The folks over at Playbill have given Jersey Shore a Victorian makeover in a new video series. While hearing the show’s unsophisticated dialogue delivered in a refined accent is funny (I guess), it’s made it resoundingly clear that Jersey Shore’s time as a cultural phenomenon is rapidly approaching its end date. Not only is the show played out, but the parodies are also becoming belabored and trite. So when will the show actually die?
By now, we all know that MTV is planning to give Jersey Shore a long drawn-out death. In its third season, the show sustained a couple black eyes and a permanent limp with its redundant storylines, but now that it’s headed to Italy, it will hopefully be able to meet its demise. But with the Jersey Shore juggernaut, one can never be too sure. Even though last season carried a permanent air of “over it” by cast members and fans, it still inexplicably brought in killer ratings. Which begs the question: When will people finally start to look away from this tired trainwreck?
Hopefully they’ll start with season four. The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, has squashed any hopes of a ratings bonanza by enforcing a set of rules that the cast must follow while filming in Italy. The rules, which include banning the gang from being filmed in places that serve alcohol, prevent Jersey Shore from behaving like Jersey Shore, which is permanently drunk. Think about it. 90% of the show’s conflict (i.e. entertainment) is created by their wasted behavior. A sober Jersey Shore is a show that most people wouldn’t like to watch (more than once). Because when you take the booze out of the equation, you’re just left with a lot of hair gel and tedious conversations. Without the cast’s borderline alcoholism, we won’t get things like Snooki sleeping in the dryer (did that actually happen? I feel like it did), Sammi and Ronnie’s fighting (actually maybe sobriety will make them more bearable), hook ups, and endless drama at da club.
Obviously Jersey Shore‘s entire success does not rest upon the consumption of alcohol. In season one and even a little bit of season two, there was an undeniable chemistry between the cast members. Here was a group of people that existed in a ridiculous largely unknown subculture who all thought they were the cat’s meow. No one was more obsessed with someone like Snooki than Snooki herself. They didn’t need you to think they were the shit because no one believed it more than themselves. This unabashed enthusiasm and pride is what made the show so compelling. However, it’s impossible to capture lightning in a bottle twice. Once Jersey Shore became an overnight sensation, it immediately became a victim of its own success. It became a show within a show. In season three especially, signs of fatigue were littered all over every episode. And it also became obvious to viewers that they weren’t dealing with multi-faceted people. The constant slut-shaming and wasted antics were getting boring. We could watch all of those things in the first season when it’s more entertaining.
It’s hard to predict though when it will actually go away. Even though the mayor’s rules will put a crimp in the gang’s plans, the novelty of seeing these uncultured freaks in a foreign country may outweigh people’s growing disdain. I, for one, will watch the season premiere and then be like, “Ciao bella, bitches.” Because the thought of having to endure a sober(ish) Situation seem too much to bear.