Review – Snooki & JWoww
Snooki & JWoww – MTV – 10:00/9:00pm Thursday – USA
This is going to be one of those odd reviews where it seems as though I am mounting a defence of a reality television star despite not having enjoyed the show they are a part of. Stars of MTV’s Jersey Shore, Snooki and JWoww, have become the sort of easy punchlines thrown about by everybody from Jay Leno to somebody who isn’t Jay Leno. This need to put these people down seems to stem from the idea that there are people out there who ‘look up’ to Snooki; which I don’t think is true at all. I think the majority of people who watch a show like Snooki & JWoww do so because they enjoy watching these women-with-no-filter be kind of crazy not because they wish that they too could emulate their orange skin and disregard for social etiquette.
Snooki & JWoww follows Snooki and JWoww as they move in together in a fancy new apartment bought with all that money they get for letting people make fun of them everywhere they go. Snooki is engaged and has a baby on the way (queue more jokes about the end of civilisation as we know it) and JWoww has a boyfriend who she wants some time apart from. The first episode follows the pair as they look for new apartments and say bizarrely hilarious things like: “Instead of life throwing me a curveball, it threw me a spermball.” Whatever the hell that means. The appeal of Snooki and JWoww is not that they have lives that we envy but because they say strange things and have a complete disregard for social norms.
One thing that bothers me about the universe that we live in is the ‘easy joke’ – once something because the ‘easy joke’ it’s no longer worth making. Jokes about Justin Bieber, jokes about how crap Nickelback are, jokes about how horrible and orange and short and annoying Snooki is – these are the lowest of low hanging fruit. They’re also targets for ridicule that have no actual weight behind them. Bieber fans are mostly young girls, I can’t imagine Nickelback fans are devoted to their band in the way that, say, Radiohead fans are, and Snooki is the star of reality television show. These jokes are popular because they don’t put anybody off side – it is unlikely that if you are the sort of person who derides Justin Bieber that you are hanging out with people who all secretly adore him. In short – these jokes are boring. Each of these jokes has become shorthand for ‘thing little girls like’, ‘crap rock band’, and ‘reality TV excess’.
What I find interesting about Snooki, and yes, there is something that I find interesting about her, is that there is something about her personality that is appealing. I think the key to why Snooki and her antics have become popular is that while they are easy to mock – look she’s drunk again! – there is a part of us that wishes we could do what she does. I don’t mean that we want to dress like her, or have a ridiculous name like her, or be as overtanned as she is, I mean that when she asks her two realtors “do you guys fuck?” to their faces we get a tiny thrill. It’s her lack of filter that makes her an engaging reality television character not the want to have her life.
The oddest thing about Snooki & JWoww is that the only redeeming elements of the show are Snooki and JWoww. Their personalities and odd speech patterns carry a show that lacks any kind of substance or purpose or hook. The first episode has them looking at houses and while it produces a couple of amusing comments from the girls, it doesn’t present nearly enough opportunities for huge laughs to arrive. Having not watched a lot of Jersey Shore I was expecting these two would be far more moronic than they really are. They dress weird, they say things that they shouldn’t and Snooki especially seems to be a sulky and irritating person to be around – but they’re also compelling personalities to watch unravel on screen, it’s just a shame the show they’re in is far more boring than they are.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?