Jersey Shore" finally -- and mercifully -- concludes Thursday (10 p.m., MTV) after six seasons of spray-on tans, easy hookups, multiple arrests and general buffoonery.

Six seasons. Really? Has it really been that long since with we met up with a band of reality TV knuckleheads featuring Snooki, The Situation, JWoww and the others? It's amazing what we American TV viewers can endure.

When it debuted on MTV in December 2009, "Jersey Shore" appeared to be just another bottom-feeding example of the reality format that rounds up a group of young adults to live, party and sleep together in close confines. But this brazen bunch immediately set themselves apart with their debaucherous adventures, colorful lingo and self-indulgent ways.

They stirred up controversy by wallowing in Italian-American stereotypes and for their liberal use of ethnic slurs. And they introduced a number of terms, like "GTL," "gorilla," "smushed," "juiced" and "grenade," into the vernacular of their impressionable young fans.

And like it or not (I never did), "Jersey Shore" became a pop-cultural phenomenon. At the show's peak, the house mates from Seaside Heights, N.J. attracted more than 8 million viewers and provided MTV with a brash, irreverent identity. In a recent interview with the New York Daily News, Chris Linn, MTV's vice president of programming, referred to the "Jersey Shore" gang as "the greatest sitcom cast on television."

That's one way to describe them. Dim wits might be another. Dim wits who made us feel a lot smarter -- and much better about ourselves.

And now, they moving on. Of course, we're not completely done with them yet. Snooki and JWoww have a spin-off show that launches its second season on MTV in early January, and some of the others are sure to keep popping up here and there.

Lord, give us strength.

Contact Chuck Barney at cbarney@bayareanewsgroup.com. Read his TV blog at http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/tv and follow him at http://twitter.com/chuckbarney, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney.