Recently, MTV stated it was going to make a push into shows with a more positive social message. This resulted in "The Buried Life", a series that stands out as one of the best the channel has offered, with moments that were genuinely moving. While the teens in that show wanted to achieve their goals ("Tell a Joke on Late Night TV"), they also helped others make their dreams (reunite with a family member) come true, as well.
There's "The Buried Life", then there's "Jersey Shore", a series that makes "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" look like "Masterpiece Theater". That's not to say that there's no entertainment value in watching the folks of "Jersey Shore", who appear to have graduated from Derek Zoolander's Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too. The only problem is that the entertainment value isn't slightly positive, and is often unintentional (in fact, the series offers some of the best unintentional laughs I've had in ages.) The folks of "Jersey Shore" include: Snooki, J-Wow, the Situation and a bunch of other people who apparently didn't realize that 15 minutes of fame takes coming up with a ridiculous name. The cast was named as one of the "Top 10 Most Fascinating People" in the 2010 list from Barbara Walters. Apparently, the "People Trying to Solve Cancer" were not fascinating enough, or maybe they were bumped off the top 10 list by Justin Bieber. It's good to know society's priorities are in order.
The series is a sloppy "Real World", showing a group of 20-somethings all coming together to live during the Summer in a house (love the wood paneling!) on the Jersey shore. The series follows the group as they drink, try to hook up with people, work out, drink, make sure that they are covered in two tons of spray tan, pick fights, talk about how they're like a family for two seconds before distrusting each other again (or get in a catfight), dance in Jersey clubs until the break of dawn. The series isn't great television (and I'd recommend not thinking too much about what the show says about the future of humanity), but what makes it priceless is the sheer inability for any of the participants to realize what they look like or how they act, as they remain delightfully self-absorbed and take being obnoxious to new and remarkable levels.
The fourth season of the series starts off seeing the girls getting together to venture off to Italy, while the guys elsewhere prepare. There's a few little situations throughout the little portion of the episode devoted to the trip, but the first episode is really a missed opportunity that could have turned the guys-vs-girls trip to Italy into some sort of "Amazing Race"-style episode that would have forced the cast to make a stop or two along the way. Or, they could have taken all the wood paneling from the Jersey house they live in and built an ark to sail across the ocean and go from there.
Once everyone hits Italy, the season takes a great deal of the familiar and presents it with new (and quite beautiful) backgrounds. Still, a lot of it feels familiar: Ronnie and Sammi get back together yet again and have their issues - at least for a few episodes - yet again. The Situation finds himself in situations both of the romantic entanglement kind as well as of the fighting kind, as tension with roommate Ronnie leads to a serious blow-up halfway through the season.
As for Snooki, the season continues to see her provide the voice of unreason, causing trouble throughout Italy and trying once again to find romance. J-Woww, on the other hand, has somehow become something of the den mother, trying to lead both Snooki and Deena through rough patches. There's also a gig for the cast working at a restaurant, although not much comes of it. Still, I'll give credit to the restaurant owner, who doesn't have the same tolerance for BS from the cast as when the group was working in Jersey Shore. The season does end in a way that feels abrupt, as everyone suddenly packs things up and departs from the beauty of Italy.
"Jersey Shore" (it's "the Hills" crossed with "Maury") feels like a better comedy sketch than "Saturday Night Live" has come up with in ages, but the issue would be that it's actually real - which has made it funnier. Still, while the fourth season attempts to switch things up by moving things overseas, it's still a lot of the same formula, making one wonder how long the series can go on.
38 4-01 04/Aug/11 Going To Italia
39 4-02 11/Aug/11 Like More Than A Friend
40 4-03 18/Aug/11 Twinning
41 4-04 25/Aug/11 Crime and Punishment
42 4-05 28/Aug/11 And The Wall Won
43 4-06 08/Sep/11 Fist Pump, Pushups, Chapstick
44 4-07 15/Sep/11 Meatball Mashup
45 4-08 22/Sep/11 Where Is My Boyfriend?
47 4-09 29/Sep/11 Three Men and a Snooki
48 4-10 06/Oct/11 Damage is Done
49 4-11 13/Oct/11 Situation Problems
50 4-12 20/Oct/11 Ciao Italia
51 4-13 20/Oct/11 Reunion Special
VIDEO: "Jersey Shore" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is just fine, as while video quality varies due to various filming techniques and lighting, the picture generally looks at least crisp and clean.
SOUND: Clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: Reunion special, after shows, "Jersey Shore: Fashion", deleted/extended scenes and more.
Final Thoughts: The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video quality and a few nice extras. Recommended for fans.