Shutting down the house: ‘Jersey Shore’ ending run

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The show didn’t do a lot to burnish the image of Italian-Americans, either, as the cast let it all hang out with time-worn stereotypes. (Deena Nicole Cortese: “It’s like fingerprints: How are you going to tell a guidette apart without her extensions?”)

And it made the cast members _ with skills barely advanced beyond strutting, scrapping, carousing and mangling the King’s English _ into stars. Thus were these high-wattage dim bulbs instantly deprived of their last shreds of authenticity as nobodies with nothing to lose, their status at the outset of the series.

Now the housemates of “Jersey Shore” can look back proudly at their accomplishments. They have all done their part to lower the bar, even as they stumbled over it.

And they have enjoyed a dream job. They got paid to party. And the bigger the spectacle they made of themselves, the greater their appeal and, presumably, the fatter their paychecks. (Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio: “One minute you got three girls in the Jacuzzi, the next minute somebody’s in jail.”)

But the time has come to say goodbye. Or not.

The Season Two premiere of “Snooki & JWoww” (starring “Jersey Shore” alumnae Nicole Elizabeth “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWoww” Farley) is just around the corner. From the press release: “Fans will see Nicole prepare to become a first-time mom, from nesting to going into labor and ultimately, get to see the first footage of her new son, Lorenzo.” That’s Jan. 8. Mark your calendar.

And in the indeterminate future, MTV plans to launch “The Show with Vinny,” which MTV calls a hybrid talk/reality show that “will shatter the typical talk-show format by taking the biggest celebrities out of the studio and into Vinny Guadagnino’s family home in Staten Island, N.Y.” Alas, certain members of this cast could have the half-life of plutonium.

Meanwhile, MTV is moving ahead with a new gang of wild-and-crazy kids. “Buckwild” premieres Jan. 3 with a group of nine rebellious twenty-somethings living in West Virginia.

That’s all ahead. But looking back as “Jersey Shore” exits, the question persists: Why?

Maybe people watched “Jersey Shore” because it was a welcome, wacky liberation. A break from the confines of parents, kids, partner, boss. Within their world, the “Jersey Shore” housemates have been privileged to serve as your surrogate id, treating you to visions of irresponsibility while sparing you from its costs _ whether embarrassment, a hangover or an STD.

Call “Jersey Shore” a train wreck, then, albeit with no casualties. But does that beat a show that really takes you somewhere?

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EDITOR’S NOTE _ Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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