Baltimore is about to have a situation on its hands.
Not just any situation. The Situation.
The Situation is the nickname for one of the stars of MTV's infamous new reality TV show, "Jersey Shore." The 27-year-old from Staten Island has a real name - Mike Sorrentino - but that's inconsequential. What matters is, The Situation has six-pack abs so well-defined that he calls them "the situation" (hence, the nickname). Every opportunity he gets - at work, on magazine covers, on the dance floor - he lifts his shirt to show them off.
Like the other guys on "Jersey Shore," The Situation is a self-declared guido's guido - with carefully gelled hair, perma-tanned skin and alpha-male attitude. And Feb. 11, he's coming to Baltimore to guest-bartend for a couple of hours at Mad River in South Baltimore.
"He's the best character on the show," said John Durkin, Mad River's owner. "The show is ridiculous. I grew up with guys like that. It's so absurd. That's why it's so addicting."
Durkin isn't the only one obsessed with the show; he posted the event on Facebook on New Year's Eve, and within a week, more than 1,000 people RSVP'd. Mad River only holds 285, Durkin said, so the line to get in could stretch down the street. It's a testament to just how many people watch "Jersey Shore," - or, perhaps, how many can't look away.
The concept of the show, which debuted last month, is simple: Eight party-loving Italian-Americans who proudly identify themselves as "guidos" and "guidettes" share a house on the Jersey Shore. By day, they work in a boardwalk T-shirt store, and by night hit the clubs. All kinds of drama ensues, on- and off-screen.
Much like tanning and lifting weights, clubbing is a way of life for The Situation. He sees the dance floor as a battlefield, and the women as his targets.
"When we're out on the battlefield, I'm like the first strike," he said in one episode. "They send me out first, like the Navy SEALS, they send them in quick."
Brawls are fairly commonplace on "Jersey Shore." But things got out of control when, in one episode, a man at a bar punched housemate Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in the face.
The man, later identified as Brad Ferro, a gym teacher at a New York City school, was arrested, and the clip, originally featured in promos, was pulled from the episode. Even so, videos of the punch were widely circulated online, fueling controversy over the show. After the first episode aired, "Jersey Shore" sponsor Domino's Pizza yanked all its commercials. Later, Italian-American group UNICO National protested the way the show presents Italian-Americans, calling for its cancellation. But MTV has already signed off on a second season - before the first has finished - and the cast is all over the tabloids.
Viewers like Amy Kearns, a New Jersey native who is majoring in education at Loyola, can't get enough of "Jersey Shore." Weeks after it debuted, the show's ratings rocketed to nearly 2.5 million viewers.
Watching "Jersey Shore" is like rubbernecking at an accident on the highway, Kearns said.
"When they announced this show, I was like, 'Oh my God, this show is going to be ridiculous,' " she said. " 'The Real World' is never going to be the same after this."
Kearns and a few of her friends plan on stopping by Mad River to meet The Situation - despite that fact that The Situation makes her skin crawl at times.
"He waits for girls to get really drunk and preys on them," she said. "His only goal is to go home and have sex with them. He's kind of a creep. He's still funny to watch, though."
Though Kearns isn't sure what The Situation will be like in person, she knows he'll be baring his abs for all to see. That's a given.
"It's a little pathetic but hysterical," she said. "Some people even go for it."
Kearns herself might even be wooed by The Situation's cocky swagger and guido charm. She'll have to assess The Situation in person and see what happens.
"I mean, it depends," she said. "When I first started watching the show, I thought he was cute and had really good abs."