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Jersey Shore returned for its sixth and final season last night, and ugh, Jersey Shore is on TV again. I haven't kept up regularly since three quarters of the way through Season 2, but it seems like they're still fighting about the same stuff they were fighting about two seasons ago, if last night's flashback reel was an indication. Mike vs. Snooki. Sam vs. Ronnie. JWoww vs. nature. Pauly and Vinnie not vs. the inherent homoeroticism of their relationship. They're still embracing it.

For the most part, it was business as usual, which means you can go back to ignoring it. The best bit happened when Deena and Sam were getting trashed at a bar and having a discussion about integrity. Deena didn't know what the word meant, which was extremely telling. It reminded me of the time I was on the Coney Island boardwalk and two douchebags walked up to the group of people that I was with and asked, "What's a douchebag?" One was convinced the word was mostly applied to men, and the other said it was used far more in reference to women (the rationale was: men wear scumbags and are scumbags; women use douchebags and are douchebags). It was this giant existential crisis and they had no idea.

The differences this time around involve Snooki, who is pregnant and not partying, and Mike, who is sober and partying. This allows him to be something of a Greek chorus when they are out at Karma, and as a consequence, he approaches momentary not-awfulness. He's grown so much.

I did find the two-hour premiere to be weirdly poignant, since it marks the beginning of the end of the show and everybody knows it. It is likely the end of the line for most of the people onscreen, as far as celebrity goes. Well fine, they never "deserved" the notoriety in the first place. Their stardom was initially amusing because it was so absurd and then annoying because the absurdity outstayed its welcome, aging like a joke under tanning lamps. That said, on a human level, it is a hell of a thing to be pushed out of a stage of development, which Jersey Shore undoubtedly represents for most if not all of these adult children. They got to be hedonistic assholes and were paid handsomely for it and now they're being pushed from MTV's nest, left to figure out what the fuck they're going to do with their lives. They've never been less enviable, their humanity has never been more pronounced.