.
• Season 6
60 6-01 04/Oct/12 Once More Unto the Beach
61 6-02 04/Oct/12 No Shame, Good Integrity
62 6-03 11/Oct/12 Toxic Shots Syndrome
63 6-04 11/Oct/12 Blues, Balls & Brawls
64 6-05 18/Oct/12 Merp Walk
65 6-06 25/Oct/12 Let's Make It Official
66 6-07 01/Nov/12 Great Meatballs of Fire
67 6-08 08/Nov/12 Control the Crazy
68 6-09 15/Nov/12 Make It Unofficial
69 6-10 29/Nov/12 Shore Shower
70 6-11 06/Dec/12 Awkward
71 6-12 13/Dec/12 Raining Men and Meatballs
72 6-13 20/Dec/12 The Icing on the Cake
73 6-14 20/Dec/12 Reunion
VIDEO: "Jersey Shore" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is just fine, as while video quality varies due to various filming techniques and lighting, the picture generally looks at least crisp and clean.
SOUND:Clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: The usual: "After Hours" specials, "Boobs, Breakdowns and Bronzer" special, "Gym, Tan, Look Back" special, reunion special and deleted scenes.
Final Thoughts: For a while, "Jersey Shore" worked to some degree as a guilty pleasure, but the sixth season is a mistake - and it makes it all the more clear that the season in Italy should have been the show's last. Those who are still fans will find a DVD that offers a few extras and fine audio/video quality, but otherwise, I'd say skip it.