Jersey Shore returns with MTV’s highest ratings ever, Snooki products, a GTL Foursquare badge

The return of Jersey Shore Thursday night drew 8.45 million viewers, which MTV said was its “most watched series telecast ever.” So, yes, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, DJ Pauly D, Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino, Vinny Guadagnino, and the rest are still very, very popular.

There was a huge increase in viewers compared to the second-season premiere (63 percent more viewers ages 12 to 34) and 36 percent more than the already high-rated finale.

The cultural saturation of Jersey Shore is undeniable, but shows no sign of going away: You can now unlock a GTL badge on Foursquare (if you go to a gym, a tanning salon, and a laundramat within seven days of each other), and Snooki is creating her own licensed products, adding to the glut of Jersey Shore products.

As to that rather insane licensing, Mary Elizabeth Williams examines this trend and argues that “the deluge of ‘Jersey Shore’-related products suggests that we have entered a new era, one in which reality fame quickly translates into superstore product.”

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