OK, it’s official: MTV has run out of spinoff ideas for the “Jersey Shore” gang, following up its tag-along vehicles for Pauly D. and the walking visual sight-gag “Snooki & JWOWW” with “The Show With Vinny,” a half-hour not-exactly-talkshow featuring Vinny Guadagnino and his wacky family hosting (sort of) celebrity guests in his Staten Island home. Once you get past the initial idea, though, there’s nothing there, since Vinny — the ostensible brains of the outfit — has virtually nothing to say. Putting the show in creative terms the “Shore” dwellers might appreciate, look out, it’s a grenade.
In a way, “The Show With Vinny” underscores a bit of MTV’s nagging split personality, premiering alongside a new scripted satire, “Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous,” which is much smarter and more promising, but also less promotable. While execs would no doubt like to chart a course in that direction, they keep hanging on to their goombah roots, what with the likes of “Buckwild” and the sundry “Jersey” offshoots.
Even with two guests in the premiere — Lil Wayne, who Vinny explains to his mom as “My Tony Bennett”; and YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles — the half-hour feels like a week’s sentence to hang in Staten Island, with no TV and all the cool clubs closed. The producers even turn to Vinny’s wacky Uncle Nino — who staggers in with an unbuttoned shirt, and tells Lil Wayne how big he is (nudge nudge, wink wink) — for comic relief like a latter-day Foster Brooks, to no avail.
Actually, the idea of doing a more casual talkshow — presenting MTV-friendly talent in a relaxed setting — isn’t a bad one. But that would require engaging in something approaching conversation that justifies the “talk” label.
Instead, Vinny mostly fawns over the guys and hits on the gals, conducting the fleeting chats in the living room, kitchen or his bedroom. After telling Marbles he’s hot for her, she explains her type as follows: “I like smart guys and funny guys.”
If “The Show With Vinny” is being used to evaluate the host’s credentials, he’s one pitch away from a strikeout.
The Show With Vinny
(Series; MTV, Thurs. May 2, 10 p.m.)
Produced by 495 Prods. Executive producers, SallyAnn Salsano, Pam LaLima, Charlie Newton; director, Brad Kreisberg. 30 MIN.
With: Vinny Guadagnino, Lil Wayne, Jenna Marbles.