Photo Credit: Courtesy of MTV
Hey you's guys! Grab your baby oil and muscle shirts! We're heading back to the Jersey Shore (Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET, on MTV) for one last season of GTL (gym, tanning, laundry). In past seasons, that acronym could also have stood for Getting Totally Liquored up. Or Getting Totally Laid. But judging by the season 6 premiere, things have changed for the Seaside Heights gang.
"Everything has to come to an end," Pauly D recently told The Huffington Post. "'Sopranos' ended. 'Entourage' ended. 'Jersey Shore' has to end."
And the season's first episode certainly feels like the beginning of the end. Snooki's six months pregnant and engaged to Jionni. Mike is sober after a month-long stint in rehab. Vinny is vowing to remain celibate throughout the summer. Deena is in a serious relationship (nine months in a row!). JWoww is still with boyfriend (now fiance!) Roger. And Sammi and Ron are on again, even though they are still having alcohol-fueled spat, which we now know, is part of their dysfunctional mating ritual. Only Pauly is primed for the usual drunken hook ups that these hooligans are known for.
Can our favorite party people still have fun despite all these issues? That's the dramatic question that unfolds as the gang packs up and heads to the shore for one last hoorah. And at first, the situation (note the little 's') seems dire.
Mike is weirdly nice, preparing dinner for his friends' arrival. Everyone gets up early in the morning, and despite some tension between Mike and Snooki (who doesn't buy his myriad apologies to the group for his bad behavior last season), all is fairly calm. When the group goes to their favorite dance club, Karma, Snooki goes on the world's most boring date with Jionni, and doesn't hide her displeasure. Boy, being pregnant is a drag. She can't drink, she can't exercise, and she has no sex drive. When MTV shows a flashback of Snooki from a past season (which it does throughout the show to commemorate the final season), viewers are reminded that Snooki is the boozy, smart-mouthed soul of this show. But in season 6, she's been reduced to complaining, eye rolling and pouting.
WATCH: The ladies of the Shore play Name the Jersey Shore Quotes with iVillage!
Then there's the wet blanket of Mike's newly sober state. This is wonderful for him, and all wrong for the show. When he goes to Karma and points out the bad choices his drunk friends are making, you can't help but shout at the TV, "Hey, Mike! That's the audience's job! We viewers judge you, get it?"
In the end, though, Deena saves the day, providing enough craziness and stupidity to cover for her sober pals. "What's integrity?" she asks JWoww, while the pair get drunk on girlie drinks at a bar. "I think integrity means like shame. Like I have a lot of shame so I have integrity. Right?"
While JWoww laughs at her friend's ignorance, Deena soldiers on. "Like say I was not wearing my underwears and then I like pelvic thrusted the window with no underwears on, and I was like, 'No shame!'" she says. "That would be integrity."
"That would be a lack of integrity," says the bartender, who helpfully explains that actually, integrity is "overall well-being, high morals, values."
"People can just go to school at a bar," says Deena. "It's like a class."
Naturally, it's lost on Deena that a lack of integrity is, in fact, the very heart of her show. For heaven's sake, it's the theme of Jersey Shore. Some people call it harmless fun; others say the show denigrates our society as a whole. But no one disputes the fact that a spectacular lack of integrity is what makes the Shore gang tick, and why a frighteningly large number of viewers tune in. It's why Snooki and Mike's new, responsible choices are such a drag, and why lushes like Deena need to pick up the "shameful" slack.
By the end of the episode, Snooki has arranged to move out of the house (and into the apartment next door), clearing the way for Deena to become the chief meatball. And based on the previews for the season ahead, she steps right into Snooki's crazy-person stilettos. This is great news for Deena. If she keeps it up, MTV might just give her her own spin-off show.