Jan. 5, 2012 at 8:39 AM ET
The fifth season of "Jersey Shore" kicks off Jan. 5, and that means it's time for all the usual Seaside Heights fun, including hookups, fights and alcohol-filled parties – most, if not all, of which will revolve around Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, otherwise known as the unofficial star of the show.
That also means many viewers and even more non-viewers will resume their seasonal pastime of Snooki-bashing, which seems to involve criticizing the Princess of Poughkeepsie for almost every mundane move and outrageous act that she makes.
OK, sure. She can't hold her liquor, as evidenced by her boozy beach arrest in season three, repeated "kooka" flashings and nearly every fight she's ever had with her boyfriend, Jionni. And, yes, she's used the house minifridge to cool her itchy backside alongside the Cheez-its and Red Bull when a new tanning cream left her a little rashy. And it's true that even outside of "Shore" she's given dieting advice that's included drinking vodka and recommended kitty litter as a beauty product. But then again, aren't some of these things what make Snooki so great?
Great? Yeah, great. Well, not the public drunkenness maybe, but the general over-the-top behavior is part of what makes Snooki worth watching. She's like a cartoon character come to life, ready to do and say what most others won't and probably shouldn't. It's part of her appeal, and it's part of why she's worth defending against her many detractors.
Besides, Snooki's appeal goes far beyond her diminutive, do-anything routine. Those who look past some of her embarrassing habits might just notice her winning qualities, such as the fact she's a loyal friend to the women in her life (minus the occasional Sammi mess and that whole thing with Angelina, but hey, they had it coming) and she won't let anyone tear her down.
The latter might just make up her best quality. See, despite all the requisite bashing, for the most part, Snooki takes it in stride. She doesn't get overly mad or offended. She refuses to be shamed for her behavior. And if a swipe is crafted with a sense of humor, she even seems to appreciate it.
If there's a Snooki-related joke to be made, she's either making it or she's among those laughing the loudest.
Heck, when Bobby Moynihan repeatedly poked fun at her on "Saturday Night Live," she didn't simply approve of the send-up. She teamed up with him for some dueling-Snookis action on MTV.
And when South Park portrayed the "Shore" star as a rusty colored, hunched-back, whiskered beast who creeped around in constant pursuit of "smoosh-smoosh," she took it as a sign of her success.
"Snooki want smoosh smoosh," she tweetedthe night the episode aired. "I'm going to have nightmares tonight. lmao!!! We've officially made it. Goodnite my b----es ♥"
That's an indomitable spirit, and it's all too rare in real life or reality TV.
See the latest from Snooki and the rest of the Seaside Heights gang when "Jersey Shore" returns to MTV Thursday, Jan. 5., at 10 p.m.
What do you think is the dumbest/funniest thing Snooki has ever done? Sound off on our Facebook page.