Horiuchi: 'Jersey Shore' washes up TV trash

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MTV's new "Jersey Shore," is a stereotypical, crass and insensitive reality show that's a slap in the face to Italian Americans everywhere.

And that's the least offensive part about it.

While the Thursday show displays its all-Italian cast of young-adult goofballs with enough Hollywood mobster clichés to get a rise out of Tony Soprano, its biggest danger is how it acts like a vacuum, sucking brain cells from its viewers with ferocity.

The show is like a skanky version of "The Real World" (is that possible?) where eight vacuous twenty-something egos from "Nu Joisy" gather in a house to see who can be the biggest idiot for the summer.

The show already has drawn vast criticism from Italian-American associations for its gross ethnic stereotypes, including the show's constant references to other Italian Americans as "guidos" and "guidettes."

Worst of all, the show cast the most egocentric, superficial zeroes to fill the house, including men named "Vinny" and "Pauly" and another guy who spends 20 minutes just working on his hair. At least Tony Manero from "Saturday Night Fever" was somewhat likable.

The show's tasteless approach to "real life" in New Jersey already has resulted in one company pulling its sponsorship from the program and actual death threats to MTV employees from angry viewers.

I'm mostly mad because after just two episodes, I already have to make an appointment for a brain transplant.

This is yet another example of how MTV can be the worst excuse for teen pleasure since speedballing.

Children stolen » One of the worst foreign adoption scams in history -- which started in Utah -- is the focus of a new "48 Hours Mystery" to be broadcast Dec. 12.

The managers of the now-defunct Focus on Children adoption agency in Wellsville, Cache County, pleaded guilty earlier this year to misdemeanors. "48 Hours" traces the history of the scam that involved fraudulently taking Samoan children from their families to be placed with adoptive parents in the U.S.

One of those families who adopted a child, and then had to give her back, is Mike and Kari Nyberg. Both deliver a heart-wrenching tale of love and sacrifice.

The show airs Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. on KUTV Channel 2.

The investigation follows a two-year path of the crime, which involved placing more than 80 Somoan children with families. Salt Lake Tribune reporters Lisa Rosetta, Pamela Manson and Kirsten Stewart, who covered the story for the last three years, provided a lot of research to CBS producers for the documentary.

Vince Horiuchi 's column appears Fridays. He can be reached at vince@sltrib.com or 801-257-8607. For more television insights, visit Horiuchi's blog, "The Village Vidiot," at blogs.sltrib.com/tv/. Send comments about this column to livingeditor@sltrib.com.