Monday, July 19, 2010

And...The Jersey Shore Crew Is Refusing to Work

TMZ is reporting that the cast of Jersey Shore is "on strike."  Apparently (at least according to TMZ), they are angry because they thought the $10,000 per episode pay only applied to the Miami portion of Season 2, and not to the Jersey Shore portion of Season 2, which MTV may release as Season 3.  So, they want a new contract to shoot the new Jersey Shore scenes.

I think I've got that right, anyway.  I (obviously) haven't seen the contract they signed, but if I had to guess, it probably covered number of episodes versus what MTV would label those episodes as, be it Season 2 or Season 3.  So, if they signed a contract for 12 episodes (Wikipedia's vast knowledge of the number of episodes for what was supposed to be Season 2), and they filmed 6 in Miami, then technically, they are probably bound to film another 6 in the Jersey Shore or wherever MTV would like them to go, for whatever the agreed upon price is.  If, on the other hand, they agreed to film some undetermined number of episodes for Season 2 for $10,000 a pop, and there was no agreement regarding Season 3, they might have a leg.  Then again, this all also depends on how you define an "episode" in the contract.  Says me in my vast knowledge and without seeing the contract and having never seen a reality TV show contract. 

I'll admit to watching the first season of Jersey Shore.  I was introduced to it by a coworker (who dragged me into her office and made me watch the clip where The Situation introduces himself), and ended up getting hooked on the hilarity.  They are all quite ridiculous, but it was entertaining because they were just goofy kids having fun.  And they said such stupid things, and Snooki couldn't even figure out the duck phone.  At this point, to be quite honest, I'm a little tired of all of them.  I'm not sure why any of them had to appear on David Letterman.  The success of the show -- and as happens for many -- has left them all overexposed and annoying.  I've always been of the opinion that, much like The Real World, they should get a new cast each season.  It's not going to be much fun to watch quasi-celebrities who are only famous because of the show navigate the bar scene and get wasted in a hot tub.  After all, people will treat them differently based on who they are, which will take away from the entire point of the show.  (Well, assuming there was a point.  But, dammit, it was funny to see Snooki get shot down by guy after guy.  Will that happen now?  No, probably not, because said random guy would like to get on television.)

Possibly MTV is looking for another The Hills, which has ended its run.  But you can't tell me there aren't thousands of people out there who would be as good or better on Jersey Shore.  Everyone is expendable in show business.  There is always someone else waiting in the wings to take the place of a person who doesn't want to toe the line.  So, I guess that's why I find it so surprising that these kids who MTV plucked out of obscurity and paid to drink and have fun for six or eight weeks last summer (their "job" at the t-shirt shop was a total joke) are now acting like they are the cast of Friends and are demanding higher pay to -- wait for it -- get drunk and have fun for six or eight weeks of filming.  Hell, I wish someone would pay me $120,000 to get drunk and have fun for a couple of months.  That would be fantastic. 

If they think they can make more money by making "appearances," then by all means, go do it.  This whole "appearances" thing always cracks me up -- do people actually go to a club just because some reality TV show is going to be there?  If so, why?  What's the point?  I could see if, like, Robert Downey Jr. was showing up, but Snooki?  J-Wow?  Really?  Anyway, though, without the show, the "appearances" will dwindle.  You can't have the "appearances" without the show.  Which also makes it surprising to me that they are giving MTV such a hard time.  I would think that the hottest time to be making "appearances" is during the show's run and immediately thereafter.  (Or, perhaps that's why they don't want to be filming over the next four weeks or however long, since the Miami portion is airing starting July 29.)  On the other hand, if you sign a contract, you sign a contract, and demand will likely (unfortunately) be high for them once they are available, which may mean more money for "appearances."

The long and short of it is, I don't feel that most of them deserve more than $10,000 per episode.  What they've been given is a pretty good salary, although not a salary that will set a person up for life.  But why should they get a salary that sets a person up for life when...well, to be blunt, none of them seem particularly intelligent, talented, or any of the other qualities that usually accompany a salary that sets a person up for life?  I can understand why they want more money.  We all want more money for the work we do.  And MTV has certainly made a lot of money off this crew.  (I could actually see paying some of the "break out 'stars'" of the show like The Situation, Pauly D, Snooki, and J-Wow a little more, but the others are actually pretty boring, so if those four stand with the rest, they are dumb.  The Situation needs to take that sweet new contract MTV is offering.)  As a note of reference, the Friends actors didn't "stand together" on contract negotiations until Season 3.  It will be interesting to see how this pans out.  As an old person, I certainly hope they are saving some of this money, because this is certainly not a gravy train that is going to last forever, even if MTV does give in.  (What, maybe five years, at best?)       

Although...if MTV drops them, some other network may grab one of them and next thing you know we'll have Snooki of Love or Ronnie and Sammy or something absurd like that.   

I can't even believe I just put this much thought into Jersey Shore.  Jeez.

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