In the new series, which debuted Thursday night, eight self-described Guidos and Guidettes share a Seaside Heights beach house, use a lot of gelled products in their hair, wear Ed Hardy shirts, pump fists, and throw around the C word - no, not that C word - a lot about themselves. Like the girls who consider themselves classy because they haven't slept with their male roommates after a whole two days together.
The word "classy" also comes up regarding Nicole, aka Snooki, aka Snickers, aka the drunk girl. She's the drama queen who jumps into the hot tub wearing just a leopard-print bra and thong underwear, and tries to make out with all the guys. Her behavior leads to this line from Angelina, one of her roommates: "How do you go in a (bleeping) Jacuzzi with a thong and a bra? Wear a thong bikini. That's a little bit more classier." Sing it, sister!
But Angelina, one of three of the eight "Jersey Shore" stars with Staten Island connections (Vinny and Mike are also doing their part to embarrass my borough), does something distinctly unclassy to open her appearance in the series: she shows up to the beach house with her clothing in black trash bags. Yes, trash bags. Even her roommates are appalled by this lack of decorum. What, she couldn't find a laundry basket? Or even a cardboard box? Sheesh.
Angelina, who refers to herself as the "Kim Kardashian of Staten Island" because of her "all natural" body, memorably complains about the indignity of having to work at a Seaside t-shirt store with her other roommates. "I feel this job is beneath me," she declares. "I'm a bartender, I do great things." Give her next year's Nobel Peace Prize already; she's earned it!
She also keeps on talking about her boyfriend at home, and how she's not going to mess up a good thing by cheating. Which is why it takes her a whole two nights before she starts rubbing up against another guy. Classy!
But, in her own strange way, Angelina, who calls herself - wait for it - "Jolie," does look classy compared to thong-wearing Nicole. Nicole refers to herself as the Princess of Poughkeepsie. We've heard about how Jersey Shore residents, and Italian-Americans, are angry about this show. What about the poor residents of Poughkeepsie, New York, having this chick as their princess?
This is a girl who, the morning after she drinks too much and strips down to her underwear in the hot tub, seems disappointed that nobody agrees to hold her hair back when she vomits. And here I thought that whole hair-holding cliche was a metaphor.
In her second night, Nicole, aka Snickers, hooks up with a guy who throws up all over the beach house's deck. Not only does she not hold his hair back, but she tells him to vomit off the side of the deck,and then refuses to kiss him goodnight. Where's your compassion, Snickers?
She is also freaked out by the house phone - it's in the shape of a duck, and it quacks instead of rings. I was freaked out that the tiled coffee table the phone was on was the exact same one we had back in New Jersey in my childhood home. Fortunately, we didn't have license plates as art in my house when I was a kid - at least, not in the living room!
Funny thing is, nobody on this show is actually from the Jersey Shore, and only one person is even from Jersey itself. But they've aped the stereotypes all the same - the Rhode Island-based DJ Pauly D even owns a tanning bed. He also brags about spending 25 minutes to blow-dry his hair. Maybe I'm sheltered, but I can't say I've ever met a man so devoted to his hair. Or maybe I have, and he just hasn't revealed that tidbit to me!
I also don't know any people who have so many nicknames for themselves as these cast members do. When they first meet, they each ask each other not just their names, but their nicknames. And they all use these monikers for themselves with no sense of irony. Sammi calls herself Sammi Sweetheart, even though she looks like the kind of girl who will cut you up in the school bathroom for looking at her the wrong way. Jenni calls herself J-Wow (although I think MTV might have spelled J-Wow with an additional "W" or two, if I remember correctly.) What's wow - or is that "woww" - worthy about her, other than that she looks like she bought her implants at the dollar store?
But nobody is as obnoxious with the nicknames as Mike, aka "The Situation." This dude, a native of Staten Island (shocker!), constantly refers to himself - and his pumped-up abs - with the nickname of "The Situation" constantly. He even gets girls at the t-shirt shop to buy super short-shorts/bikini bottoms with "The Situation" emblazoned on them.
You know, that's what's missing from my life - no, not wearing words on the seat of my pants, but referring to myself not just in the first person, but with a nickname. I hereby declare myself "The Squawker," after my Subway Squawkers blog. Done and done!
Anyhow, "The Squawker" likes a few characters on this show. Pauly D is a clown, but you get the sense he is well-aware how ridiculous his primping and preening is. Although "The Squawker" really didn't need to know about his pierced penis. "The Squawker" also likes Vinny, another Staten Islander, even if he is a mama's boy. He had the whole family gathered to say goodbye to him, and his mother cried when he drove off to Jersey. Mind you, it takes 90 minutes, tops, to get to Seaside from SI. It's not like he's going off to war or something (although there are an awful lot of fights at the shore!)
One paragraph in, and I'm already sick of referring to myself in the third person. Unfortunately, "The Situation" never gets tired of it. Sheesh.
Another thing the men on this show aren't big on is wearing shirts at the dinner table. Unsanitary!
Do guys in real life really sit around the kitchen table without shirts on, like they all seem to do on this show? Or is it just the stuck-up guys I know who actually eat with their clothes on? This is a question for the ages.
You know, I used to go to Seaside Heights, the location for "Jersey Shore," a lot when I was a teenager. These days, I prefer Asbury Park. It's closer, cheaper, and, dare I say it, classier. But now I kind of want to go to Seaside again, if only to see if real-life people act as ridiculous as the ones on this show.
While I did look on in slack-jawed horror at the first two hours of "Jersey Shore," and gripe about it on Facebook, that doesn't mean I won't be watching it again. Oh no. This show will be a regular in "The Squawker's" household, even if I don't have men eating dinner at my kitchen table with their shirts off!