Like a latter-day Lucy and Ethel if they got pregnant out of wedlock, talked about their periods and dropped F-bombs with abandon, “Snooki & JWOWW” strike out on their own, the best-suited of the “Jersey Shore” bunch to topline a stand-alone sitcom. Well, not really a sitcom, but hardly reality either, given the fabricated scenario — the two move into an apartment together! — and the way they mug their way through various staged encounters. Still, it worked years ago for Paris & Nicole on “The Simple Life,” and there’s little doubt MTV will be similarly rewarded.Admittedly, success ought to complicate these spinoff ventures (the first involving Pauly D) featuring the “Jersey” boys and girls, but the producers have largely relied on the audience’s gullibility to continue presenting the reality stars as if fame and fortune hasn’t yet touched them. So Snooki and JWOWW go through the motions of breaking the news to Snooki’s parents that she wants to move out, and subsequently go apartment hunting, with Snooki sounding horrified (profanely, of course) by the concept of having to pay gas and electric bills. Mostly, it’s an excuse to hear Snooki (primarily) say crazy crap it would be difficult even for writers to concoct, like expressing envy for the Amish (hey, they don’t pay electric bills, right?) or — in regard to her unplanned pregnancy — “Life threw me a sperm ball.” Beyond that, there’s the Abbott-and-Costello visual of the two sauntering around — with Snooki barely coming up to JWOWW’s shoulder — and other oddball touches, like Snooki driving a giant black truck with hot pink trim, whose boat-like size makes parallel parking a nightmare. Distilled into a half-hour, there’s just enough to keep the show from overstaying its weekly welcome, and audiences have clearly demonstrated their fondness for the “Jersey” bunch — perhaps especially for these two — even if it’s as an oddity or object of derision. In that regard, her pregnancy certainly makes Snooki a team player, career-wise. One suspects the clock’s already ticking on the group’s marketability, but having flamed this bright, they’ll stay hot awhile longer. As simple math goes, that’s the kind even Snooki should be able to follow — and why it’s hard to blame MTV and the “Shore” patrol as they ride this wave for all it’s worth.
MTV, Thur. June 21, 10 p.m.
Produced by 495 Prods. Executive producers, SallyAnn Salsano, Pat LaLima, Jacquelyn French; co-executive producer, Lisa Marie Tobin; supervising producers, Keith Burke, Sheonna Mix; senior story producer, Jeffrey Dewandler; director, Brad Kreisberg.
Camera, Shaun Newton; editors, Frankie Le Nguyen, Mike Elling, Jarod Howell; music supervisor, Clinton Stapleton. 30 MIN.
With: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley.
Data provided by:Nielsen Media Research (Preliminary Results)