‘Jersey Shore’ to Return, But Will You Watch?

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Can we retire "Jersey Shore" to the pantheon of pop culture now? Just short of two years since its December 2009 debut, I'm ready to say the phenomenon has run its course thanks, in part, to MTV's decision to run four seasons back-to-back. After all, so much of the fun of watching the MTV hit in its early days was the shock of seeing that people actually live this way. Someone wears that to the club? She thinks skin that color looks good? They really dance like that? But by this point, Snooki, The Situation, Pauly D, and the rest of the gang have hooked up and brawled with everyone else in the house, and quite frankly, their behavior is getting a little old.

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Now, they're like a dysfunctional family: it's nice to be able to visit them from time to time -- you know, like maybe a marathon of reruns for the holidays -- but certainly not on weekly basis. I really don't need to watch Snooki and Deena get drunk for the gazillionth time. Or Sammi and Ronnie argue again at Karma ... or wherever the cast happens to be clubbing that night. I don't need to see T-shirt time -- OK, I'll admit that I still enjoy that -- but for the most part the reality show's 15 minutes are up. You know it's reached its pop culture peak when Snooki has supposedly written two books. Two! Even the ratings have slowly eroded over the season, from a high of 8.8 million viewers for the August premiere to 6.6 million viewers for the October finale. While those are still considerable numbers, they might want to consider quitting while they're ahead.

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Apparently, MTV hasn't. The network just announced that the crew's latest adventures, back in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, will premiere at 10 p.m. ET/PT on January 5. And the preview for the new season looks oddly similar to a preview of, well, any other season. More tanning. More drinking. More drama that we've already seen play out. Am I the only one who's over this show?

Get More: Jersey Shore (Season 4), Full Episodes

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