It’s last call for Jersey Shore, the highest-rated show in MTV history.
The channel announced Thursday that the coming sixth season of the series will be its last. Filming has wrapped at the venerable Seaside Heights location, with a season premiere coming on October 4.
Even by the standards of MTV, which has always had its share of quick-burning fads, Jersey Shore shone incredibly bright, but for a relatively short time. The series premiered on December 3, 2009, and quickly became a sensation, fueled by a seemingly endless supply of catchphrases, an incident where Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was slugged in a bar brawl, and the protests of Italian-American organizations that regarded the “guidos” and “guidettes” as an embarrassment.
MTV quickly rounded up the cast for a second season that was filmed in Miami during the winter of 2010, and the ratings continued to rise, to the point where it began beating all major network shows at 10 p.m. on Thursdays. After a third season filmed at Seaside Heights in the summer of 2010, during which Snooki was arrested for disturbing the peace and generally making a fool of herself, the gang went to Italy for Season 4, which aired in the summer and fall of 2011.
Along the way, though, some of the charm of the show was clearly lost. Like all MTV reality series, Jersey Shore carefully sidestepped any acknowledgement that the cast members had become rich and famous, keeping up the pretense that they were eight working class Italian-Americans who liked simple pleasures such as gym, tanning, laundry, and drinking. But the gap between their real, tabloid-covered lives and what was on TV couldn’t help but affect the ratings negatively.
And in time, the cast members developed other interests. Snooki and Jenni “JWoww” Farley got their own MTV spinoff series, as did DJ Pauly D; these new shows prevented a wintertime Jersey Shore from being filmed in 2012. Pauly D and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino turned 30, well beyond the usual MTV demographic. And finally, Snooki fell in love and became pregnant, giving birth this past weekend. The next Jersey Shore season will feature the last weeks of her pregnancy, and a behaved Snooki isn’t likely to be very entertaining.
What is next for the eight cast members is unknown, aside from the Snooki & JWoww show, which was renewed for a second season. We can hope they have all saved their money and invested wisely, because it will never be this good again for any of them.