I’ve been writing my critique/roundup/recap series about MTV’s television show “Jersey Shore” for quite some time now.
If you’ve been following along, you’re aware that I’ve been complaining (as has everyone else that I know that watches the show) about how it’s been getting worse and worse.
The storylines suck (yes, there are WRITERS on “reality” shows. They’re responsible for deciding which footage gets aired, creatively crafting a character, by, for instance, showing every instance they can that make him or her look like a stone-cold IDIOT and deleting all the evidence that this person is actually very smart, but just does stupid things once in a while). The content sucks. What they choose to focus on sucks. What they choose NOT to focus on sucks.
I’ve also been trying to figure out WHY Jersey Shore has been so worthless recently.
I personally edit shows and segments for television, so I’m aware of how these shows are produced and aranged. It’s obvious to me how they could have made each episode a lot better, but elected not to.
This isn’t the editor’s fault. The editor does what the producer says. The producer does what the Executive Producer says.
Unfortunately for my previous critiques, this is as far as I followed the show up the food chain. I’ve been complaining about how the EP could possibly suck so badly that they let lame episodes like these air.
Having heard and read some recent opinions from viewers, I now believe that I “wasn’t seeing the forest, for the trees”, and that my being a fan of the show’s initial concept has blocked me from a) seeing what’s been happening, and b) applying what I know damned well about the television industry to the technical part of my criticism of the show.
I was INCREDIBLY HAPPY when I found out about the concept of “Jersey Shore”. The show was clearly based on an earlier MTV True Life documentary, “I Have A Summer Share”:
Can’t see the video? Click Here.
If you have a spare hour (plus the time it takes to rewind and laugh over and over), I suggest that you watch the entire thing:
MTV Full Episode Link => mtv.com/videos/true-life-i-have-a-summer-share/1628251/playlist.jhtml
I really enjoyed that documentary, but also realized that in telling the story of one particular person, MTV wasn’t going to really be able to show the grind of being in the trenches in the dating game.
This is why I was looking forward to Jersey Shore. They were going to take people that were on the cutthroat dating scene and follow them around with cameras while they put in work.
If you listen to the sound bites that they use for the opening of the show to this very day, you get the picture of what the show was about when it started:
Pauly D: Scratches a record that says “Get Crazy!”
Nicole: Screams “I’m going to Jersey Shore, Bitch!”
Mike: “Alright. We’ve got a situation.”
Sammi: “I’m the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet.”
Jenni: “After I have sex with a guy, I will rip their heads off.”
Vinny: Somebody chanting “Go Vinny! Go Vinny”
Deena: Yells “Do you like the boobs?”
Youtube Link => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbgpftoSV7A
This is obviously a show FOR GUYS.
The girls are calling themselves bitches right off the bat, asking dudes how they like their bodies and claiming that they have sex with multiple guys. Meanwhile, the quotes about the male housemates don’t say anything at all about their characters.
This is where I bought in and locked in. I was like “Thank YOU… A show for MEEEE!!! >:D”
Season 01 was exactly what it was supposed to be.
Mike: Team Leader, Show President. Attracted girls by showing his stomach. Decided who got which girls when they brought multiples back to the house.
Pauly: Second in command. Only one with actual talent (DJ’ing). Attracted girls with his super-gelled Guile from Street Fighter hairstyle. Eventually moved to #1 when Mike fell off due to fumbling his own chicks and being an HORRIFFIC wingman.
Ronnie: Should have been the top dog. Way more potential than Mike or Pauly. Sold out to Sammi instantaneously, and has been a rap game non-factor for the entire three seasons. The only time he’s effective is when he gets drunk and Sammi’s not there, and he goes berserk, making out with multiple chicks and doing whatever else he feels like doing at the time.
Vinny: Hired as the “regular guy” and the narrator. Nice guy. The voice of reason. Complete non-factor in getting girls. Received trickle-down (extra chicks) that Mike and Pauly blessed him with.
Jenni: Eye candy. Had a boyfriend when she walked in the door. Messed with Pauly on the first night they were all in the house together, IIRC. Boyfriend eventually came to visit and brought her flowers while all the guys were doing confessionals calling him a sucker.
Sammi: Eye candy. Messed with Mike first, then started dating Ronnie and never did anything of import ever in the entire series. Credit awarded for getting punched in her face a few times by Jenni, and causing Ronnie to get into two fights, one of which, he was arrested for.
Angelina: Supposedly had messed with Mike and Pauly before the show started filming. Pretended to be “not that type of girl” and ended up screwing Vinny in season 02 before getting kicked off the show for two seasons in a row. Dated some Herb and juiced him for dates and presents while she was making out with and giving it up to Vinny.
Nicole: Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty girl. :D Tried to make out with all four of the male housemates in the hot tub on day 01. Unsuccessfully threw sex at any guy she thought was attractive that would allow her to speak to him for the entire season.
A typical episode in season 01 included some fluff about them hanging out together or going to work in the t-shirt shop, since it’s owned by the guy that owns the house they film in (the two are connected), scenes of them getting ready to go to clubs, scenes of the guys hunting in clubs, bringing chicks back to the house and trying to have sex with them.
Perfect. A show FOR GUYS. Thank ye very kindly! >:D
Season 02 was ineffective because they filmed it in Miami. Nobody’s checkin’ for guys like this in Miami. Their best bet for pulling chicks is Seaside Heights or any area that emulates that type of Jersey nightclub social scene. You could have put any three random dudes in Miami and it would have been the exact same season.
I was looking forward to season 03 because the guys were returning to their proper hunting grounds, PLUS they were now equipped with a full year of being international television stars. There was NO. WAY. IN. HELL. that they weren’t going to rip through the grenades this season, and I couldn’t wait to watch the carnage! >:D
To my ultimate dismay and absolute horror, someone dismantled this series, and Jersey Shore, Season 03 went down like a Led Zeppelin.
Mike: The stomach-thing seems not to be working. He can’t pull girls… at all. Every time you see him leaving a club, he’s by himself. They threw him a bone by filming some chick that he screwed last year and showing him bringing her home, as if they were continuing a relationship.
This doesn’t make any sense at all…. I’m not famous. I can pull chicks just by walking into a party. I can go +4 or +5 on Facebook (exchange contact information) in less than an hour. It’s literally IMPOSSIBLE that an internationally-known television personality can walk into a club filled with girls, some of whom are his actual FANS, many of whom have seen him on television, and be so damned ineffective.
He either lost his mind or MTV’s deliberately not showing him hooking up…
Pauly: No dice… Ever since he dated that chick Rocio in Miami, Pauly fell off. Not only do you never see him bring a chick back to the house, but MTV never even shows him even TALKING to girls at the club….. Except for a 1-second clip they let slide of him walking away from a club one night, holding hands with some chick, while a second chick talked to her. In that situation, we never saw HOW he met that girl, and we never saw her ever again. The next scene Pauly’s in, he’s sitting on the couch in the house, socializing with the housemates, not saying he hooked up, and not even acting like he was ever even AROUND a girl that evening.
My speculation up to today (and I still say this is possible) was that he never stopped dating Rocio… However.. At this point, I believe that MTV’s deliberately not showing him hooking up.
Ronnie: What happened to GTL? (Gym, Tan, Laundry) .. What happened to showing the fellaz hanging out and doing what guys do? Oh no! Can’t have *THAT* in season 03! :/ All we get is Ronnie crying every. single. *******. episode. because he’s so emotional over his relationship to Sammi. In season 01, we got to see Ronnie knock some Herb out in one punch for being an asshat. In season 03, we got to see Ronnie get sucker-punched in his face by his girlfriend.
Are you starting to see the pattern here? o_O
Reality shows are crafted by the decisions that are made about what will be shown and what won’t be shown. I wasn’t looking far enough up the food chain to be able to understand who’s making those decisions, and for what reason…
Vinny: Far and away, the CLEAR LEADER OF THE PACK when it comes to pulling girls. The only guy left that MTV will allow to be seen rapping to girls, pulling girls, bringing them back to the house, and getting under the covers with them.
Vinny deserves all credit for using this year to his advantage and making an ABSOLUTE COME-UP in his skillz, style and confidence with women. Props to Vinny! :D .. Granted, Mike & Pauly are being muted/Herbed in the edit, but that takes nothing away from Vinny’s personal progress in The Game.
Jenni: After a full year of not being effective as far as dating (other than hooking up with Pauly in season 01, which they both admitted in one of the after-shows to season 03), she goes directly from being one guy’s girlfriend to being another guy’s girlfriend. *YAWN*. Strangely enough, contrary to her sound bite in the show intro, there hasn’t been any ripping of heads. Jenni has been absolutely docile. A model citizen. A doting girlfriend…..
Sammi: Although she’s never served ANY purpose WHATSOEVER on this show, other than Eye Candy, which Ronnie reminded her of by screaming in her face about how she’s a “useless, selfish bitch” who’s never even cooked for him… In Season 03, Sammi has become the poster child for denial, or, perhaps “You are what you THINK you are, not what you ACTUALLY are.”
It’s interesting to watch her mind shut down while she gathers her thoughts and reassures herself and then picks up the conversation as if she never heard what the person talking to her said, like how Ronnie had to tell her several times in several different ways that he was DONE with her as a girlfriend, and she never got the picture until he broke all of her possessions, including her prescription glasses that she probably needs to read or use her computer.
Deena: Replacement for Angelina. Trying too hard to be a character instead of just being herself. Kicks it to a guy in the club, brings him home, puts on her bikini, gets in the hot tub with him, *AND THEN* asks him if he has a girlfriend. Of course, he says “No”, even though Ronnie had already said on camera that he knows this guy’s girlfriend. Deena proceeds to hook up with him and finds out he has a girlfriend when Sammi sees her escorting the dude out of the house in the morning. Deena keeps dating this guy and eventually Mike “The Snitchuation” reveals to her that he overheard the barber telling Ronnie that the guy Deena hooked up with said that Deena had asked him if she could rim him.
That’s pretty much her entire storyline, other than getting drunk and falling down while walking, getting drunk and falling off stages while dancing, and getting drunk and falling out of hammocks onto her dome.
Nicole: Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty, Thirsty girl. :D This season, however, she has help from her friends, and has been getting dates with several guys, who, unfortunately, all know each other. The two interesting things about her this season are a) that every time she hooks up with a guy, she claims that she hasn’t had sex in 4 months, and b) that she’s walking around calling guys grenades as if she doesn’t realize that beggars can’t be choosers.
As you can tell from my description, the vibe of this show is all ******-up.
This is what I’ve been complaining about for weeks now. I believe I finally understand it, though, and I see the method to MTV’s apparent madness. I had been wondering how such horrible decisions were being made about how to put the shows together, but the fact that I’ve been a fan from day 01 has been clouding my perception.
Television is a business. It’s not entertainment.
This is why those sappy daytime shows are called soap operas. They were developed to get people like you to sit still and watch or listen to COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENTS about SOAP.
That’s what’s really going on. The money comes from advertising. The advertisers pay because a show can demonstrate that X number of people watch the show, a percentage of whom are in the advertiser’s target demographic of people who they would like to buy their products or services.
Stations buy shows from production companies because they believe that that series will pull in the demographic that the station will be able to sell to advertisers.
It’s the same principle as movie stars. You pay Tom Cruise $20 Million USD to be in your film, because you know that his fans will pay you $100 Million USD to come see him in theaters and buy the DVD and rent it from stores and watch it online, etc. Your other option is to NOT pay Tom to be in the movie and hope that your no-name actor attracts $80 Million USD in revenue.
So, I wasn’t looking at the BUSINESS of the show… What threw me off was that it was clear to me what the show was about when it began, but I didn’t consider what the numbers said at the end of season 01, and how that would prompt executives to make changes in the show.
If I’m cutting a commercial for an ad agency, I don’t get to tell them what I want to be in the commercial. There are Ad Execs and Art Directors and Producers and Executive Producers and representatives of the company that the commercial is for (the client) and a lot of people that have a lot of ideas about what’s going to go into that 30 seconds’ worth of television.
What comes out of that cloud of ideas is several test commercials. They probably won’t be done with video, but rather with pictures drawn by artists like a comic book storyboard. Those are given to me and I create moves between them, emulating a video presentation. This is called an animatic. If it’s done with pictures, it’s called a photomatic. Several test commercials are sent to Focus Groups.
Focus Groups are made up of average people. You show them the commercials and ask them questions afterwards. The goal is to gauge the average Joe/Josephine’s retention of facts that are important for the client to convey. If you’re selling medicine, and most of the takeaway from the test commercial was about the bed someone was sleeping in or how cute the kid was, that commercial is most likely not getting made.
The ones where people say “I would try that product if I had a cough (or whatever the medicine fixes)” have a chance to be made into a real commercial by hiring a production company, telling them what scenes to go film, having them shoot several takes of what they were asked for, and getting that footage back in the editing suite to be scrutinized and argued over AGAIN before the final version is approved and the commercial goes on television.
This is what I believe happened to Jersey Shore. :D
What I missed, because I wasn’t following the money and I wasn’t looking far enough up the food chain to figure out who’s really pulling the strings, is that right out from under my nose, MTV changed Jersey Shore from being a GUYS’ show to being a GIRLS’ show! :D
I had never experienced this before as a fan who was emotionally invested in the original format of a show. The *ONLY* thing I liked about Jersey Shore was that people were going to finally get to see things that I had been telling them about for years, and they just didn’t believe it.
People were finally going to get to see behind the scenes of what hunters do, what they say, and what they have to deal with in order to pull chicks.
That’s what we received in season 01, right according to the perfect plan. Making out with multiple chicks, deciding who’s going to hook up with which chick AFTER getting them all back to the crib, never repeating chicks, GTL, getting your gear and haircut proper, arguments, friends stealing girls from you, the pecking order, selling out, lying, gossip, reputations getting around… Season 01 had it ALL!!! >:D
However.. Like I said.. Television is a business. Nobody cares who’s enjoying the show. Everybody cares who’s watching the show, who’s buying products, who’s following on Facebook and Twitter, who’s commenting on the blog posts and videos, who’s creating their own fan pages for the characters, who’s purchasing the eBooks, who’s showing up to the live appearances, who’s in the crowd at concerts or parties, who’s in the line for autographs…
And you know who that is?
That’s right… Jersey Shore has been repurposed to appeal to females.
Don’t believe me? Look at the gigs the cast’s managers have lined up for them:
Ronnie’s doing weight-loss commercials:
You know who cares about that?… Females.
Pauly’s doing Justin Bieber commercials:
You know who cares about that?… Females.
Is Mike on some kind of athletic program or even a workout program? Nope. He’s on “Dancing With The Stars”.. Get the picture? o_O
The first thing you want to do as a manager of a guy whose fan base is girls is to make it look like he doesn’t have any girls. You have to hide their significant others as well as play down their “romantic” involvements so the girls that scream for them at public appearances can all dream and fantasize that one day, *SHE* be Mrs. Pauly D or Mrs. Snitchuation.
This is a tough turnaround to make with guys whose only goal in life is to meet girls and screw them.
The first thing MTV did was show Pauly & Vinny agreeing to erase their names from the hookup board in Miami after they met quality women (The chalkboard where they were leaving marks for themselves every time they bagged a new chick). I found this suspicious because we had NEEEEEEVER seen the hookup board until they decided to remove themselves from it.
The next thing they did was make Pauly really admire Rocio for being a quality female, spend as much time with her as he could, and talk in confessionals about how “she’s not the type of girl that you take home and smash the first night”.
The next thing they did was obliterate Pauly’s presence from the hookup game *ENTIRELY* in season 03 with zero explanation for his lack of production.
Mike was never that effective, anyway. He does the stomach-trick and if the chicks are interested in that, they might hook up with him and they might not. This season, he’s been a complete ZERO, trying to leech chicks off of Vinny, and unsuccessfully inviting Pauly’s ex-girlfriend to come home with him, meaning that basically, he was going to try to have sex with Pauly’s ex in the same house where Pauly currently lives. Poor choice, dude. Good luck with that.
Ronnie took himself out of the game right off the bat, hooking up with Sammi. He got back in the game when he was drunk in the clubs in Miami, but this season, he’s suddenly a model citizen. o_O Every single episode, we have to hear about how he’s never cheated on Sammi since Miami. Every time he’s crying, he’s saying “I didn’t DO anything! :( What did I DO? :(“. This is another female-centric… femi-centric?… femme-centric? storyline.. The boyfriend that’s SOOO in love with his girlfriend that he will cry over her…………… and destroy everything she owns if she dances with another guy in a club and rubs her ass on him.
Vinny is literally the only concession MTV has made to the fellaz that watch the show. Having said that, they STILL downplay his achievements. It’s like a split second of Vinny meeting a chick.. A split second of him talking to her.. A split second of him inviting her home.. A split second of them walking from the club.. A split second of them walking up the stairs.. A split second of them getting under the covers with the night-vision camera watching them.. A short scene where Mike tries to get sex from the same girl ………. AND THEN 10 MINUTES OF RONNIE CRYING! :/
The girls basically served no purpose AT ALL other than Eye Candy in season 01. The only reason they were necessary was because the format of the original documentary was guys AND girls who were friends, all sharing the same house together. Other than that, they could have been left out entirely, and Jersey Shore would have been at least four times as good.
I’m not saying that because they’re not dudes. I’m saying that because they were completely ineffective.
Jenni came to the show with a boyfriend and proceeded to front on any guy that tried to kick it to her. Who wants to watch that? \o/ Sammi came to the show single, and immediately shacked up with Ronnie (which is *HIS* fault too, so he gets blamed also), so they cancelled each other out. Angelina played that role like she’s not DTF when everybody already knew that she was. Nicole tossed sex at a bunch of dudes that didn’t want what she was offering.
It wasn’t like they cast four chicks that were down for theirs as far as dating. The guys (obviously, minus Ronnie) did exactly what they claimed they were going to do.. try to pull chicks. On top of that, none of the girls even know how to cook. The guys were always cooking. The chicks served no purpose whatsoever, except for the scenes where they were half-undressed while they were getting ready to go to the club.
In the reformatted and repurposed third season, the gals actually have roles to play:
Jenni: The girl that ‘has had some work done’ and does her best to look attractive. The serial monogamist. The chick that suffers through a bad breakup. The chick that knows how to have her friends’ backs and play her position when her man’s doing the right thing by her.
Sammi: The spoiled chick that’s gotten by to this very day because of her looks and currently believes her own hype. Bringing nothing else to the table, she still somehow considers herself better than girls that are less physically attractive than she is, regardless of how they carry themselves as human beings. The girl that will punch her boyfriend in the face for disobeying her orders. The girl whose boyfriend FREAKS OUT on her and destroys all her property because she rubbed her ass on another guy at a club.
Deena: The new kid on the block. The person that’s trying too hard to fit in and be an exciting character. The person who would get better results out of life by being herself. The female who always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to pulling guys, so she has to make a spectacle of herself to try to stand out in a crowd of better-looking females. The lowest person on the totem pole. The person that doesn’t feel like they fit in.
Nicole: The chick that gets a lot of attention, but people can’t figure out why. She’s actually on Deena-status, but believes she’s on Sammi-status. She overcomes her deficiencies by creating her own clothing styles and souping herself up with unsubstantiated confidence.
These are all roles and personality-types that Josephine-average can relate to. These are now critical to building the female fantasy version of Jersey Shore.
For instance.. They’ve been playing up a supposed unrequited romance between Nicole and Vinny. This is entirely and absolutely ridiculous, but MTV keeps incorporating this storyline into the show.
It’s ridiculous because every girl Vinny’s hooked up with (that MTV was willing to show us) has been better-looking than Nicole. :D Every. Single. One! :D Angelina’s better-looking, Ryder’s better-looking, the chick in Miami was like 8,000 times better-looking, Mike’s sister had a way better body… The only chick close to Nicole’s looks that Vinny hooked up with was Nicole.
If Vinny were planning to sell out like Ronnie, it sure as hell wouldn’t be for Nicole. However…. The fantasy of exclusive access to a guy is a staple in female American society. This is great, that every week, the girls can tune in to see if Nicole finally lands Vinny for a romantic relationship instead of crawling into bed with each other when they’re both drunk and neither one of them scored somebody else to hook up with that night.
So.. As far as I’m concerned, Jersey Shore is over for the fellaz. It’s now a chick-flick.
I’m still going to watch, to see how wack they can POSSIBLY make the episodes, and to see if I’m right about all this, but I’m no longer expecting storylines I’m interested in to make it up off the cutting room floor.
I’ve been saying for months that this should be the last season of Jersey Shore, but it turns out that they’re doing a season in Italy.
It didn’t make any sense to continue the series, according to the original format of guys bagging girls, because the Jersey Shore subculture isn’t derived from Italy. It’s derived from America. It makes PERFECT sense now that it’s a girl’s show, just like how they took “Sex and the City 2″ abroad so the women could share adventures together. In fact, even “Basketball Non-Wives” filmed two episodes in Madrid, Spain.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Jersey Shore, Season 04 syndicated to Bravo Television and worked into the rotation with the “Real Housewives” franchise.
There should be *NO* return to prominence for Pauly & Mike, as they’re both being groomed by their managers to make more female-oriented appearances. Vinny apparently doesn’t have any such endorsements, so they’re going to let him keep getting laid on camera until he goes the same route.
He could probably land a Trojan’s endorsement. \o/ (male-oriented)
Speaking of getting laid.. This chick-flick theory also explains why Ronnie & Sammi were allowed to take the room with three beds in it.
When Snitchuation unnecessarily asked Sammi where Ronnie keeps his condoms, she replied “I don’t know if he has any”. This indicates that either they aren’t using condoms, or they aren’t hooking up at all.
I don’t remember one single time this season that they showed Ronnie getting biz with Sammi. o_O ….. We know from all his crying that Ronnie wouldn’t screw her with Mike in the room, so he would have to take her to the guest room to hit it. I don’t remember ever seeing that.
MTV has removed just about ALL the hookup content from the show. The guys are all defunct, except for Vinny. Sammi’s off the grid. Jenni’s with her boyfriend.
Deena threw it at Mike several times, who declined all of her advances, even though he was willing to lay down with her AND Nicole together, his explanation being that he was willing to hook up with Deena as part of a threesome, strictly for the value of it being a threesome. \o/
Deena also gave it up to one guy, who apparently gossiped about her like a dog.
Other than that, she mostly drinks and falls down, and dudes don’t seem to be interested in tappin’ that.
Nicole has hooked up with at least three guys and is now walking around clubs, pointing out that the guys aren’t up to her standards?…..
Season 03 has clearly become a story about four girls trying to get laid and/or find love in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I wish them all good luck & prosperity in their relationships/hookups.
Hopefully, after filming season 04 in Italy, Pauly & Mike’s managers will spin them off into solo projects, Ronnie & Sam can go live together and have kids or whatever, Vinny can get his game on and eventually retire with a FOYINE chick he can take home and “make an honest woman”, Jenni and Roger will be happy together and Deena & Nicole find boyfriends before they catch something.
The next thing that needs to happen is for the producers to start all over with a fresh cast of non-stars, so we can get back to the ******* ACTION! >:D
Connect with Bill via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Email Subscription, RSS Feed