Last week, Vulture commented on how completely ridiculous it is that Jersey Shore continues to pretend its cast is a bunch of no-name guidos just chilling at the shore. The Macaroni Rascals are famous. Everyone know they're famous. We're all kind of interested in how they feel about being famous. What, exactly is gained by pretending otherwise?
The Vulture article is excellent and well worth a read, but after the utter failure that was Season 5, Episode 4: "Free Vinny," we decided to throw our hat in the ring too. Because last night's episode proved beyond a doubt that hiding behind a false pretence of normality not only leads to missed opportunities, but actually makes the show less entertaining and — here's the kicker — less believable.
Let's break this down into three things that utterly ticked us off:
The "new roommate" drama: This unfortunate plot embodies everything that is wrong with Jersey Shore right now. The drama was so manufactured, we were expecting a "Made in China" sticker to pop up in the corner. The cast is not paying rent, and if they were they could manage it without Vinny. The "rule" about "needing" a roommate is a complete non-necessity made up by some producer to throw the cast through a loop.
Perhaps the most insulting part of the whole charade was when the editors pretended randos off the streets were being considered for the job. Yeah, right. This is a highly controlled reality show with a rigorous cast selection process (only the orangest and most drunk survive!).
Here's the key: Every single person watching the show knows this. The cast knows this. The audience knows the cast knows. This unfortunate chapter in the Jersey Shore saga was an unending loop of meta knowledge that exposed the "reality" machine's inner workings so thoroughly, there was nothing left to enjoy. So why bother?
Sammi's fight: We totally believe those girls attacked Sammi because her weave offended their fashion sense, and not because they wanted to be on camera or anything. Oh, wait, no, we don't believe that even a little bit.
Instead of glossing over the fight in a few (sadly, not very interesting) minutes, this could have become an insightful (or at least entertaining) section on the dangerous underbelly of fame. Alas, it was not to be.
Vinny's...everything: As the Vulture article points out, we all know that at least some of Vinny's stress comes from the cameras, the constant hordes of people following him everywhere, and probably the knowledge that every dumb thing he says or does could wind up on national TV. Instead of tackling any of that when the cast went to drag him back to the house, we were subjected to more totally BS drama. OMG, will he be home? OMG, is anyone actually worried about this? As if MTV wouldn't check first. Please.
So this is our request: Jersey Shore Powers That Be, please stop creating made-up drama that no one buys about non-famous housemates who no longer exist. That formula is already worn out, and meanwhile you're sitting on a wealth of organic, fascinating, and potentially unique conflict, if only you would admit this show is now about drunk, over-tanned stars instead of drunk, over-tanned wannabes.