March 30th, 2012
02:16 PM ET
On his new show "The Pauly D Project," Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio shows why he's probably one of the only "Jersey Shore" kids who could have a career outside of reality television.
Thursday's premiere of the "Shore" spin-off brought all of the famous catchphrases and flirtatiousness Pauly D's known for, but it also works hard to show the softer side of one of cable TV's most popular alpha males.
We kick things off with an opening theme song that definitely needs some work in my opinion, but I'm also not 16 and can't help but think my younger cousins would love it.
The intro track actually comes from Pauly D, who is pursuing his lifelong dream of being a world-renowned DJ - but first he has to take his show out of Johnston, Rhode Island.
Unlike most of his "Shore" castmates, Pauly doesn't hail from New York or New Jersey. And in and around Providence, Pauly D and his entourage are kings. There's Biggie, Pauly's mentor and older brother figure of sorts, who has the misfortune of being the only one in the crew with a steady girlfriend.
There's also Jerry, Pauly's security and all-around goofball. But what posse would be complete without the live wire? That's where Ryan, Pauly D's "social director" and our boy's "go-to wing man" comes in. The fellas complete Pauly's inner circle and they're all asked to join him as he heads to Las Vegas to try and land a gig as the resident DJ at the Palms Hotel, a spot once held by the late and legendary DJ AM.
What's cool about "The Pauly D Project" is that we get to see Pauly stripped of all the reality show hype when he's around his ailing father. Pauly lives at home with his dad, who suffered a stroke, while his mom lives down the street. His father says Pauly's his greatest accomplishment, and he tells him as much in a touching heart-to-heart before the trip to Vegas.
Of course while he's in in Vegas, Pauly D is the man, but he's nervous about the forthcoming gig. Luckily, Ryan and the gang get him all inebriated and head out into the Sin City nightlife.
Unlike his "Shore" bros, Vinny, Mike and Ronnie, Pauly's Rhode Island friends aren't as concerned with six packs, and such is true when Jerry ruins Ryan's chances with a lady friend by simply showing up in the same pool with his shirt off and a shower cap on. What you've got to love about these guys over the Seaside crew is that they seem to be bit more likable and less concerned with being liked.
After a near turntable malfunction, Pauly's gig goes on without much more of a hitch. The guys return home to Rhode Island, where all they can do is wait. Six months pass, and Pauly gets the call we all knew he would get - he's the resident DJ at the Palms, so now it's time for the guys to move out.
Poor Biggie has to tell Mary Jane he's moving on the road with the bros, because as Pauly puts it, "everybody's career" relies on his career. In a way, Pauly D is like Vinny Chase on HBO's "Entourage," and he's even compared this show to the now canceled series.
If anything, you do get the sense that each of these guys would give their lives for Pauly's (or even leave their girlfriends behind) and their livelihood is his livelihood. Almost everything, from landing the gig to going to Vegas, starts with Pauly D saying "we" instead "I."
The question is, will audiences embrace "The Pauly D Project"? Chances are, yes.
What separates this adventure from the ones of Pauly's past is that he's with the folks who came in with him from day one. And what will be most interesting is to see how much Pauly can grow and distance himself from "Jersey Shore."
The season boasts guest spots from Pauly's new boss, 50 Cent, Vinny and others, and what makes the show likely to succeed is the same thing that seems to have allowed its star to fare well - the ability to remain authentic while indulging in the luxuries overnight fame provides, with a camera for all of us to see.
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