Reality TV's mouthy orange octet said buon giorno to Italy Thursday night, when Snooki, the Situation, and gang arrived in Florence for the premiere of Jersey Shore in its first season abroad. It's been a scant four months since cable's top-rated reality series — and MTV's biggest hit ever — left the airwaves. Was Thursday night's alcohol-drenched hookup fest fantastico or pessimo?

The show is better than ever: Sending the cast overseas was an "inspired idea," says Jan Crawford at CBS News. The "bombastic" group's "titillating and messy" actions resume right on cue. The surroundings are "more picturesque," and the setting more cultured, but it's the same show we've come to love. "You can take Snooki & Co. out of Jersey Shore, but you can't take the Jersey Shore out of them."
"Jersey Shore Italy: TV review"

"Oy vey, what a mess": After three seasons of outlandishly uncivilized behavior, the "goombas" from Jersey Shore are beginning to look "used up," says Linda Stasi at the New York Post. Easily resuming their roles — Snooki the ditz, Situation the narcissist — the cast has "become as comfortable in their parts as actors who've been in a soap for most of their lives." The episode's only bright spot? A "fascinating" and "cringe-making revelation" that Snooki and the Situation had secretly smushed.
"Shore does look familiar"

And the Italian backdrop adds little: "The road signs point to Florence," says Alessandra Stanley at The New York Times, "but they should read 'Welcome to Jersey Shoro.'" The "cultural collision" that should have resulted from air-dropping the goombas in Florence, home to the "most elegant and snooty of all Italians," failed to materialize. Audiences want fish-out-of-the-water comedy from a cast outside of its comfort zone. Instead, Italy provides less of a "change of scenery," than simply a new venue for the cast's self-imposed "Big Brother isolation."
"Ciao, Jersey, Hello Florence: No culture shock here"