There’s not a whole lot of drama on Jersey Shore these days.
The oldest cast members are in their forties, and with the exception of Vinny and Angelina, they’re all parents.
Most of the cast is married or engaged, and at least two of the stars are sober.
So it stands to reason that they’re just not as interested in ill-advised hook-ups and wild club nights as they used to be.
The show is more of a "reality sitcom" these days, and that’s fine — people like the product that Snooki and company are putting out enough for MTV to continue renewing it.
But if you’re one of the people who’s been tweeting about "Jersey Bore" and debating whether or not you should tune in for another slate of episodes, we’re afraid we have some bad news:
Ronnie Magro will not be appearing in the upcoming season.
As we reported last week, Jersey Shore Season 5 has wrapped filming in Key West, and to the delight of many viewers, Snooki has returned to the cast full time.
But Ronnie will not be fulfilling his destiny by once again becoming Florida Man.
Fans have noticed that Ronnie is nowhere to be found in the new promotional materials for the show.
“I mean there have been other cast members who were not around and have missed time on the show. But this time it looks as weird as when Snooki didn’t film that one season,” one person commented on the show’s Instagram page.
“Aww, imma miss Ron. Hope he’s doing OK & hope he comes back,” another added.
“The family is not complete with Ron-Ron juice and Ronnie,” a third chimed in.
Now, the high-octane party fuel known as Ron-Ron juice is hopefully a thing of the past, as Magro has been sober, and he has assured fans that he intends to stay that way.
However, it doesn’t look as though there’s any truth to the rumors that Magro has been fired.
He probably should be fired, what with the multiple allegations of domestic violence against him, but insiders say Ron will be returning to Jersey Shore eventually.
But if you see him on this season at all, it will only be a brief appearance.
That’s because filming took place primarily during the period of time when Ronnie was "stepping away" from public life in order to focus on his mental health.
Obviously, that was an important move, and he deserves credit for making it.
But does he deserve to keep his job?
For years, fans have been calling for MTV to fire Amber Portwood from Teen Mom OG because of her history of domestic violence.
Unlike Amber, Ronnie has never been to prison because of his violent tendencies, but other than that, the two situations are remarkably similar.
In fact, Ronnie narrowly avoided jail time following an altercation with his fiancee, Saffire Matos, that took place earlier this year.
Saffire refused to testify, which meant that Ronnie — who was still on probation from an earlier assault charge involving his previous partner, Jen Harley — would avoid a felony domestic violence case.
So he was off the hook, but hardly absolved.
And yet it seems that was good enough for MTV and the producers of Jersey Shore.
It was briefly rumored that the stars of the show had taken a stand and announced that they would refuse to film alongside Ron.
Needless to say, that rumor turned out to be untrue.
The situation (no pun intended) is especially troubling when one considers that Ron is the main reason that another member of the Jersey Shore "family" decided not to return for the show’s current iteration.
Sammi Giancola dated Ronnie on and off during her time on the show, and their volatile relationship was the most un-fun part of Shore‘s original run.
Sammi didn’t mention Ron by name when she announced that she would not be returning for Jersey Shore Family Vacation.
But longtime viewers knew exactly what she was referring to when she spoke of the "toxic" presences that she wished to avoid.
“If Ronnie isn’t on anymore can we at least bring back Sam [Giancola]?" one viewer asked on the show’s Instagram page this week.
The answer, sadly, appears to be no.
There’s been no mention of Giancola’s return, either from her, or from the network.
It would be difficult to keep something like that under wraps, and since neither party would have any incentive to do so, it’s safe to assume that we won’t be seeing Sammi Sweetheart in Key West this season.
In fact, it’s safe to assume her time on the show really is over for good.
And that’s a shame for reasons that go beyond Giancola’s popularity among viewers.
The fact that Ronnie still has a lucrative gig on MTV and Sammi doesn’t means that once again, the abuser has triumphed over his victim,
We’re not saying that Ronnie was ever violent toward Sammi, but the cameras caught him being very aggressive toward her on many occasions.
And the fact that he’s been arrested on domestic violence charges twice in the years that followed means that MTV should have erred on the side of caution and cut ties with Ronnie long ago.
Workplaces are not courtrooms, and employers do not need iron clad proof of guilt in order to take action that might ensure the safety of their other employees.
So yeah, Jersey Shore is much more lighthearted these days, and entire seasons will go by with no real conflict between the cast members.
But lurking just underneath the show’s surface is some intense drama that demands to be recognized by the stars and producers who are responsible for the show’s continued popularity.
Snooki, Mike, and the others all appear to take pride in how much they’ve matured since they first entered the spotlight so many years ago.
Now, however, they have a chance to make a difficult, adult decision and speak out against the actions of someone whom they consider a friend, but who has behaved deplorably.
And this situation is reminding us that the stars of Shore still have a lot of growing up to do.