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Jersey Shore (watch episode 1), and I'm a happy, happy boy . Hailing from New Jersey, and having spent many of my younger summer days in Seaside Heights (the Mecca of the Jersey Shore if you didn't know), I happen to have a little experience with the unique slice of culture featured in this brilliant -- I repeat, brilliant -- piece of television-making.
The concept is simple and familiar: Stick eight empty shells resembling human beings inside a chic-looking house and tape the melodrama that unfolds. Correct, there's nothing new about that. The show's subjects are as sculpted, self-important and soulless as your typical Real World cast, and as collectively dense as the contestants in The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.
The new twist, besides the unique setting, is that the show overtly embraces the unflattering stereotype it depicts -- in this case, the young, urban, east coast Italian-American or "Guido" -- as do its characters, who (with the possible exception of Vinny) are no more self-aware for it, and possibly less so. Traditionally, the satire of similar reality shows has depended at least in part on the ironic disparity between the way the cast members think the world views them and the unflattering way the show depicts them -- The Real Housewives of... franchise arguably delivers the starkest examples of this disparity and brand of satire.
But in Jersey Shore there is no attempt, however arbitrary, to fly anything under anyone's radar, not even in the interest of political correctness. Stigmas are props to be used over and over again, and from start to finish are volleyed back and forth like bunch of airborne beachballs.
I can personally attest that the utterly magical things coming out of the cast members' mouths are absolutely authentic. As an ardent student of language, I have taken it upon myself to archive these linguistic masterstrokes, or at least to initiate this worthwhile endeavor. Here are the best quotes from the premiere of "Jersey Shore."
7. "I'm bringing New York to Jersey because A, they don’t even know how to drive and B 'cause they don’t know how to party." [long pause...] "Get the fuck out of my lane." - Jenni, aka "JWOWW"
6. "Dude you can’t bring a girl into this house when you’re vibin' with a chick. That's just going to cause, like, massive amounts of problems." - Ronnie
5. "My name around town is Sammi 'Sweetheart.' I'm the sweetest bitch you'll ever meet. But don’t fuck with me." [Later, in same interview] "If you're not a guido you can get the fuck out of my face." - Sammi, aka "Sweetheart"
4. "I’m the smallest guy here. Fuck." - Vinny
3. "What is she doing, this girl? How do you go in a fucking Jacuzzi with a thong? And a bra? Wear a thong bikini—that's a little bit more classier if you're going to wear anything at all, you know what I mean?" - Angelina, aka "Jolie"
2. "Where the fuck did everyone go? Why the fuck is that thing quacking? That’s really weird." [later, during interview] "Quack! Quack! Quack! Like, shut the fuck up." - Nicole, aka "Snookie"
And at number one, the Best Single Quote Award goes to...
1. "I’m very anxious to get down there with my hot clothes, and my tan. Just arrive. 'Cause once I arrive it's like, what's up, I'm here." - Mike, aka "The Situation"
Congratulations to The Situation.
But the highest accolades belong to the cast member who seems incapable of saying anything that isn't poetry. The Lifetime Acheivement Award goes to Pauly D, the sleeper from Rhode Island, of all places. Here are some of the gems that mark his historic acheivement (and mind you these are from a single episode):
"It takes me about twenty-five minutes to do my hair. It comes out perfect every single time." - Pauly D
"I don't try to take a lot of guys' girlfriends, but it just happens." - Pauly D
"I can never go out without my hair gel." - Pauly D
"I was born and raised a Guido. It's just a lifestyle. It's about being Italian. It's representing family, friends, tanning, gel, everything. Dude I got a fucking tanning bed in my place, that's how serious I am about being a Guido and living up to that lifestyle. My tagline is 'I'm Your Girl's Favorite DJ.' I want the Guidettes to c** in their pants when they hear my music." - Pauly D
"Girls are supposed to cook, and guys are supposed to eat, you know what I mean? That's how it is." - Pauly D
"I hope it's not like hard work. I don't even wanna work. I'm a DJ." - Pauly D
"Guidos... when we stop, our chrome keeps spinnin'!" - Pauly D
"This is 'The Situation,' right here. My abs are so ripped up it's… we call it The Situation." - Mike, the Situation
"I mean this situation is going to be indescribable. You can’t even describe the situation you're about to get into the situation." - Mike, the Situation
"Just take your shirt off and let them come to you. Like a fly comes to shit." - Ronnie
"I am like a praying mantis. After I have sex with a guy I will rip their heads off." - JWOWW
"I have real boobs. I have a nice, fat ass." - Angelina
At a large dinner table seating over a dozen members of Vinny's extended family, one family member asks of Vinny: "So where are you going in New Jersey?"
Vinny's answer: "The Jersey Shore."
*All photos courtesy of mtv.com.
The Savior Complex
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