The most vapid force in pop culture is multiplying.
Some months back we reported that the hydra-headed monster that is “Jersey Shore” had grown into its own meme: Copy-cat shows were announced, as we heard that MTV was considering a “Korean Jersey Shore” and a “Russian Jersey Shore.” In each the formula remained the same: take a racially-defined subculture, reduce it to its lowest-brow common denominator, and exploit it to high hilarity.
But as Salon reports, “Korean Jersey Shore,” or “K-Town” as it’s properly known, about the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, has failed to get picked up for a first-season run. Similarly, the “Russian Jersey Shore” project about Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach neighborhood seems to have fizzled without getting picked up for what seemed destined to be Viacom full-court press.
Rather than branch out to racially profile other subcultures, it seems MTV is sticking with the Italian-Americans.
Deadline Hollywood reports that while the “Korean Jersey Shore” and “Russian Jersey Shore” projects have languished, MTV has green-lit not one, but two spin-off shows on characters from the original “Jersey Shore.” One will follow the life of Pauly D, while the other will focus on Snooki and Jwow.
Even more depressing than the existence of these new shows are the elevator pitches Deadline has about them. About the Pauly D show: “Whether it’s Seaside Heights or Miami, no one has more swagger, one-liners or a more distinctive haircut that DJ Pauly D.” One-liners can be an asset if they’re good enough—Rodney Dangerfield made a decades-long career out of them. But swagger and a distinctive haircut? These are the properties that have made Pauly D so captivating that he needs his very own show?
The pitch continues: “This series follows Pauly D’s jet-setting and often hilarious life on the road as one of the country’s most in-demand DJs. Aiming to become one of the world’s most successful and recognized names in music, viewers will get to see Pauly D chase his dream with the help of the best friends he grew up with.” One of the most successful and recognized names in music? Are these people kidding? Pauly D becoming one of the most successful names in music would be like Snooki becoming one of the greatest novelists who ever lived.
Speaking of Snooki, her show does not focus on her writing a follow-up novel to her debut “A Shore Thing.” Instead, according to the show’s elevator pitch, it centers on how Snooki and Jwow “deal with life and love when the vacation is over.” If that sounds vague and like a bit of a downer, the pitch assures us: “The series order follows a recent ‘proof of concept’ presentation shot by the network.”
It’ a hard point to argue with—the concept is proven, apparently. Why go out and find a whole new subculture to profile when you’ve got three specific Italian-Americans who are doing a fine job ont their own? “Jersey Shore Season 3” was MTV’s highest-rated show of all time—higher than “The Real World,” and much, much higher than those goofy old videos.
If you were startled by “Jersey Shore”s relentlessly low-brow fare, MTV has a message for you: there’s plenty more where that came from.