The build-up to the second season of MTV's "Jersey Shore" has already begun, including an exhaustive New York Times piece on Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, the pint-sized firebrand who is adept at tanning and irritating others.

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Times devotes the front of its Calendar section to an exhaustive piece about the second season, probing the question of whether success has altered its chemistry.

Memo to editors at both Times: One suspects the core "Jersey" audience is not going to pay attention to your newspapers unless you light them on fire outside their doorsteps. But nice try to be hip.

Almost overlooked in the frenzy, meanwhile, is Snooki's mild broadside at the Obama administration in the July 29 premiere over a proposed tax on tanning salons. Exhibiting her acumen as a political philosopher, Snooki notes that Republican presidential nominee John McCain wouldn't have imposed such a tax, mostly because he's pasty white, unlike Obama.

Of course, Snooki makes no mention of the fact that McCain has battled skin cancer, but let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say given her preoccupation with other matters, she wasn't aware of that.

It's also clear, based on the "Jersey" opener, that Snooki and Mike (a.k.a. "The Situation") Sorrentino are clearly first among equals within this bizarro, brawling bunch, which is only significant in terms of their much-publicized contract negotiations.

One thing's for certain: The "Friends" gang, this isn't, even if the media is treating them as such. And it'll be hard to keep them down on the Jersey Shore after they've tasted Hollywood.

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