1,500 bins of protein
20 new tanning beds
12,000 washes and dries at the local laundromat
6,000 bottles of LA Looks hair gel from Amazon.com
You may have heard the news by now and understand the meaning of the numbers at the top of the page.
The cast of the Jersey Shore recently re-upped for a third season and didn’t sign until MTV assured them what could be years of financial security for most normal people. But for the Guidos it makes more sense to describe it as I did above. With the money they make from each episode, they’ll be able to buy either 1,500 bins of protein, 20 new tanning beds, 12,000 rounds of laundry or, yes, 6,000 bottles of hair gel.
For the less-frivolously-inclined, that comes out to $30,000 an episode or about $300,000 for the entire season. That comes out to ways of excess and waste we can’t even comprehend but will likely see on a weekly basis as we watch the Guidos. And it comes out to end of this show’s popularity and charm*.
*I just became the first person to use the word charm to describe the Jersey Shore?
This is the third time I’ve written about the Jersey Shore, and I don’t know why. But I do know why I watch it.
Maybe for some people that question is not so easy to answer. In fact, the New York Times recently featured a story about Snooki in which it stated that most avid viewers of the show can’t even say why. But I believe there is an obvious reason why we tuned into the first season. It was real.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, the Jersey Shore was “a medium for them to express their true desires and feelings, for them to demonstrate and educate to those of us who didn’t believe this type of behavior was possible, for them to attempt to reach hair-gelled, tanning-oil-soaked nirvana.”
We saw their behavior and thought that was really them. Their unquenchable desire to listen and dance to house music, their belief nutrients blended into shake-form made the best meals, and their distaste for any clothing item that didn’t contain rhinestones may have been pathetic (actually, it certainly was), but it was them. They were genuine reality TV personalities.
Now they’re just reality TV stars. And there’s nothing worse than being a reality TV star. Reality TV stars are Flava Flav. They are Kim Kardashian and Sharon Osborne and Paris Hilton. They aren’t real celebrities, but they aren’t real people either. They inhabit a netherworld between fame and normalcy that we don’t envy and can’t relate to.
Shows, starting with season two that begins this week, won’t be so much about discarding grenades and Snooki searching for love.
Because of the money, the Guidos have reached that exalted state of nirvana. Protein is plentiful. Tanning will mean walking downstairs to the basement and a personal booth. Girls will seek the Situation. A really drunk, disturbed, crazy juice-head might actually go after Snooki.
MTV, in the end, is really to blame. The network could have found more Guidos (I’m sure plenty would have loved to audition) and started each season again from with fresh, new headcases.
Instead we’ll get excess and inflated egos and fakeness, the marks of all other reality TV shows, and we’ll quickly discover that, even though a Guido would never admit it, 6,000 bottles of hair gel is too much.