Tonight, readers, we are all in for a very special programming event. Because tonight marks the debut broadcast of Barbara Walters meeting with the cast of “Jersey Shore” — and it promises to be epic.

The entire cast will be featured in one person’s slot (fair) on Walters’ annual 10 Most Fascinating People, and they will be appearing alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and Betty White.

According to, Walters didn’t know much about the cast of “Jersey Shore” before she interviewed them, but she had this to say about meeting them:

“…they taught me their language, none of which I need to know.”

This gives me hope that Walters thought she was interviewing life from another planet going into the meeting, and continued to think that throughout the interview, and conducted the interview accordingly.

But what does it mean that the cast of “Jersey Shore” is one of the most fascinating people of the year? What’s fascinating about them, if anything?

Well, I’ll tell you why I watched the show, and it was pretty much one reason only: it allowed me to witness a lifestyle that I never would have seen otherwise. I learned that among the Snookis and Situations of the world, there are certain codes of conduct (GTL, among so many others), as well as certain standards (guys can have one-night stands but girls can’t), ways of dressing (T-shirt time for the boys, leopard print for the girls), and certain values (clubs are fun).

Now, you might ask: why should we care about this lifestyle? But I say, why should you not care? The fact is that they exist, and honestly, if you’ll sit and watch a nature show about how a centipede eats a grasshopper, you should be equally enthralled by how certain subsets of young people on the East Coast conduct their lives.

Now, for those of you who want to jump to your keyboards and say that the lifestyle is fabricated by editors and producers, let me be the first to disabuse you of that notion. Yes, the show is produced and edited, meaning that at times, producers ask questions in order to get cast members to say what they need, and editors make it all look interesting. But the way people react to situations, the things they say, the way they interact with one another — you can’t make that shit up, because even with the best of editing you can’t turn someone into someone they’re not.

But aside from all that, I’m beginning to think that what’s really fascinating about the cast members might simply be the fact that they’re fascinating at all. Our feelings towards them, after all, say a lot about us. Maybe they let you feel superior and that’s why you love to hate them. Or maybe you’re one of millions of people out there who would love to be them. Or maybe you’re like me, and you just like to watch.

And watch I plan to! At 10 p.m. tonight on ABC.