Jersey Shore is like opening a tiny present to find it is full of diamonds, but diamonds made of booze, puke, fights, diseases, and discarded thongs. You thought this gift couldn't get better, but it does. It really, really does.
Margaret Mead had the Samoans, Dian Fossey had gorillas, and the rest of us have the eight guidos on Jersey Shore for the most important anthropological study of its day. MTV has chosen four men and four women to live in a house in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, which we hear is called "Sleazeside Heights" in the local vernacular. What is assembled here is not only excellent entertainment, but a breakthrough in media and the science of reality television as a whole.
What we've grown accustomed to are two types of non-competitive reality shows, both pioneered by MTV. There is the Real World species and The Hills species. Jersey Shore is descended from the former type, but is so unique in its evolution that it is a new creature onto itself. For a Real Worldicus Americanus to be a viable animal, producers are looking to cast easy to recognize "types": annoying drunk girl, the slut, angry black man, the violent guy, the flamboyant gay, the sassy black lady, the country bumpkin, the religious zealot. Most of these shows feature a number of types that, when combined will be explosive. While the people go into the show thinking that they are individuals, they are quickly molded into their pre-written role thanks to editing, trickery, and a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome. The participants think of themselves as more than just a stereotype, but that is what they are to us.
The amazing thing about Jersey Shore is that it is comprised of only one very distinctive type—the guido—and it is a type in which all of the participants not only willingly identify, but glorify. They are not afraid of being seen as a stereotype because they want to be the big-haired, muscled out, tanned freak in a too-tight Armani Exchange top. While the rest of society may deride the guido, these specimens see nothing wrong with it, because they live in a universe where it is the norm. Based on the other inmates in the Sleazeside Heights zoo, there is nothing manufactured about these people. They do not possess the fame-seeking guile of the Speidis of the world, because their only aspiration is to be revered as the ultimate guido. Because of this, no coaxing into conformity with reality show norms is needed. All the cameras have to do is sit back and observe.
Their disconnect with the byways of mainstream society is especially observed in the environment in which they have been placed, a three-level shore house directly on the boardwalk. When some set designer from New York tricked it out for the show, he snarkily filled it with Italian flags, sparkly sofas, posters of Scarface, maps of New Jersey, tacky couches, and leopard print bedspreads. The residents find nothing kitschy or campy about this set at all. Instead of the intended irony, they only see "class" (see below).
We already met those on the other side of the glass, but lets learn a little bit more about their specific genus.
Angelina: She arrives at the house carrying all her belongings in trash bags, that makes us want to call her Trash Bags. However, she seems to take inexplicable joy in making sure the males of the house do not get to mate. Because of this, we want to call her Blue Balls. Trash Bags or Blue Balls, please help us decide. Maybe her aversion to the other males getting attention is because she has a boyfriend at home, so she is not getting any loving while she tries to stay faithful. She is complex, but lazy.
JWOWW: Is the human embodiment of Stripperella except she tries to cover it up by dying most of her hair brunette. The white pieces still show through, as do her enormous breast implants, which she displays in shirts that look like a glittery Ace bandage leisurely draped over two toddler's heads. She is a slut who takes pleasure in making men want her and then making their lives hell. She is very dangerous when provoked. Also, we like to call her ShamWOWW because everything about her is fake.
The Situation: A prevalence of referring to oneself in the third person is usually a symptom of low self-esteem masked by fake bravado, and The Situation (real name: Mike) is a perfect example. He thinks that all the ladies love him, but he needs them to love him. His name describes his defined abdominal muscles, which he describes as a "situation." The physical perfection he tries to achieve is meant to make up for lack of security he feels in himself. He appears to be a strong alpha, but he is really a sad, sad follower.
Snooki: If there was a Guido equivalent of a fag hag, it would be Snooki. She will do anything to please the men in her life, even though none of them desire her sexually. Also she resorts to extreme tactics when no one is paying attention to her. She clings to the outmoded standard of beauty that she claims to have created ("the poof") even though her peers shun it. She also can not operate simple machinery.
DJ Pauly D: Has about the ugliest collection of tribal markings outside of the before pictures in a tattoo removal ad. Yes, it says Cadillac down his side, most likely so that the women who lie next to him in bed will have something to read. He has no morals when it comes to mating and will do anything for the attention of the ladeez. Once he finally blinds them with the aberrant scribbles on his skin, he takes them home where he marks their vaginas internally with his pierced penis. They will always bear the mark of DJ Pauly D—a herpes blister and labial scar from the cuts made by his Prince Albert. He also likes to fight.
Ronnie: Though smart when it comes to dealing with women, his size, bravado, and penchant for making fruity drinks belies a more "sensitive" side. "The Situation" can see the situation clearly and thinks that his romantic rival is in love with him. We can not say that he is wrong. Like most people hiding secrets, Ronnie is full of anger. That might also be the steroids, but we're going with secrets.
Sammy: This self-described sweetheart is a Helen of Troy type. She needs to have men going to war for her in order to crown a clear victor. She likes to think of herself as the mothering type who will make a great cook and raise a big Italian brood, but she will never be able to settle down because the constant conflict does not work well with monogamy. However, she is still looking for the Darwinian ideal to bed her, and only the strongest survive. The weak can all die, for all she cares, preferably at her hand.
Vinny: Vinny has been ruined by his mother to thinking that he is better than he truly is. He feels that because he is young and educated he somehow has a leg up on his comrades. At the same time, he does not alter his conformity to their standards of appearance or behavior. He will eventually have a psychotic break where he will move to Vermont and try to reinvent himself as an organic, vegan farmer. He will fail and have to move back with his mother.
There are the creatures that we are forced to ponder. Of course, there are a few words that one must know to understand their sophisticated patois:
- Classy: This is a standard of beauty and behavior to which all aspire. While the taste and requirements are subjective, the directive is absolute: one must be classy.
- Trashy: The opposite of "classy" and includes behavior like taking off one's thong in a hot tub, bringing people home from a club, and cheating on one's boyfriend (but not one's girlfriend). While the guido may refer to behavior in another as "trashy" that same behavior in oneself is often deemed "classy."
- Vibing: Getting along with and flirting with a member of the opposite sex.
- Dogging On: Making out with or engaging in sexual tomfollery when in a public setting.
- Pounding Out: Engaging in sexual intercourse with someone-hopefully in a private setting, but not necessarily.
- Blow-out: The type of ornate plumage the male employs that requires a blow dryer and several tubes of hair gel to perfect.
- Sluts: To men a "slut" is both any woman who wants to have sex with him and any woman who doesn't want to have sex with him, which means all women are sluts. To the female it is all women other than herself. It can also be a term of sexual empowerment for a woman, unless applied to one who is not "classy," then it is the ultimate insult
Now that we have learned their jargon, it is time to witness them in their natural environment.
Work: The herd is not allowed to merely live in house, they must also work at the Shore Store, a Boardwalk T-Shirt emporium that sells wares like hot pink booty shorts, air brushed tank tops, and Ts with sexual slogans such as "I shaved my balls today."
Not everyone enjoys working, Trash Bags finds it tedious and tries to slack off at any opportunity. Vinny, who has the first disease of the season (sadly, pink eye) asks her to fill in for him, and she can only agree to work one hour. She is lazy.
The Situation enjoys a work situation, because it gives him a chance to show off. Vinny is an eager worker, but only because he needs to please a boss, who he sees as a substitute father figure. Because his mother plays such a prominent role in his life, he is searching for male authority to steer him the right way.
Landlord/boss Danny is a benevolent tyrant. He enjoys the kids, but he enjoys the money they make him even more. He will fire one, eventually. We hope it's not Sneakers.
Hooking Up: Romantic entanglements are of the utmost importance to the young guido. Other than the gym and tanning salon, the bedroom is his most cherished habitat.
Here we see DJ Pauly D getting close with JWOWW, they eventually make out. The next night, they make out again, and JWOWW discretely hides their locked lips behind her hand. She has a boyfriend at home and she doesn't want to cheat on him. She does not define "cheating" as making out with another man and seeing his pierced penis. Cheating is if she gets him off before she climaxes. If she uses a man for her own pleasure that is not cheating.
Blue Balls also has a boyfriend at home, which is why she has strapped a chastity belt on all the men in her immediate vicinity. The problem is her boyfriend hates her. Whenever she calls, he seems to be too busy for her. When he tells her that he is "in a meeting" and can't talk, she repeatedly calls and gets his voicemail. This is grounds for dumping her. Please, please, throw out the Trash Bags.
The most complicated romantic entanglement is between Sammy Soso, Ronnie, and The Situation, who find themselves in a love triangle situation. Sammy Soso was initially attracted to The Situation, but found it to be a Soso Situation. After holding hands and "vibing" with him, she makes out with him in the club. Then she decides to make out with Ronnie. Naturally, this angers The Situation, because his self-worth is now shattered thanks to Sammy. He picks up the little pieces of his ego and flips her off. Because of his behavior, she sees him as weak and "dogs on" Ronnie instead, flaunting their relationship in The Situation's room so that he will feel even worse about himself.
In retaliation, DJ Pauly Desperate, Vinnie, and The Situation bring three girls back to the roof and try to get it on with all of them. The Situation feels vaguely better about himself, but now that Ronnie is officially the alpha, he is uneasy about his status.
As for the complicated hook ups of Snickers, we will get to that in the next video.
Puking: This is a common occurrence among the members of the guido tribe and it is looked upon as an inevitability of their hard-drinking lifestyle, but as also the most foul act a human can perform. It is weakness, and weakness is not tolerated. It also creates "puke breath," which is a deadly ailment that can cause death if it breathed on another guido. Puke breath to guidos is like holy water to vampires—something so profane it will melt your very skin.
Here we have Snooker's new friend Robby, who she met at a club. He vomits when she tries to make out with him. This is either because he drank too much or because he finds her revolting. Maybe a combination of the two. After instructing him to hurl over the railing of the balcony and onto the sidewalk below, she goes downstairs to get a trash bag for him to vomit in. She doesn't know that this is really Blue Balls' luggage. When she walks him home, she will not kiss him because of his puke breath.
Just the day before Snack Cake herself got so blitzed that she vomited the next morning. No one would hold her poofy hair because they were afraid of puke breath inhalation. The puking was so severe, it made her late for her first day of work. When asked for an excuse by bossman Danny, she said, "I was in the bathroom," because having him think she think she was taking an enormous turd is better than having him think she is infected with puke breath.
Drinking: Next to hooking up, getting drunk is the leisure activity of the guido. This usually allows them to hook up more freely, so it is a symbiotic relationship. Sometimes it leads them to want to hook up too much, like when ShamWOWW made out with DJ Pauly Shore at the club and then took off his wife beater, leaving with both his shirt and her pride. Apparently she needed to go eat ham, which is a cure for drunkenness. Also, if vomited up, it makes the puke breath almost bearable.
Also behaving badly under influence of alcohol was Snuffleupagus. She got so bombed that she took off her clothes and hopped into the hot tub with all the boys, where she was as unwanted as a Baby Ruth floating at a pool party. Rejected, she went downstairs where she tried to call her father on the duck-shaped phone that is the favorite communication device of the tribe. However, she could not make it work. After hanging up on her father several times, she also hung up on ShamWOWW's boyfriend several times and some mean man who just kept screaming "Who is this?" at her. It was probably Ronnie's "juice man" returning frantic pages for more T.
Vinny got drunk and dance with a fat lady, which somehow gave him pink eye. This has not yet been medically proven to happen.
Fighting: Give a guido enough testosterone and their muscles will swell, their dicks will shrink, and contests of superiority will be very, very likely.
This relatively weak fight started because someone was assessing the Situation. He didn't like the way he was being looked at and blew his aggressors a kiss. Apparently making homosexual overtures to another male of a neighboring group is an incitement to violence (which may be why leader Ronnie keeps his love of the Situation a secret).
When one member of a pride has his pride attacked, it is up to all the male members to defend that honor, which is why the Situation got assessed, but Vinny got shoved, and DJ Pauly Dope responded with a punch to the nose. Thankfully the authorities were there to restrain him and quickly defuse the Situation by throwing him and his friends out on the street. Fights aren't won or lost, they are only ended, either by bouncers of cops.
While this contest may be fierce, inter-tribal civil wars tend to be verbal in nature, especially between members of the opposite sex. Trash Bags and Robo-Cop Ronnie get in a tiff because he thinks she shouldn't be cock blocking and she thinks that trashy girls shouldn't be let in the house. Their screaming made no sense whatsoever, but was a bit of mild entertainment for an evening at home.
Communication Skills: Here are some of our favorite things that people actually said last night:
Sammy: "I'm the sweetest bitch you'll ever meet, but don't fuck with me."
Ronnie: "Take your shirt and [the women] come to you like flies on shit."
DJ Paulie D: "I don't want to work, I'm a DJ."
Trash Bags: "How is this girl getting in the jacuzzi in a bra. Wear a thong bikini if you're going to wear anything. It's more classier."
Sammy: "I had so much respect for you guys until you got into the Jacuzzi with those sluts."
Blue Balls: "That's how we know we're classy girls because we've been here two days with those guys and nothing has happened."
The Situation: "This situation is unbelievable. You can't even believe the situation you're about to get in the situation."
Trash Bags: "I'm a bartender, I do like, you know, great things."
Snickerdoodle: "I'm the fucking princess of fucking Poughkeepse."
The Situation: "Everybody loves me: babies, dogs, hot girls, cougars."
Vinny: "I don't care if you're fat, ugly, 45 years old—I'll dance with you."
DJ Paulie Dude: "She wants to have fun and have a boyfriend. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. I'll play that game. I'll be that guy. I don't care."
Blue Balls: "If a girl's a slut, she should be abused."
Trash Bags: "I'll cut your hair while you're sleeping."