Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Fist-Pump Gazette #1: "I've Never Fist-Pumped a Day in my Life"

I must admit, I've never been a proponent of trashy reality shows. I'm not a big watcher of reality TV in general, whether informational shows (i.e. "Mythbusters"), competitions ("Survivor"), or heart-warming formatted documentaries ("Undercover Boss" - check out this promo for their BRAND NEW SEASON!). And it's not even that I'm biased and think they're ruining or "dumbing down" the medium - I think the last TV show I watched regularly on the air might have been "Batman: The Animated Series."

But there was something about the '90s - '00s MTV style reality fare that just kind of turned me off to the concept. "Real World" - let's put a bunch of whiners in a house together and watch them whine. "Road Rules" - ditto, but in a van. "The Hills" - check out these rich folks having fun in LA! "16 and Pregnant" - look at these people who made questionable life choices and see how they react when we shove cameras in their faces. I just didn't have the interest or the patience.

But then it happened. They hooked me. Eight lovable walking worst-stereotypes-imaginable worked their way into my heart with their drunken antics and absolutely ludicrous outlooks on life. And all of a sudden, I became a fan of "Jersey Shore."

As fondly as I remember the first season, I didn't watch it even close to regularly. I didn't come in until after Angelina had left the show (and was subsequently confused each time I kept seeing her intro card during the opening credits). It took me at least three episodes before I could distinguish between Ronnie and Pauly. But at some point - I can't tell if it was when "The Situation" explained the finer points of classifying someone as a "grenade" or when Snooki took a punch to the face like a champ - I realized I was having fun watching the show.

I don't particularly have a problem with the fact that they supposedly give Italian-Americans a bad name. These are people acting the way they choose to act - what does it matter to me what their heritage is? Sure, they act irresponsibly and they get into fights and they make fools out of themselves. But they don't take anything too seriously and they look like they're having a genuine good time with themselves. Which makes them genuinely fun to watch.

One thing the cast took seriously was their contract negotiations for season 2. After a messy holdout, in which each cast member netted $10,000 per episode, the next season got underway last Thursday... in Miami. That's right, the show named for a location will take place in a different location, due to a more cooperative climate and the network's unwillingness to shift the shoot dates.

The new location allowed for a fun first act of the season 2 premiere - having the cast make their way to the Miami location. Situation and Pauly D roadtripped together - they got their truck hopelessly stuck in the mud and shot off tons of fireworks while waiting for the Triple-A truck... which also got stuck in the mud. Snooki and Jenni also roadtripped together. During a pit stop in Georgia, they were approached by a local who gave a pathetically convulsive attempt at a Jersey fist-pump. (The title of this week's gazette comes from him.)

Upon arriving at the house, everyone was stunned to find that Angelina was back for season 2! Oh, snap! For someone like me, who didn't even rightly recognize Angelina, let alone remember any of last season's drama, the reveal was less than Earth-shattering. All that happened was that Snooki made a reference to her "Talking mad shit about me," and the rest of the girls on the show just shut down emotionally.

But the biggest plotline so far is the ex- relationship between Ronnie and Sammi. They got together during season 1, broke up in the interim, and are now living together again. Nobody really knows how they feel about each other, but when they (predictably) got into an argument during their first night on the town, Sammi ended up going home depressed, and Ronnie got drunk out of his mind and hooked up with tons of mad bitches at the club.

The episode ended with a hint of irony. Angelina mentions to Pauly D. how upset Sammi would be if she found out about Ronnie's behavior. To which Pauly responds, in full view of the camera, "She'll never know." Yeah, until the episode airs! I'm pretty sure he was being ironic, but then again I'm usually more willing than I should be to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Tune in next week to find out about all the illicit hookups, shoving matches, and catfights that were hinted at in the preview of coming episodes. I'll resume my scheduled Tuesday posts, with the Fist-Pump Gazette moving to Saturday afternoons.

Watch The Jersey Shore on MTV Network, Thursday nights at 9pm (last week's episode), 10pm (new episode), and 11pm (new episode again).