After a six-week sojourn in the mother country, the greased-up Italo-American cast of Jersey Shore is finally heading back home to America. Citizens of Florence may be rejoicing, but the “tamarri” (or sleaze balls, as they are known locally) are leaving behind more than empty bottles of suntan lotion and dented cars. They have spawned an Italian version of their low-class reality TV train wreck called Tamarreide. “Forget Jersey Shore,” says Fiammetta Cicogna, the show’s creator. “We are the real tamarri.”
Weekly episodes of Tamarreide premiered on Mediaset’s Italia Uno network on June 13. The premise follows the standard formula: a motley crew getting up to nothing but trouble while the cameras roll ‘round the clock. But instead of bunking together in a big house, the Italian eight will spend 25 days on a giant tour bus kitted with eight mini-sleeper sections, two living areas, a tiny bathroom, a kitchen, and a sex suite. Each episode will take place in a different Italian city, including Florence, Rome, Naples, and Capri, where the octet will get up to mischief in various luxe hotels (which paid for the privilege, of course.)
These guidos and guidettes are younger than the Jersey Shore crew – the oldest is just 24 -- but they are equally tattooed, tanned, toned, and just as versed in bad behavior.
The premiere drew an audience of over two million viewers, and two Italian broadcasting watchdog groups (Codacons and the Italian TV Viewers Association) have already tried to block the program from airing based on its “violent fights, vulgar insults, and explicit sex scenes” -- the very elements that made Jersey Shore a sleeper smash in the United States.
The Italian “Snooki” will likely be Marika, 22, a well-known pole dancer from Rome who has already posed for a nude calendar. Manuel, 25, from Perugia, is a tennis instructor by day and male stripper by night. Antonio, 20, wants to be a Thai boxer. Angelica, 24, of Naples says that everyone has a little bit of “tamarri” in them. “Some people suppress it, others don’t.”
The original Jersey Shore cast is not only leaving their mark on Italy, they are also taking a little bit of Italy home with them. Jenny “JWoww” Farley was photographed earlier this week sporting new ink on her right shoulder -- a tattoo of praying hands and a cross, reportedly in homage to her grandmother who died this year. Snooki, meanwhile, has added a new line of platform flip-flops to her slipper line. The flip-flops are available with a pickle motif in addition to her standard animal prints. The world is no doubt waiting to see if any Florentine icons like the Statue of David show up in her future foot apparel designs.
A source with MTV told The Daily Beast that season four filming went even better than was hoped. And the highlights of the show -- like Snooki’s car crash and the Situation’s black eye -- have already been leaked on the front pages of the tabloids, which is sure to draw viewers. The crew spent most of their time in Florence, taking a quick trek to southern Italy to search for their ancestors. They had originally been banned from shooting in any of Florence’s museums, but were granted eleventh-hour permission to shoot inside at least one of Italy’s cultural gems, which pushed back their departure date until June 23.
Their final week of shooting has also been marked by what seems to the cast’s signature run-in with local law enforcement. A helicopter MTV chartered to skim the Florentine rooftops annoyed residents, who called the police to complain. They were apparently worried that their city was being attacked by terrorists. In reality, it was only the cast of Jersey Shore. It’s hard to say whether learning this came as a relief to the locals or not.