The “Italy” season of Jersey Shore was like a vacation that went on for way too long... Even the cast members were complaining about the things they missed in Jersey. Ratings were down for the season finale of Jersey Shore last night, and given how the season went, it’s not all that surprising that people fell away from the show, despite how well the turnout was for the season premiere.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Jersey Shore’s season finale saw a drop in viewers from last season’s finale, which is a first for the series. Bringing in 6.6 million viewers, the series was also down from its season premiere, which saw 8.8 million viewers. While 6.6 million viewers isn't bad for a cable series, the slip is certainly noticeable.
What went wrong? From my point of view, the season was more or less a train wreck, and not the good, spray-tanned, fist-pumping, heh-gelled kind of train-wreck, either. As much as I love Italy and was excited to see how the show used the Firenze backdrop, a lot felt off about the season beyond the new location. The group seemed to split up quite a bit, with Deena and Snooki paired off, leaving an unlikely partnership to form between Jwoww and Sammi on more than one occasion. Meanwhile, Mike seemed to go out of his way to alienate himself from the group, creating tension and awkwardness that didn’t make for entertaining TV. If the season had a high point, it was watching Vinny and Pauly impersonate guidos:
Another issue I had with the season was that the Italian backdrop seemed wasted on the cast and the series in general. Granted, they’re young and more interested in socializing and clubbing than they are in art and history, which is fine, but not so great in terms of making the show interesting or giving us something new to watch. The attempts they made to actually explore and appreciate their surroundings seemed strained at best, with one final Florence cram-session day-tour tacked on to the last episode, as a last-ditch effort to appreciate Italy.
Would more tours have made for an interesting season? That's doubtful, but the contrast of these American (mostly)-Italians to Italian-Italians might have been a bit more entertaining to watch, had it seemed like the cast members were more open to embracing their new surroundings, as opposed to simply trying to adapt their Jersey Shore lifestyle to their new surroundings. In the end, Jersey Shore: Italy felt like regular Jersey Shore crammed awkwardly into an otherwise interesting but underused setting, which also suggests that maybe the series is really on its last legs, and there just isn't much left of this story to tell.
Was I expecting too much by hoping for more from the show at this point in the series? I really don’t think so. As much of a guilty pleasure as Jersey Shore is, and as much as other people will look down on it, I’m not above admitting that I find the series interesting, in addition to funny and strangely addictive. I wanted to enjoy the Italy season, because I actually believed we might see something new from the cast as they took themselves away from what they were used to and immersed themselves in a different setting. Instead, what we got was a more fractured version of the regular Jersey Shore.
So, it's really not surprising that ratings were down for the finale. The last few episodes, which focused a fair amount on unnecessary Situation drama, and more of Deena and Snooki’s alcohol-induced shenanigans, weren’t really selling anything viewers haven’t already bought numerous times over the first few seasons. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the series will come together again when the cast reunites in Seaside for the next season.