Whether they're making party appearances at upwards of $25,000 a pop, or being skewered in the pages of The New York Times, the "Jersey Shore" cast is everywhere these days. And last night, Snooki, J-Woww, The Situation and the rest finally returned to the little screen with the premiere of their show's second season. But with the cast's growing notoriety, has "Jersey Shore" lost some of its magic? "We loved them largely because they were unknown, but in loving them we made them known and so, potentially, unlovable," says Dana Vachon at Slate. But do the critics still love them? Here's a sampling of early reactions:
They've still got it: While we were worried that the show might lose some of its "trashtastic flava" after the first season, says Jerthro Nededog at Zap2It, it has held onto its unique charms despite the growing egos and salaries. The producers have done a "great job of showing that the kids are still just dealing with the things kids do: gossip, breakups, the ups and down of friendship and, yes, hooking up."
Times have changed: "In a simpler time, before The Situation got a book deal or Snooki‘s poof had its own Facebook page, there was an unexpected, magical air about the show," says Rennie Dyball in People. But the cast mates are no longer rolling up to their house in "modest rides" with trash bags for suitcases. Now there are Escalades and five-figure paychecks. "This season, it's 'Jersey Shore, With Publicists.'"
Something's missing: "The magic is gone," says Tim Swift in The Baltimore Sun. "Maybe it's Miami. Maybe their meteoric rise to stardom has robbed our guidos and guidettes of their 'innocence.'" Whatever it is, this "much-hyped premiere" was missing something essential. "Jersey Shore has become a pale spray-tan imitation of its formerly delightfully trashy self."
The best is yet to come: "Not a lot happened" in the premiere, says Amanda Ernst at Crushable. "But we got the set up for a great season of housemate drama and throwdowns," including "some potential huge fights" between almost every permutation of the series' egocentric stars. Clearly, the show has more to offer. "Are you ready for it all to unfold?"