THE SHOW "The Show With Vinny"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Thursday night at 10 on MTV

WHAT IT'S ABOUT In a modest middle-class Cape on Staten Island, a talk show is born, starring former "Jersey Shore" cast member Vinny Guadagnino, as himself, along with his mother, Paola Giaimo, who cooks -- and does plenty of talking herself -- and sisters, Antonella and Mariann Guadagnino. There's also a special appearance by Uncle Nino (whom we've previously met on "Jersey Shore"), bearing gifts (his own blend of wine, or we think it's wine). The premiere -- previewed last month following the "MTV Movie Awards" -- featured in-home interviews with Lil Wayne and YouTube comedy star Jenna Marbles. Future guests include Jenny McCarthy, Kat Graham, A$AP Rocky and Mark Wahlberg.

MY SAY "The Show With Vinny" is a certifiable mess. It's as if this were a talk show performed as a card trick, where the deck is tossed in the air and the cards haphazardly flutter to the ground. It's the anti-talk show, the talk show that isn't a talk show, the talk show from another planet -- that would be Staten Island -- talk show. And yet, in a weirdly unexpected way, it almost works -- and potentially could work.

The real stars -- the ones who caught our eye and made us laugh (or made me laugh) -- are Paola and Nino, but "The Show With Paola and Nino and Vinny" is probably too long a title, so "The Show With Vinny" will have to do.

As a host, Vinny needs work -- a lot of work. He laughs too hard (mostly at his own observations, or in the manner of an obsequious infomercial pitch- man). His questions are lame, incurious and star-struck. (Vinny, you have Wayne and all you can ask about is his fashion line and skateboarding skills?)

But there's charm here and -- you may hate me for saying this -- even some promise. Most of all, the host is very nearly likable. Now, he just has to grow a talk-show-host brain.

BOTTOM LINE Let's count our blessings: At least this isn't "The Show With Snooki."