MTV could proclaim itself as the King of Reality Television. As MTV started to branch out and produce programming that was outside the realm of music television, one of its biggest hits that, consequentially would inspire future imitators, was The Real World. It was a documentary-based show focusing on special living arrangements with a group of strangers. Whether or not it was good, doesn’t really matter. The series would help programmers rethink television properties – scripted vs. unscripted. The Real World is entering its twenty-fourth season this year, yet is considered an afterthought with there being so many reality television shows nowadays. Included in that mix is “Snooki,” “The Situation” and the rest of the cast of the Jersey Shore.
Taking a chance and modifying the standard Real World formula just enough to make things interesting, they found 8 Italian-American (or at least wanna-be Italian-American) kids in their 20s. Putting them all in a house on the infamous (New) Jersey Shore, a.k.a. Party City USA, they turned the cameras on and let the alcohol-induced fights and hook-ups flow naturally.
The series follows the eight young adults as they move into a summer share in Seaside Heights, New Jersey to indulge in everything the shore has to offer. Jersey Shore uncovers sometimes surprising, often hilarious and usually over-the-top personalities as they juggle work, love, nightlife, friendship and the drama that ensues. All 8 of the roommates could be classified as your typical Italian-American stereotype, which they fully embrace as they regularly call themselves “guido” or “guidette.”
The guys include Ronnie, a dude from The Bronx intent on hooking up with a lot of girls; Vinny, a sweet-natured Mama’s Boy; DJ Pauly D, a hair gel-obsessed disc jockey who spends an inordinate amount of time in the tanning bed; and Mike “The Situation,” a guy who take great pride in his rock-hard abs. The girls include Angelina, the self-proclaimed “hot girl”; Nicole a.k.a. “Snooki,” a wild drama queen whose behavior threatens the group’s job security; Sammi Sweetheart, a fun-loving girl who sets out with the goal of “breaking a lot of hearts”; and J-woww, who describes herself as a praying mantis when it comes to men.
On paper, Jersey Shore looks like The Real World: New Jersey. That would basically be an accurate statement as all of elements are certainly in place for this series. Just like any season of The Real World, there are 7-8 strangers picked to live in a house, as they attempt to get along. They even have to work, while they are staying at this incredible mansion. Drama, fights, and partying then occur with everyone pretty much getting along with each other in the end. The BIG difference with Jersey Shore, though, is that everyone in the house is playing the same stereotype. You won’t have to go head-to-head with different races, views, or cultures, as everyone is pretty much the same. So the main goal of this series is just to party and be who you are without having to learn about people, who may be different than you.
Everyone on Jersey Shore plays a character, with some being more over-the-top than others. They all have nicknames, and they all like to play up the typical Italian-American stereotypes. That is the big reason why so many Italian-Americans were outraged by this show and wanted it taken off the air. It might sound absurd, but you never get the feeling that what these kids did on TV was something they would never do in their real lives. Basically, all MTV did was look for the most entertaining personalities to put on television. They certainly aren’t the smartest people around, but you can’t deny the fact that they are entertaining.
Jersey Shore might give Italian-Americans a bad name, by featuring people who love to play up those stereotypes to a ridiculous level. But MTV has never cared about offending the minority of the audience when they can still entertain the majority of the audience. Nine episodes for the first season is really the perfect length of time for a show like this. After a few episodes, you pretty much know what is going to happen. By the end of the season, you start to get annoyed by most of these characters, so the show goes out right when it should. Watching a second season of the antics of these kids doesn’t sound that appealing, especially if it was all filmed back in New Jersey. Knowing that most of the second season was filmed in Miami, might definitely draw in some curious viewers, though. There is no question that season one of Jersey Shore is an interesting and entertaining mindless reality TV watch.
Episode 1 – A New Family
Eight soon-to-be roommates come together for a summer of excitement at the Jersey Shore. The self-proclaimed “guidos” and “guidettes” explore their surroundings and learn some crazy things about their roommates.
Episode 2 – The Tanned Triangle
The roommates continue to party, which gets some of them into trouble. Romance blooms and confrontation arises among the Jersey Shore house residents.
Episode 3 – Good Riddance
Ronnie gets jealous when he sees Sammi flirting with another man. Meanwhile, one roommate decides to leave the shore house for good.
Episode 4 – Fade to Black
After a night of clubbing, Pauly D and The Situation must juggle multiple groups of girls. The housemates get into a serious confrontation at a bar which erupts when a housemate gets punched.
Episode 5 – Just Another Day at the Shore
With the support from most of her housemates, Snooki recovers from the punch. Ronnie’s family comes for a visit and Sammi does her best to make a good first impression. J-WOWW gets tired of all the haters at the club and gets in a fight. Mike, Pauly and Vinny continue their schemes to hook-up with as many girls as possible, but Vinny may have crossed a line when he takes the boss’ girl home.
Episode 6 – Boardwalk Blowups
When Mike invites girls back to the house, the situation gets out of control, and Snooki gets into her second fight of the summer. Meanwhile, Ronnie gets into a brawl of his own, leaving his tumultuous relationship with Sammi on the rocks.
Episode 7 – What Happens in A.C.
The roommates head to Atlantic City where fun turn to fury when Mike manages to antagonize both Snooki and J-WOWW. One roommate reveals that she used to have an eating disorder.
Episode 8 – One Shot
The summer’s winding down but the drama doesn’t stop. Pauly’s got a stalker and a fight lands another roommate in jail.
Episode 9 – That’s How the Shore Goes
Ronnie is released from jail and the guys comfort Snooki after she has an encounter with her ex-boyfriend. The housemates reflect on their time at the Shore as summer draws to a close, but not before one final house hot tub hook up.
The video is given in widescreen color with a non-anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Transfer is good with minimal distortion. There is some noticeable grain, but nothing that distracts from the overall product. No major problems at all, but it’s pretty much the same as you saw on television.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. There are subtitles available in English as well. It’s pretty standard quality for a TV show like this. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear. The BIG problem with the audio is the fact that the theme song “Get Crazy” by LMFAO is nowhere to be found on this DVD set. It is replaced by standard “fist-pumpin’ club music.”
Audio Commentaries – There are full-length commentaries on 5 different episodes from this season. Snooki, Mike “The Situation,” and Pauly D all comment on these episodes. But none of them are really worth your time. First, they don’t provide much commentary, especially nothing too insightful. Second, it’s hard to hear the commentary anyways, since it mixes in with the regular audio fairly easy.
Reunion Special – This is the complete 40 minute special that reunites the cast a few months later after the show ended filming. No one wants to be nice and make long-lasting friendships here, so all the fighting is certainly entertaining.
Deleted Scenes – There are 32 minutes worth of scenes that didn’t make the final cut of this season. They are mostly more of the same, so you will probably enjoy these scenes if you enjoyed this show.
“Before The Shore” Featurette – This runs 21 minutes, and it’s hosted by Julissa Bermudez. This basically shows you the audition tapes for everyone on the show, and explains why they were picked to be on TV.
“Tips From The Situation & Snooki” Featurette – This runs 7 minutes, and it’s suppose to give viewers dating advice. But if you’re seriously looking for advice from these two, you’re probably beyond help. They do say a few insightful things, though.
“Jersey Shore Makeover With Michael Cera” Featurette – This runs 4 minutes and it has Michael Cera hanging out with the Shore cast in an awesome condo. He learns how to drink, “fist pump”, among other things.
Season one of Jersey Shore could certainly be a new reality television guilty pleasure for some people out there. There is nothing that unique about the show, but it made a name for itself by featuring colorful personalities. That helps make this series watchable for short periods of time. There are plenty of extras that could push hardcore fans over the edge and buy this set. Casual fans would be better off just catching a re-run marathon on MTV, though.
Paramount Home Entertainment and MTV present Jersey Shore: Season One. Created by Anthony Beltempo and SallyAnn Salsano. Starring Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Pauly Del Vecchio, Jenni “J-WOWW” Farley, Sammi ìSweetheartî Giancola, Vinny Guadagnino, Ronnie Magro, Angelina ìJolieî Pivarnick, and Brad Ferro. Running time: 478 minutes. Rated: Not Rated. Released on DVD: July 20, 2010.
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