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Before 'Jersey Shore,' there was 'Down the Shore'

The "Jersey Shore" original cast featured, as seen

The "Jersey Shore" original cast featured, as seen from the top row in 2009, Angelina Pivarnick, Jenni "JWoww" Farley, Nicole "Snooki," Polizzi, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and, bottom row, left, Vinny" Guadagnino,, "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola. Credit: MTV

A TV show about a group of 20-somethings who rent a summer share on the Jersey Shore. Hilarity, hookups and high jinks ensue.

Been there, seen that.

A decade and a half before MTV's controversial "Jersey Shore," there was "Down the Shore," a Fox sitcom that was a lot less controversial. A lot less funny, too.

The comedy about three 20-something guys (lifelong pals) and three women (co-workers at a Manhattan ad agency) sharing a house in the fictional town of Belmar Bay debuted in June 1992 and lasted for parts of two seasons.

So why doesn't anyone remember this show? It had a cool theme song: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes' signature "I Don't Want to Go Home" (written by Steve Van Zandt). It also had solid comic pedigree: Its creator was Alan Kirschenbaum, son of Broscht Belt comic Freddy Roman and later an executive producer of "Coach" and creator of "Yes, Dear." One of the supervising producers was Kirschenbaum's high-school buddy Phil Rosenthal, who would go on to co-create "Everybody Loves Raymond" four years later.

The housemates included the one requisite Italian-American: a womanizing garment center worker named Aldo Carbone, played by Australian actor Louis Mandylor. (He'd later star in "Martial Law" and "My Big Fat Greek Life," the TV knockoff of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," in which he also appeared.) As far as we know, no Italian-American anti-defamation groups raised an objection to Aldo's antics.

Aldo fancied himself as the house's resident stud even if in one episode a routine AIDS test made him fear that his fast and loose activities might have come back to haunt him.

We're sure that "Jersey Shore's" Mike "The Situation" is hoping he'll never have to face a situation like that.

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