Like a greasy fast-food chain, “Jersey Shore” is getting into the franchise business, spreading the wealth by spinning off its well-tanned assets into stand-alone components. Enter “The Pauly D Project,” a completely dishonest half-hour centering on “Pauly D” Delvecchio as he seeks to launch his deejay career with a move to Vegas, surrounded by a new posse of castmates. Mostly, the first solo venture featuring the “Jersey” gang offers about one-eighth the fun of its progenitor, but that’s still probably good enough to make this bet pay off for MTV.
Why dishonest? Because every part of the series designed to create drama is essentially moot.
“Now it’s time for me to show the world what I’m all about,” Pauly tells the camera, professing to be nervous about landing a DJ gig in Las Vegas, and discussing how he needs to “make sure my needles are working properly. … Right now, it is crunch time.”
But that’s nonsense. Pauly already has a thriving career as a reality star, as evidenced by the show you’re watching (or not). Anything to the contrary is simply a fabrication to create a storyline.
Moreover, the fix is clearly in as far as the DJ job, since tapping Pauly to work at the Palms provides an extended infomercial for the hotel.
Even for those who can suspend disbelief about all that, Pauly’s home-state hangers-on simply aren’t a very interesting bunch — despite the “Goodfellas” nicknames — including a bodyguard (“Big Jerry”) and “social director” (“JROC”), as he proceeds to get sloshed and repeatedly keep picking fights. After awhile you want someone to punch him in the face, if only to dispense with all the teasing and foreplay.
That leaves Pauly to carry too much of the load. Granted, he does find yet another gal willing to slip under the covers with him in the second episode, but otherwise he becomes a relatively sober voice in these new “Whatever happens in … ” environs.
Mostly, the series (scheduled to air behind fresh episodes of “Punk’d”) underscores that the “Jersey” crew is stronger together, ultimately, than apart. Egos being what they are, though, breaking up the band was inevitable, and MTV and producer SallyAnn Salsano, having created them, want to make sure no one else horns in on the act.
When push comes to shove, that’s what “Pauly D” is all about. Anything else is just spin.