The MTV Vault: A Pre-Emptive Eulogy for Six Seasons of “Jersey Shore”

In two days, we’ll witness the beginning of the end of one of television’s most recent, insanely polarized programs. Thursday is the setting for a two-hour premiere of the sixth (fourth? fifth? seventh?) and final season of Jersey Shore. Lost on us is the fact that the drunk, short, heavyset girl from the Season 1 premiere (“Party’s heeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhhrrrrrreeeeeee!”) is actually now a mother with a thriving business career, or that the guy with the ridiculous hairstyle is a successful “musician,” or that Vinny is dating the hottest woman on YouTube.

Somehow, some way, the stars of this show have made the jump to respectability and adulthood. And, still, the show itself remains a disgraceful enigma. A skid mark of proof of our incredibly low standards.

At it’s best, Jersey Shore has been delightful, enjoyable, hilarious, and jaw-dropping. At it’s worst, it’s also been those things. It’s the show you watch for 26 minutes and then immediately begin regretting in the final two. “Oh God, I can’t believe I just watched another half an hour of this junk…”

Like all former pop culture phenomena, Jersey Shore fell apart once the honeymoon ended and everyone realized they had married someone who looked terrible in the morning.

You know, the scraggly black hair, the falling-apart extensions that look like a tarantula’s fingers, the orange pasty fake tanner smeared on the pillow, the too-big-for-a-ruler derriere, and the crabs you didn’t have the day before?

That was this show in its glory.

The characters threw down words like “Juice Monkey” and “Gorillas” as if they were bonuses, and we all laughed out of disbelief. “Wait, they want Juice Monkeys?!

Yeah, while the rest of the world is ruled by common sense and the understanding of the unilateral truth that steroids are idiotic and bad for your body, mind, and soul, the folks of Jersey Shore were looking at those syringes and little pills like they were cookies before dinner.

And then, by Season Two, when they had an offseason and some time to soak in their new celebrity, the show was aware of itself. Everyone in that Shore house in Miami acted out, knowing that they were being watched. During Season One, you had to believe they didn’t know it was going to turn out or how they would be received. After some time to reflect, they were back for the encore.

Enrique Iglesias performed with them in a music video. The Situation said their new fame was “like the Beatles, man.” (He knows who they are?) Snooki has a book deal. Pauly D has toured with Britney Spears. And, now, they’re suppose to come back and act unknown again?

Can we really believe that any of those oversized elephants still live with their parents in one of the tiny houses from Goodfellas?

(*Can’t you just see Ronnie with a body in his trunk, telling his ‘Ma, “I need this knife. I’m gonna take this okay?” And then, she squeezes his cheeks and says, “You’re such a nice boy. When are you gonna settle down?“)

It’s come to the point where a final season is a relief. It’s unnecessary. It couldn’t come sooner.

But, hey, you’re still going to watch, aren’t you?