HOLLYWOOD—In December 2009, MTV premiered one of the most controversial shows of the year, “Jersey Shore,” depicting the lives of a group of 20-something Italian Americans spending their summer vacation in New Jersey. The show created outrage amongst viewers and critics across the nation, where many deemed the show offensive and unrepresentative of Italian Americans. All the hype and debate about the series only created more interest among viewers. I must admit, “ Jersey Shore” was my guiltiest pleasure for weeks. I tuned in to the show religiously each week and watched it over and over again whenever repeats occurred on TV.
Well, after a quick hiatus, television’s most memorable personalities returned on Thursday, July 29, for more adventures on the second season of “ JerseyShore.” This time the house guests make the move to Miami. We’ll see more of Ronnie, Sammi “Sweetheart,” Vinny, Jenni “J-Woww,” Pauly D, Nicole “Snooki,” Angelina and Mike “The Situation.” I’ll be upfront, both “The Situation” and “Snooki” are my favorites. They bring so much energy and life to the show that you gravitate to their characters. They became instant stars after the first season ended. Mike introduced the world to his abs (hence “The Situation”) and Snooki re-invigorated the puff hairstyle.
The acronym “GTL” (Gym, Tan and Laundry), a ritual practiced highly by the gentlemen of the “ Jersey Shore” has become a pop culture phenomenon. So what is it about these people that we love so much? That’s simple, we’re allowed to get a slice of their lives, and we indulge in what we see. This show is full of drama, and with any good reality show, that’s key. If a show is monotonous, viewers will not watch. We enjoyed seeing J-Woww deliver that beat down to an unsuspecting Mike. Not under any circumstance do I believe the series condones violence, because the episode where Snooki was punched by a drunken male was intense and heartbreaking. The housemates bonded during this unspeakable moment, and MTV made the decision to block out the initial punch to viewers, a very smart move on their part.
If that’s not enough, look at the chemistry between J-Wow and Pauly D, or the battle between Vinny and Mike, or the blossoming relationship betweenSammi and Ronnie. The show even saw a house guest (Angelina) get booted from the show within the first episodes. They partied each night, they worked, they argued, some went to jail and some became best friends (Snooki and J-Wow, The Situation and Pauly D). By the way, did I mention they made fist pumping cool?
This time the cast heads to the steamy shores of Miami for the second season. From the teaser trailer, we can expect more partying, more arguments and fights galore between the house guests. The surprise return of house guest Angelina sends shock waves through the house. I can only imagine the tension between Sammie and Ronnie, since they broke up after the first season. We’ll see much more hot tub action and possible ”˜grenades’ (bad looking chicks, as described by The Situation and Pauly D).
“ Jersey Shore” is a pop culture spectacle. While it may be seen as stereotypical of Italian Americans, the cast has addressed the issue on countless television appearances, indicating that the show in no way represents Italian Americans as a whole. This is who they are, and anyone who sees a television show and automatically makes the assumption that this is how all people of a particular race or group behaves, is idiotic. People have to remember that this is a reality show. People behave differently when a camera is in front of them, versus when they’re not being recorded. People may say they act this way all the time, and for some it may be an accurate claim, but for most it’s not.
While the second season takes place in Miami, the cast will reunite to theJersey Shore mid-way through the season, and some housemates may be replaced. What better way to shake-up the house then to introduce new house guests that may clash with the veterans? All I can say is that I’m looking forward to a great summer television show with a great cast who takes the journey to discover themselves. The second season of “ JerseyShore” airs on MTV Thursdays at 10 p.m.