Posted Monday, November 20, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
MTV's "Jersey Shore" became one of the biggest reality show phenomenons of all time when it debuted in 2009.
The concept was nothing special: seven Italian-American-ish young men and women live in a house for the summer and party - a lot. What worked was the wacky personalities and how much fun they all seemed to have.
They quickly became household names - at least their nicknames were: "J-Woww," "Pauly D," "The Situation," "Snooki." Catchphrases abounded: "GTL" - as in gym, tan, laundry; "fist pump," "grenade," "smush."
Sure, the novelty quickly wore off and the show was gone by 2012. But MTV wasn't going to let a successful idea die permanently. It's resurrecting the concept for a new generation, moving down South to the Florida panhandle near the Alabama shore. Thus, the 2017 show name: "Floribama Shore."
One Atlanta resident is part of the eight-person cast: 25-year-old Kirk Demas. He spent this past summer in Panama City. And he's a "Jersey Shore" acolyte.
"I was like 15, 16," said Demas, who works at a local HVAC company. "They were just so ratchet and fun. My friends watching would say, 'Dude! I could see you doing that!' Now it's happening." (His favorite? Pauly D.)
Indeed, he was just hanging with a buddy in Panama Beach interviewing for a spot on the show when the producers called him over. In the end, he got picked - not his friend.
"I've always been known as the life of the party," he said. "I'm outgoing. I always have a smile on my face."
Panama Beach is a popular vacation spot for Atlantans and Demas said as a high school student a decade ago, he regularly went there for spring break when it was easier to drink under age. The city, he noted, has cracked down on that.
Their beach house is down the road from Panama City's most famous club Club La Vela, which bills itself as "the largest nightclub in the USA" with a capacity of 6,000 people, 10 theme rooms and 48 bar stations. (Currently it's under renovation until New Year's.) In the first episode, they stop at Ms. Newby's.
All eight get jobs doing "beach service," meaning selling jet skis and parasailing and the like, plus putting up and taking down umbrellas and lawn chairs. Not tough, Medas said.
During the first episode, Medas seems very chill. But he said when he gets drunk, he becomes super sensitive to strangers who disrespect him. And his alter-ego when he gets toasted has a name: Dirk.
He was single while on the show (he's dating now) but said he didn't chase every available woman. "I was very conservative," he said. "I knew my mom would be watching. I didn't want to do too much."
His take on his roommates:
- Gus, 22 (Tallahassee): "A super sensitive country boy." [And based on the first episode, a player.]
- Nilsa, 23 (Panama Beach): "Very wild and off the wall."
- Kortni, 21 (Panama Beach) "By far the wildest one of us all. She's crazy. She's loud. She talks trash. She's funny. One of my favorite by far. She's very ratchet and off the wall." [She gets so trashed in the first episode, she doesn't even make it to the club. And yes, she is seen peeing in places that are not toilets.]
- Aimee, 24 (Atmore, Ala.) "She's straight country. She's the most Alabama person I've met in my life."
- Codi, 25 (Westminster, S.C.) "As South Carolina as they come. He's funny. He's very Southern twangy if that makes sense."
- Candace, 24 (Memphis) "A strong independent black woman. Very opinionated, a sweetheart."
- Jeremiah, 22 (Amelia Island, Fla.) "Has a great heart but you may think he's a douche."
Will this show create catchphrases like their older "Jersey Shore" brethren?
"We didn’t really try," Medas said. "There are some catchphrases we used that are going to end up being a thing."
And though he never got used to the cameras, he said he had a lot of fun and would be willing to do it again. "We have a strong bond," he said. "We talk every day. I would live with them again for sure."
"Floribama Shore," 10 p.m. Monday, November 27, MTV