So season three of Jersey Shore comes to an end with more of a whimper than a bang. For all the drama that happened this season (can you believe Snooki getting arrested was just weeks ago?), it sure all happened early on. Well more than half the season was devoted to the on-again, off-again saga of Xenadrine king Ronnie and Sammi “my glasses!” Sweetheart, which, fair enough, was dramatic enough. It was also fairly annoying and depressing, though, which aren’t great compliments to a fun show about drinking, partying, and being insane stereotypes on summer vacation.
It wasn’t just me that thought that the whole Ron-Sam-Ron-Sam thing was awful, right? I was reading an article on EW.com earlier with one of the show’s co-creators, SallyAnn Salsano, and she implies that Sam thrives on drama and basically likes being mistreated. She also says, “"You guys see seven minutes of [fighting] a week; I’m seeing 14 hours,” which, honestly, is horrifying. God bless this woman and everyone else in the house that had to sit through that crap. Deena’s friend Tree was right to be appalled. It’s not right. It’s not acceptable. It’s not normal.
That’s probably the thing, though. In a world where abnormal is the norm (Mike pays for a mega-bucks cab ride for two girls to Times Square, Snooki gets arrested practically live on TMZ months before it airs on MTV, there’s a guy juggling clubs on a pedestal at Karma), is the whole Ron/Sam situation an extension of that insanity, or would they actually be living like this if they’d never met on a wacky reality show? I have to think the former. They identify with each other, clinging on like little spider monkeys to the semblance of outside life they have inside this weird television bubble. Everyone else has just given up on all normal, and they’re doing absolutely fine. Ron and Sam are trying to have relationships and lives, and, yeah, maybe they’re not capable of being good people regardless, but, yeah, I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem possible for these two, and to try to and force it just makes it seem all the more pathetic. But, of course, we all knew that about five episodes ago.
A while ago, Genevieve and I had talked about doing a live chat for the finale of this season, but eventually decided against it because we aren’t really sure if anyone is watching the show anymore. The ratings are still good, though they have gradually fallen over the course of this season, and it just seems like Jersey Shore isn’t in the cultural zeitgeist like it once was. Snooki’s not shocking anymore; she’s just there. Everyone’s grandma knows what “The Situation” is. And, honestly, that’s probably a good and a bad thing. Good because… well, our grandparents are getting hipper? But probably more bad because this just means that a year or two from now, some channel’s going to be rolling out the all-new, even more salacious and insane program to make society roll their eyes again at just how far we’ve fallen.
That’s fine with me, though. I think one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned covering about Jersey Shore this season is that, duh, a lot of people hate Jersey Shore. It’s become a fun exercise for me to try and play Snooki’s advocate for the grumbling masses. The arguments against it are always kind of thin, though. There’s the one about how there are better things for people to be doing, like reading books and watching Community. Well, I’m sure most of us Pauly-philes do both. There’s the whole “this show’s still on” bull. There’s the “this show is ruining America” argument, which seems boldest of all but doesn’t really stand up, even if, as stated above, it does have the potential to drive television into a shame hole. Jersey Shore might have accelerated that movement with its popularity, but if people weren’t watching the show, television execs wouldn’t think about making an even more sensational version. And, frankly, there are shows on primetime that are a lot crappier. I mean, The Bachelor, anyone?
Thus, I think it’s appropriate to end the season saying this: I’m proud to watch Jersey Shore. I make no apologies for Ron or Sam’s behavior, and I think the issue of gender, as a whole, is really messed up amongst all these kids, but, by golly, it’s a fun show. Even then, to some viewers, I’m sure it’s just as real as The Wire is to a Baltimore street dealer. It’s not to me, but then, that’s all right. I need a vacation, and if I have to take it through my television for 44 minutes a week, then so be it. See you next year, Seaside. I’ll be the one peeing behind the bar at Karma.
- Of course it’s okay for Ron to just sleep on the counter throughout his shift at work. He doesn’t have to make T-shirts. All that matters is that he’s there and people can look at him, like he’s a bear in the zoo.
- I love JWoww’s long-haired, awkward dad. Also, Uncle Nino!
- “Alright, Princess Diana.”
- There was a lot of controversy tonight about Deena’s cockblock, but I can’t blame her. She sees what those guys do, and she doesn’t want her friend to get involved. Of course, her friend can make her own decisions, but she could have told Deena to get bent, too, and she didn’t. Vinny overreacted.
- “No one touches my clams. I’ll cut your fingers off.”
- “Have sex with an old man and then steal a plant, get arrested, whatever.”
- I don’t know that I’d vote for Snooki for president, even on this stellar platform: “The economy would rise. Everyone would be tan. All radios would play house music.”