'Jersey Shore' ratings rise, cast calls out 'The Hills'

jenni-nicole-jersey-shore-290.jpg "Jersey Shore" picked up a sizable number of curious viewers last week, and the cast is apparently lapping up its newfound notoriety.

The show grew to 2.1 million viewers in its second week on the air Thursday (Dec. 10), a 50-percent bump over the two-hour premiere on Dec. 3. The ratings bounce followed a week of near-constant chatter about the show -- which is fairly divided between repulsed and guiltily fascinated -- along with protests from Italian-American groups over the show's portrayal of the self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes in the cast.

Whether the show can sustain that growth is an open question -- was the ratings increase just a result of the hype, or did people actually get hooked? -- but the "Jersey Shore" cast is feeling pretty good about things these days. Good enough, at least, to talk some smack about another MTV series.

"We're better than 'The Hills,'" Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi told Usmagazine.com at Spike TV's Video Game Awards. "It's all real."

"We are not fake; we don't try to present ourselves like we are fake," added her castmate, Jenni "JWOWW" Farley. "We don't try to put ourselves in front of the cameras with the hair and the makeup. We tell everyone how we feel. We don't say anything behind their backs."

MTV, meanwhile, is still feeling heat from Italian-American organizations who are offended by the term "guido." The network also decided to cut footage of Polizzi being punched by a man from this week's episode -- but not before airing multiple shots of the punch (for which the assaliant was charged with assault) in promos for the show.

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Photo credit: MTV