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Worst Cable Content

Jersey Shore on MTV

Release Date: 12/20/2012

Only three years ago, MTV aired the first episode of its execrable "reality" show, Jersey Shore. It is a sign of how fast-paced, how overhyped, and how shallow today's entertainment industry is, that those three short years seem more like three decades. The ongoing saga of the program's inmates has been interminable. How much airtime and virtual ink has been consumed by the drunken, frat-boy antics of "Pauly D" and "the Situation"? How much space in normal, thinking people's minds has been taken up by the pea-brained promiscuity of Deena and Snooki? How much has American culture been eroded by endlessly hearing about the Shore gang's obsessions with clubbing, tanning, and "haih gel"? And how much has the English language been devalued with the introduction into everyday vocabulary of phrases like "GTL," "DTF," "grenade," and "guidette"?

Yet this week, one good thing finally came out of Jersey Shore: its end. For wrapping up the tawdry, idiotic series in typical style, the December 20th finale of MTV's Jersey Shore (Thursdays, 10:00 p.m. ET) deserves recognition for being the Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.

A look at the finale shows that very littlea has changed among the denizens of the Shore. Mike "the Situation" Sorrento, after destroying his friendships with nearly everyone in the cast, has apparently attended rehab and stopped drinking; and, famously, Snooki has become pregnant and is engaged to marry "baby-daddy" Jionni.

However, recent episodes have revealed that, even as it nears its conclusion, Jersey Shore continues to exhibit the same trashy, mind-numbing imbecility which has characterized the program throughout its history. After a sonogram, Snooki boasts about the size of her gestating baby's penis, adding, "He's going to get all the girls in school"; at Snooki's party, Pauly D sneers, "Dis is da only baby showah where two uv da guys hafta 'pologize to da baby-daddy foah bangin' da fiancée", while a party game consists of chugging liquor from baby bottles ("Ya gotta suck it like a boobie!" Snooki shrieks); JWoww comments on her desire to get "blackout drunk," and discusses the positions she uses when having sex with her sometime boyfriend; Mike rhapsodizes about why he is considering a potential relationship with his longtime date Paula: "She has the nicest natural boobs I've ever seen;" and - perhaps most hilariously - Vinny undertakes to critique Paula's diction and grammar, in an unparalleled display of combined ignorance and nerve.

But it was always thus. From the show's first episode, which set in motion the program's gross crassness and buffoonery; to the second, which made headlines from Snooki being assaulted by a stranger in a bar; to the subsequent season, with its casual references to incest,

So too with the third season's introduction of Deena (who began her time on the Shore by parading around the house naked and screaming profanity); the fourth season's pointless sojourn in Italy; and the fifth's misogyny and sexualization of women - all while glorifying a lifestyle filled with drinking and "hooking up."

It is easy to mock the sleazy tone of Jersey Shore, the cynicism of MTV in airing it, and the idiocy of its cast members -- and the show richly merits such mockery; but there is a more serious objection to be made, as well. If it was not as blatantly disgusting or offensive as shows like American Horror Story , Sons of Anarchy , or The Walking Dead, Jersey Shore was in one way even more dangerous: how many teens took away from Jersey Shore the message that fighting, drinking, and "hooking up" (i.e., having meaningless promiscuous sex) are not only the hallmarks of a good life, but may even lead to fame and fortune?

Sadly, this is not the final end for the likes of Jersey Shore. MTV will likely continue to exploit Shore-made "stars" like Pauly D and Snooki, either in reunion specials or in spin-off series of their own. And the show's sensibilities live on: already, the network is prepping Buckwild, an Appalachian-set combination of the brainless attitude of Jersey Shore with the dangerous, self-mutilating stunts of MTV's old show Jackass. And just as Jersey Shore was initially opposed by Italian-American groups, so Buckwild has already drawn the ire of West Virginians.

But at least Jersey Shore itself is finally at an end. And it is in celebration of that fact that the PTC is delighted, one final time, to award MTV's Jersey Shore the title of Worst Cable TV Show of the Week.