Back when Jersey Shore debuted in 2009, it became an overnight cultural phenomenon and a surprise ratings smash for MTV.
Suddenly, folks without a drop of Italian blood in their lineage who had never set foot in the Garden State were fist-pumping and getting their GTL on all over the country.
Obviously, we’re grateful the trend didn’t last, but we love a nostalgic trip down memory lane as much as anyone, so we were excited to revisit the cast in the heavily-hyped Jersey Shore reunion special that aired on E! last night.
Unfortunately, like most folks who tuned in last night (or at least the ones who expressed their opinions on Twitter), we were disappointed by what felt like a poorly executed slapdash ratings gimmick.
The special deserves a place alongside the Michael Phelps shark race debacle on the list of most poorly received television of events of the summer of 2017.
In both cases, the consensus among viewers semmed to be along the lines of “I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t that!”
Obviously, much of the blame lies with the show’s producers, who couldn’t even be bothered to assemble the entire cast.
It’s not like this is an SNL reunion we’re talking about, ya know?
When you only have 8 full-time cast members and none of them are famous for anything else, get them all, or don’t do the show.
Vinny Guadagnino, Deena Nicole Cortese, and Ronnie Magro were all absent from the proceedings, presumably because they couldn’t reach a deal with the network.
You can hardly call it a reunion special when nearly half the cast is MIA.
Of course, the show’s problems went beyond the seemingly half-assed effort behind the scenes.
One issue that drained the show of any excitement was the fact no one ever stops being famous anymore.
As a result, specials like the one we suffered through last night hold as much appeal as a high school reunion.
If you really wanted to know what these people were up to, it would be as easy as typing their name into a Facebook or Twitter search field.
Most likely, you’ll find what viewers found last night – that the party animals of your youth have transformed into boring adults of depressing waste-cases.
The fact of the matter is, the guidos and guidettes who used to get loaded on Ron-Ron juice and spread their simplexes all over Seaside Heights are now just rich grownups living quiet suburban lives.
Of the cast members who attended last night, more than half are now parents, and a couple are pushing 40.
When Mike Sorrentino’s tax problems are the most exciting topic of conversation, you know the party is a bit of a dud.
Then there were the complaints that reminded us of a depressing Woody Allen joke:
Some folks felt that – just like the life of a neurotic comedian – the special was both excruciating … and over far too quickly.
The special was just thirty minutes long, which left many feeling as though the credits started rolling just as things were getting good.
We’re inclined to think those folks are a bit too optimistic.
In all likelihood, the show’s producers kept it so short because they realized they didn’t have much to work with.
It’s time to come to terms with the fact that Jersey Shore was lighning, in a bottle, folks, and some magic was never meant to be recreated.
Besides, if we’re really hankering for a zombified revival of a once-beloved TV series, it’s not like we need to look very far.