Believe me, I was reluctant. When all this Shore hullabaloo started a few years back, I rolled my eyes and staunchly refused to watch. I make some seriously questionable viewing choices, but this, most certainly, was a train wreck I could avoid. I tuned out status updates that sounded oddly intriguing, even though they made no real sense to me. I sneered at the friends who assured me that I didn’t know what I was missing, while they slipped into their GTL t-shirts.

And then, one day, all alone, I decided to take a peek. Just to know what I was making fun of. Just so I could hate it credibly, and properly, you understand.

The rest is Jersday history.

People often wonder (to my face, with judging looks) how the bright, lit-loving, grammar correcting gal that I am can watch this junk, let alone admit to watching this junk.

Firstly, I cite my aforementioned love of sketchy programming. Some people like chips, I like a whole lotta my TV with empty calories and brightly coloured preservatives (I refuse to read crap, if that helps).

Secondly, I am ready and able to give a long, eloquent speech on the unique view of social dynamics and politics that we get when we lock strangers together without a common goal or enemy. MTV’s Real World’s the best example, and the first reality show, honestly. Shows like Big Brother come from a different bag and provide a whole other view of the dark spots on human nature, but I digress…

At the end of the day, shows like this have all the necessary components for drama and subsequent entertainment: a cast of colourful characters, conflict, love, sex, betrayal, violence, tears, music, wardrobe…heck, when you look closely, the thing boils down to a poorly scripted opera.

Catching up in a blissful JShore marathon for one the other night, I got to thinking how far we’ve all come together; Sammi and Ronnie have worked through their troubles, and seem to have matured as a couple, JWoww and Snooki are already shooting their spin-off, and everyone knows that little Snooki is carrying her own mini-meatball now, and engaged to her boo.

While nothing’s been publicly confirmed, this looks quite like the last season for the original cast, and what a trip it’s been. I realized I’ve even accidentally picked up a thing or two from these crazy kids along the way, and since knowledge is power, and sharing is caring, here are a few lessons I’ve learned from the Shore.

Some clubs are exactly as bad as I imagined

Admittedly, I have limited clubbing experience. This is for the sole reason that I’m afraid that more often than not, clubs are playing music I can’t groove to, filled with overly greased boys on the prowl, drunks looking for fights, and girls with their coochies falling out all over the dancefloor.

Tres icky. I almost get a rash just thinking about it. I’ve never actually been to a place like that, but Jersey Shore has taught me that they’re way more than an urban myth told to keep me safely at pubs and a select few party venues.

Always eat and hydrate after binge drinking

Look, compared to other reality shows, the guidos and -ettes aren’t drinking excessively. Alcohol is what producers feed people so they don’t have to hire writers. What the Shore kids do better than most is recover. Yes, we have traditional afterhours poutines and delicious dirty pizzas, but this crew, like clockwork, hit the kitchen after the bar and sometimes cook full out things, drunk as skunks in the middle of the night.

You know what? They spend less time vomiting than some other casts. There, I said it, and it’s a valuable lesson. They also have no qualms about taking a whole day to sleep when needed; bonus lesson.

My hair could be bigger…but not naturally

I like to think it’s my NYC Jewish roots that make me love big hair almost as much as a Texan gal does. My hair is pretty admirable, but bigger, better, faster, more, one always wonders. The Jersey girls rock clip-in extensions that go way beyond falsie ponytails and straight into what’s-its-name-and-what-do-you-feed-it territory.

This proves that when I set my mind to it, few ladies out there can pouf their ‘do as fab as mine without resorting to clipping things to their heads. Don’t hurt yourselves trying to keep up *snap*. The funny part here is that Pauly D’s notorious blowout is just styling stuff and hot air, making his the most impressive natural hair in the house.

Anytime I thought I looked too trashy, I was apparently wrong

Thanks for this one; I’m quite relieved.

Some guys have more shoes than me (…and jewelry, and hair products…)

I suppose I knew this, but it’s a whole other thing when you see all the sneakers lined up like that, or watch them trying to pick outfits. The high maintenance man baffles me. The high maintenance woman baffles me a bit too, so maybe all we’ve learned from this one is in need more sneakers.

For every sketchy guy, there’s a sketchy girl, 2 of her friends, and 50 grenades

I admit it: Jersey Shore has made me hate the player less, and even the game less. Did yet another random girl just leave the house right after sex with a handshake, hug, and a smile? Really? For free? Whatever happened to waking up confused in the morning? That used to be all the rage. But hey, everyone seems to be getting what they want (and in express time!) with no misconceptions. Let the players play with each other then, and all is right with the world.

Even train wrecks can make great friends

Say what you will, they’ve been through a ton together. Relationships, tears, international arrests, local arrests, ambulance rides, anxiety breakdowns, the bronzed bunch has shown immense heart, loyalty and fortitude of character when the pickles hit the pavement. They made each other feel homey across a whole ocean, they cook together, prank each other, cheer each other up and on, and for all the multitudes of ways in which we can poke fun at them, I think that’s something they can teach us all.

(Pretty good, right? I think we just had a moment there…)

The season finale’s tonight at 10. You know you wanna. Tell me about it @mcmoxy