Thursday, October 7, 2010

MTV Exploits Snooki's Alcohol Abuse

LA Times

MTV's got a situation on "Jersey Shore" -- and I'm not talking about Mike Sorrentino's abs.

Snooki, also known as Nicole Polizzi, has a drinking problem. Instead of helping her, the network is exploiting her.

Last Thursday's episode should have featured a very sloshed Snooki being rushed to a local hospital for alcohol poisoning.

Instead, all we saw was a totaled 22-year-old tickling her roommate's feet while the couple smushed (please don't make me explain).

Way to go, MTV. Let's cut the teachable moment out of the show and party on.

According to, Snooki's near-death experience happened in May, three months before she was arrested in Seaside Heights, N.J., on a charge of drunk and disorderly conduct. In that incident, the teeny tanned tart with the sky-high hair and lowbrow lifestyle was drinking heavily the night before and passed out face down on the beach.

Good times.

After a breakfast of champions -- a couple of tequila shots and a Long Island iced tea -- she was busted around noon.

At her court hearing earlier this month, the judge fined her $500 and told her she was rude, profane, obnoxious and self-indulgent. Snooki later told the press she was cutting back on drinking.

That scene made it onto YouTube. I wonder if MTV will leave it on the cutting-room floor?

Clearly, consequences aren't a plot device in the series, otherwise we'd see a lot more trips to the pharmacist (the hot tub alone is ground zero for STDs.)

The allure of "Jersey Shore" is its debauchery. It's a weekly dose of wild behavior featuring a foul-mouthed cast of characters who, when not wasted or busy bedding everybody on the Eastern seaboard, are pulling in tens of thousands of dollars each episode, making the rounds on shows like "Dancing with the Stars" and ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Why would any of them change their behavior?

And why would MTV make them?

The no-longer-music-video channel's ratings were in the toilet before "Shore." Now, thanks to sex, swearing and swinging fists, it's on top again.

But success comes at a price.

Snooki is seen as a selfish laughingstock instead of someone struggling. And MTV is complicit in her dangerous behavior by not showing the repercussions.

But the real losers are the 5.5 million viewers who tune in for a reality show that fails to air the most important thing: the truth.

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