Maybe I’ve been looking at this the wrong way all along. Maybe Jersey Shore isn’t an incredibly mean-spirited, violently misogynistic reality show seemingly intent on setting back feminism decades, if not centuries.
Maybe, just maybe, Jersey Shore is actually the product of fierce feminists intent on shaming women-haters by illustrating the incredibly ugly and hateful nature of sexism. Maybe they’re pushing the sexism so hard that even Neanderthal audiences will be forced to think, “Holy shit do these people despise women. Why? What must have gone wrong in their own lives that they feel the need to treat an entire gender with such contempt? Why do we, as a culture, pop and otherwise, condone such loathsome behavior?”
How else can you explain sequences where DJ Pauly D says stuff along the lines of, "That Angelina, she brings home ten guys a night. She can't do that. She's a girl so she's a slut. It's only cool to do that if you're a guy" if they didn't want to show the ugliness of sexual double standards in the most explicit manner imaginable.
I know Jersey Shore had re-ignited my fierce feminist convictions. The older I get the less use I have for ideological orthodoxy of any stripe, whether the ideology is feminism or Marxism, but watching Jersey Shore I found myself borderline apoplectic at its depiction of women.
Conflict is the essence of drama but if you removed Angelina from the equation last night, before, um, Angelina removed herself from the equation, albeit it with an awful lot of encouragement from her enemies within the house (which is to say everyone), last night was a lovefest.
Frankly, everyone other than Angelina seemed high as a kite the entire show, especially when DJ Pauly D and Vinnie started giggling uncontrollably about the imminent arrival of “tee-shirt time.” Yes, everyone seemed to find everything incredibly awesome. It’s like they were all on MDMA at a rave or smoking some really good weed. Weed so powerful it almost convinces you that DJ Pauly D is someone worth hanging out with.
If it weren’t for Angelina’s long-in-the-making freakout/departure the episode’s idea of compelling drama would have begun and ended with Mike “The Situation” bragging about how he has this hot chick that he’s totally going to bang and he’s so certain he’s going to bang her that he told her that she’d be sleeping over that night and guess what, they totally banged and it was awesome! Again, these are Entourage non-problems, not real ones.
It’s starting to bug me how scripted the show feels. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s entirely scripted but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a script editor elf around whispering in Snooki’s ear, “Hey, this show is getting kind of boring now that Sammi and Ronnie are back together and no longer fighting constantly. Why not spice things up a little by making a list of all the attributes you’d want in an ideal man. What’s an attribute, you ask? It’s a quality, er, um, it’s something a dude would have, like being into steroids or something.”
It’s hard to tell whether Snooki is driving the development of the “Snooki” character or the show itself but everyone seems to have embraced self-parody just a little too lustily, like when Ronnie said that Angelina leaving would be “no hair off my back.” See, it’s funny because it’s both a Spoonerism and because it’s totally something that Ronnie guy would say.
Then again, what does the cast really have to be angry about? They’re all living the dream, partying for a living and developing their individual brands. So it’s left to Angelina to play the catalyst/shit-starter/troublemaker. It’s a role she plays to perfection though she doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t be the villain and still expect people to root for you. Jwoww and Snooki used to be bad girls you couldn’t help but like but Angelina is just shrill and unpleasant.
I can’t say I was too sorry to see her leave, or too despondent that we are reaching the end of the season. And if I don’t cover Jersey Shore next year, hey, no hair off my back.