Down the Shore| Everything’s All Right

     MTV is currently airing, big surprise here, another reality show substituting for actual music videos. The network has pretty much made itself irrelevant to anyone over the age of 15 more often than not, but this time it has hit one not only out of the park, but out of the stadium, the stadium parking lot, and even the stadium’s zip code. In fact, it’s hit one all the way to the Jersey Shore, Seaside Heights to be specific.
     MTV has finally returned to its true, first-season “Real World” roots and has put several strangers into a house that looks like a college crash pad, instead of a professionally designed multi-million dollar mansion masquerading as a place most twenty-somethings live in.
     Eight strangers, most of whom proudly proclaim the greatness of being either “guidos” or “guidettes,” live in a small house (albeit with a rooftop hot tub), tan obsessively, primp and preen like a group of seven-year old girls, and heroically keep the hair gel industry afloat. The women in the house aren’t much different.
     Oh, and true to reality show form, the entire cast has a drinking habit that would make a fleet of 18th Century British sailors shudder.
     Who doesn’t like a show where a character refers to himself repeatedly in the third person as “The Situation,” which is his nickname for his abs. Or where another character, Pauly D, is proud to proclaim that he’s so into tanning he has a tanning bed in his apartment? Normal people would consider this something to be highly embarrassed about.
     It goes without saying that there’s really no point to the show, other than to allow people to watch a group of strangers make horrible life decisions fueled by liquor, house music and Ed Hardy clothing.
     Ten years ago “The Jersey Shore” would have drawn near-universal condemnation as television of the lowest common denominator, by miles. Critics would have bemoaned a new low, mercilessly ridiculed the cast as 3-D examples of why education matters, and lambasted MTV for costing the nation a couple of collective IQ points.
     But today, in the midst of a cultural swoon that knows no end, “The Jersey Shore” falls somewhere between a History Channel special on international terrorism and any number of programming choices available across the cable channel span featuring desperate fame whores from all walks of life.
     I’m fine with it. That’s the situation today. The Situation would agree.

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