I don't know why this is happening--summer doldrums? boredom with summer movies? a desperate hope that the show has developed culturally redeeming values?--but a surprising number of critics are watching Jersey Shore really closely right now. The Atlantic gathers together some recent critical takes on the series. The most interesting take, to my mind, comes frm Slate's Dana Vachon, who interprets the show as symptomatic of the state of the economy.
We were watching Jersey Shore, filled with the sort of people we'd deny ever knowing pre-Madoff (lifeworn bikini models, drivers of Clinton-era Hondas, Ronnie Magro) but couldn't get enough of post-. The cast, having apparently sat out the prosperity, were powerfully able to show the rest of us how to go on living now that it was over.