In the opening theme of Jersey Shore, “Snooki” (real name Nicole Polizzi) asserts “I’m going to jersey shore bitch,” as edited into the song “Get Crazy” by LMFAO. The bitch, it seems, is me—the implication being that Jersey Shore is the place to be, and I, at home on my futon inexplicably enthralled watching this show, am somewhat pathetic. This is when I do the “fist pump,” careful not to spill the glass of Pinot held in my other hand.
The second season takes place in Miami, or as they prefer to say, “M-I-A,” spelling out the abbreviation as if it were an acronym, some fancy code to a place only they know. Perhaps MTV feared the viewers would be bored by another season at the Seaside Heights beach house in Jersey Shore; or, like the good imperialists they are, simply sought better, warmer, and more profitable shores elsewhere. The Jersey Shore is no longer a geographic location, but a mentality which can exist anywhere, an ethos of endless parties and cheap champagne, of manifestos written in sweat, smears, and stains. (Should our friends ever make it to Nice in France, let us hope they can be nice; and in Bangkok, well, I’ll let the pun rest.)
When I was a baby I was suckin on titties / Now that I’m older still suckin on titties, is the Freudian lyric in “Get Crazy,” a song whose imperative is (duh) to get crazy, an instruction taken to heart by Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, who comes home drunk every night and climbs into bed with his ex-girlfriend Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, who falls asleep every night heartbroken and confused.
Of titties, Jenny “JWoww” Farley’s come to mind, whose bomb-like implanted perkiness Vinny Guadagnino once described as overthrowing Einstein’s theory of gravity (while Sir Isaac Newton rolls in his grave). If there is any theory, it is that of relativity—of taste residing not just in the eye of the beholder, but on the drunken red tongue. Just four glasses into my Pinot, and my “fist pump” has slowed down in search for my lap.
“After I have sex with a guy I will rip their heads off,” says JWoww in the opening theme. Relationships, even short-term, are stigmatized under the notion that blood rushes to the genitals quicker than it does the heart. It is easy to write this off as trashy behavior, but it points to a deep wounded cynicism towards love, from sexual to emotional to spiritual. Tequila and Rum pickle the heart into emotional Ceviche; they numb the pounding sounds of this- or that-bar under which our friends hide from the existential quandaries which would no doubt debilitate them.
The casts’ surnames seem like parodies of Italian-American names, as if their real ones were changed to either protect the innocent or mock the guilty. In the season premiere, Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio and Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino arrive at the M-I-A house early, in order to pick the best room first. Upon entering the MTV-subsidized unit, the two say “Damn” and “Dang,” respectively, in tribute the awesomeness of the place. Sorrentino quickly finds the hot tub, and mentions how it will be used.
He evidently has had time between seasons to work on his abs, as “the situation” is looking pretty good. Paul D’s hair is slicker than ever, hardened with mousse and/or gel into a protective shell. Let us not forget Angelina “Jolie” Pivarnick, whose continuous exile from the other girls evokes the indignant rhetorical question “Um, Hello?”—as if she were invisible, just another transparent beautiful thing.