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Commentary: MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ finally deemed a grenade

Courtesy of MTV Press

For on Thursday we were informed that “Jersey Shore” – the pop culture phenomenon bestowed upon us by the inappropriately named Music Television Network – would be coming to an end after its upcoming sixth season.

No more GTL, T-shirt time, grenades, fist pumping, smushing, creeping and other useful additions to the English lexicon. America’s favorite meatballs and gorilla juiceheads are moving on to other, surely lucrative ventures.

All sarcasm aside, I unabashedly admit to being a fan of the show, at least in its first few seasons. It was an exposure to a culture unlike anything the world had ever seen.

We sympathized with Snooki as she searched for the perfect gorilla juicehead to cozy up to. We laughed along with the rest of the roommates behind the back of Angelina when she arrived at the Miami house with her belongings packed in trash bags. We cheered on Ronnie as he punched out random bros on the boardwalk (“That’s one shot, kid!”). We witnessed the horror that was the relationship between Ronnie and Sammi “Sweetheart,” no doubt the most dysfunctional, violent, borderline psychopathic couple in the history of couples. And you can’t tell me you didn’t have dreams of becoming the fourth member of MVP, partying the night away with Mike “The Situation,” Vinny and Pauly D. Acronyms be damned, we would have made it work.

The exact moment when the show peaked is hard to determine. But eventually, the act became stale. MVP was declared “dead” by Pauly as it grew further apart from Mike.

Understandable, as Mike seemed about one strong drink away from a trip to the asylum. Any interest that once existed in the love lives of Snooki and JWoww evaporated into thin air like the hair spray they applied in copious amounts before a night out. Ronnie and Sammi somehow avoided domestic assault charges to make it work as a couple – which not only proved to be incredibly boring, but robbed the viewers of the superstar known as “Single Ronnie.” And it was all for nothing because the two aren’t even together now. Season two in Miami provided brief glimpses of this character, and the results were glorious. Ronnie was dancing on stripper poles and making out with three girls at once, the stuff of reality television legends. Then he inexplicably fell in love and Single Ronnie was never to be seen again. He truly did have hall-of-fame potential and could have kept the show going strong for many more seasons, but I digress.

Also, I just got tired of watching Deanna exist in the world.

Along these lines, the show’s declining ratings over time can be attributed to its lack of self-awareness and failure to adapt. Whereas, in the first season or two, these people were unknown and their actions were new and interesting. There are only so many times we can witness the same thing over and over again without expecting a few wrinkles. Five seasons into it, the formula cannot remain the same.

Since their fame has been established, we can no longer pretend like these are just eight normal people enjoying the summer at the shore. What was the point of having them continue to work at the T-shirt shop? They were beyond such trivial pursuits and we all knew it. Instead of embracing their fame and providing the cast with new adventures accordingly, the producers kept up the charade. The only thing that kept me coming back was the one-liners of Pauly D and Vinny.

MTV stuck to what was once a winning strategy and the product suffered as a result. So with all that said, they made the right decision to cut it off after six seasons. The cast will get their send off, my memories of the show at its best will not be further tarnished, and America can move on to its next reality TV addiction. Although some might stay true to the cast with “Jersey Shore” spin-off shows “Pauly D Project” and “Snooki and JWoww.”

There is plenty to complain about when it comes to the “Jersey Shore.” I cannot say with confidence that we didn’t lose a few collective IQ points from watching this show over the last three years. But at its peak, it was nothing but entertaining. Ultimately, that’s all I’m really looking for from my television viewing.

The sixth season and final season of “Jersey Shore” is scheduled to premiere Oct. 4 on MTV.

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