Talkin' Trash TV: Jersey Shore

Remember back to the glory days of 2009? Sure, the economy was in deeper shit than the kid from Slumdog Millionaire and all that boring stuff. But at least the world made some kind of sense. We had a new president who promised to bring about change. We knew Kanye was never going to stop being a douchebag. We knew that Oompa-Loompas never left Wonka's chocolate factory... And then Jersey Shore attacked our screens and eyes, and things will never be the same again.

It's hard to imagine that the world was first introduced to The Situation's washboard abs and Snooki's gravity-defying poof a mere 13 months ago. In such a short time, the tanorexic stars of MTV's biggest hit ever have effectively turned pop culture on its head. Everything from the New Year's Eve ball drop to ads are getting the GTL treatment - and trust me if there is one thing these people have never had their hair gel-covered hands on, it's a college textbook. And America seems to love them all the more for it.

More than 8 million fist-pumping viewers tuned in to see seven of the engrossing eight return to the iconic Seaside Heights home where it all began, duck phone and all. Joining Snooki and the Situation in the festering hot tub once again are JWoww, Ronnie, Sammi, Pauly D, and Vinny. (No Angelina, but really, who cares?) The only fresh face this season is Snooki 2.0 self-described "walking holiday" Deena Cortese. I don't recall any holiday traditions that involve stripping naked from the waist down 30 seconds after walking into a packed house, but I digress.

Less than a month in, we've already seen enough cringe-worthy moments to tide us over until next season. Taking over the resident whiny bitch role vacated by aspiring singer/actress Angelina is Sammi, whose alienation from the rest of the girls and insatiable thirst for the "Ron Ron Juice" (it's a cocktail, perv) have made her into the most codependent "human backpack" girlfriend on TV since... well, since herself, last season in Miami. The way she follows around Ronnie's gigantic, steroid-jacked (I mean Xenadrine-enhanced, of course) body like a lost puppy makes me wonder why Jenni "I find it acceptable to piss behind a bar as long as I hose it off" Farley is the only one to have landed a punch on her snooty mug.

Everyone has their entertaining moments, but the only cast member who constantly brings the funny is meatball and gorilla juicehead-stalker Snooki. Viewers have witnessed more drunken antics by the New York Times bestselling author (sadly, not a misprint) than they know what to do with, and I, for one, cannot determine which is the most shocking. Was it eating a raw potato with the justification of it's what you would do while stuck in a cornfield? The fact that she showed up to the T-shirt shop clad in slippers, her clubbing outfit from the night before, and a blanket only to skip out moments later to take shots with middle-aged fans on the boardwalk? When she stuck her ass in the mini-freezer after an intense tanning bed session? My vote is not for her disorderly conduct arrest (it was inevitable), but the scene in which her 4'9" frame face-plants in the sand while attempting to waddle into the water. Classic Snooki.

Jersey Shore is among the lowest of the low when it comes to trashy TV, but that's why it works so well. With multiple cast members in talks for spin-offs plus a fourth season in Italy already picked up, these smush-loving guidos and guidettes aren't going away anytime soon. And with an episode like last night's - JWoww created more relationship drama for Sammi and Ronnie; Mike learned a mysterious secret about Deanna - who can really resist?

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