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Vinny Guadagnino, the host of The Show w/ Vinny on MTV (Source: MTV)
Vinny Guadagnino, the host of The Show w/ Vinny on MTV (Source: MTV)

The Show w/ Vinny: Thursdays at 10pm Eastern on MTV

It’s been four years since Jersey Shore became a surprise hit, spurring the careers of eight twenty-somethings that weren’t actually from Jersey with their off-beat combination of drinking, fighting, and taking back a mild ethnic slur. Since then, we’ve seen a variety of side projects, from DJ Pauly’s new-found music career to The Situation’s appearances on Dancing with the Stars and his own Comedy Central Roast to spin-off Snooki & JWOWW. Tonight mark’s the debut of another of these new projects, with nice guy Vinny Guadagnino’s new talk show, simply titled The Show w/Vinny.

The Show w/Vinny is designed to be an unconventional take on the talk show format. In lieu of a studio, much of the action is supposed to place in a variety of locations, including the Guadagnino’s Staten Island Household. Vinny’s family also plays a heavy role in the action, including his mother, Paola, whom plays a large role in much of the promotional material.

Tonight’s show featured two guests: Our first half featured Lil Wayne, whom enjoyed a nice meal at the Guadagnino household before teaching Vinny how to skateboard at a skate park somewhere in Staten Island. The second half of our show involved YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles, whom was interviewed by Vinny before being hooked up in a video chat with Snooki, whom she did a piece about a while back.

So how does this show turn out? Well, it’s pretty uneven. Vinny is a pretty affable host, but he seems somewhat unpolished and occasionally sounds like he’s reading off of cue cards at times. However, in those moments where Vinny is interacting with his family or doing a bit with his guests that he seems more comfortable. The show also seems to be teasing that Vinny will hit on just about any female guest that crosses his path, which seems to help liven up some of the proceedings.

Vinny’s family is around in limited doses, but provides a nice change of pace, and allows Vinny to introduce his guests by describing them to Paola, who rightfully should not know most of the guests most relevant to MTV’s audience (I know my mom wouldn’t know who Lil Wayne or Jenna Marbles were either). Its’ also in Vinny’s family that we get the overarching feel of the show: that household where there’s always something going on in the kitchen.

If there is one aspect of this show that particularly peeved me it was the random cutting of the camera to wide and occasionally off screen angles. There’s not really much of a reason to capture the empty half of a living room or the crew cracking up at something during an interview. It also takes away from the flow of a show that tends to stop and start quite a bit to begin with (each half of the show contains three segments, meaning that on average each piece of the show runs around 3 minutes) and tends to be visually jarring, two words I never wish to associate with my late night talk shows or the “comfort food” vibe.

The Final Verdict: The Show with Vinny has some good, some bad and some ugly. It feels like the producers provided a lot of structure to protect Vinny (with the absence of a monologue and two segments of the show where he doesn’t really have to do more than provide the occasional one liner), but ultimately sent the show in a direction where matters occasionally feel forced. Vinny could work as a talk show host, but definitely needs a little more comfort in his interviews, which will come over time. Overall, I get the vibe that this is a wait-and-see sort of show, as there’s room for improvement but it could work as mellow, offbeat, late night comfort food.