Oh, go ahead! Judge away. I would!….But allow me to explain:I managed to stay away from The Jersey Shore until Season Three. At that point cool-ass Ryan accused me of being judgmental, because I was expressing extreme disdain for a show I had never even seen. So I agreed to watch an episode, and went about it like a a dumb-ass in a movie theater: ‘Who’s that one? Who’s she with? Why is that guy with abs so douchey?’ (answer: ‘Which one?’) and so on. I was appalled, and yet fascinated by this little group of drunks. Mostly fascinated by their lack of modesty, inhibition and discretion. It definitely wasn’t a show for me. I am waaay above this kind of thing. Right? That weekend, however, while folding laundry, I came upon a marathon, so I stopped on MTV for ‘just a second’ (since I now had that ‘familiarity’ with the house) – and looking back, I may as well have planted myself in Jersey Shore quicksand, because I’ve been watching it ever since. I try and never speak of it – unless I know that another person is watching it, and then we yap about it incessantly. The fact that I watch the Jersey Shore has rendered me mute from criticizing other people’s choices in tv land….The Housewife Shows, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Whitney, The Bachelorette, The Kardashians- all shows that make me gag- are now subjects I don’t comment on – at least not in real life.
At this point- if you don’t watch the show, you may as well stop reading. I’m not going to recap, explain who’s who, or talk much about past episodes. I’m concentrating on Season 5, Episode 2, which aired last week. I think it may be the one show, so far, that tried to do the most with nothing. I sense the sun beginning to set on this Jersey Shore Crowd- slowly, but it’s coming. The cast is at that awkward point where they are getting a little too old for this ‘lifestyle’- and I notice I’m not glued to the screen anymore. I’m not concerned with missing little details, but I’m still watching. Only time will tell.
This episode starts out with Vinny in a very bad place. Evidently, seeing his mother at the ‘Welcome Home’ party (they’d been in Italy) was triggering something sad and dark within him. That thing: He missed his Mommy! Not just in an offhand, roundabout way- but in a way that was causing ‘anxiety attacks’. If you had not been able to see the screen, and could only hear Vin’s audio- you may have pictured him stranded in the desert, or deathly ill. (Please allow me to paraphrase) “I was already spinning-emotionally’ Vinnie says, swirling a finger-helicopter in demonstration, ‘and seeing my family really puts the washing machine on overload!’ Since Vin’s actual motto is ‘Gym, Tan, Laundry’, I trust that he knows an overloaded washing machine when he sees one. Here, a scene from the party rolls. Tears fall fom Vin, as he pats them with a restaurant napkin, his Mom leaning over him, saying ‘Awwwww, Vin….” Soon after he announces: ‘I have nothing left in me, Bro. I can’t function in this environment.” The ‘environment’ to which he refers, is the Jersey Shore House and his job, which is essentially drinking, tanning and gelling up his hair. The cast has gone from making $10,000 an episode in season 2, to $30,000 in season 3, to $100,000 PER episode in Season 4. This does not include appearance fees and endorsements, of which they have many. If you assume they still only make $100,000 per episode for season 5, with roughly 13 episodes, that’s some pretty nice cabbage for doing what I did in my early twenties for free!
But this does not stop Vinny from whining incessantly about his ‘state-of-mind’. “I got nothin left to give!’ he cries. I wanna go home!” The rest of the house becomes uber-concerned with Vinny’s plight. Ronnie racks his brain (evident from the smoke coming out of his ears) to come up with a way to help. ‘How do I talk this kid off the Ledge?’ he wonders ‘Coz I know he wants to jump!’
After hearing all of this complaining from newly ‘emo’ Vin, I couldn’t help yelling at the television, from my vantage-point in the kitchen, where I was doling out cat food: “Oh, for God’s sake, Vinny! You live in Staten freakin’ Island. Get in your damn car and make the 30 minute exodus to your mommy’s house!”….But then I hear Vinny say this: ’At this point, I’m not even thinking rationally. I’m burnt out- but I’m pushin through.” (Oh my God! What a trooper!) “but…a car can only get so far on fumes, y’know?” It suddenly occurs to me: these kids have been so coddled and pampered-not to mention inebriated- could it be that the Escalade is literally on ‘E’ and Vinny doesn’t know he can purchase more gas? Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, it’s time to go to everyone’s favorite night club, Karma (the theory of which is proven null and void by the very existence of this show, and the success it has brought upon its cast. Though admittedly, the long run is still unaccounted for) So- it’s off to drink, dance and drink…Snooki, Jionni, Sitch and Ryder -Snooki’s DTFE (means DTF with everyone) head to the Club, where Snooki is very nervous about Jionni finding out that she’s been ‘friendly’ with Situation. I can see her point. Who would want to admit that? Lots of clips here of loud, souless music, drunk people, and tight clothing. Brightly colored crotch triangles, (one thanks the Lord for underwear, and for club-goers remembering to wear it) and fake breasts spilling over bustiers like regulation dams trying to slow down Niagra Falls. All very classy. But in the midst of all this- something unexpected, forboding, possibly dangerous. I’ll let the Situation explain:
“ALL OF A SUDDEN: THUNDER. LIGHTNING. POURING!” Yes, people- it had begun to rain! It’s one of those moments that really makes you think. Maybe I really don’t know what these guys go through. I mean- it’s really easy to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes until you witness something like this. Mike continues: “EVERBODY’S RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES RIGHT NOW!” Sure enough, there they go…Snooki’s punctuating every sloppy step with ‘ow!’- as in ‘owowowowowowowow’ sounding like a little piggy-toe on it’s way home after slamming itself into the corner of the dresser, Jionni’s pink shirt resembles a washed up salmon exposing it’s soft, white underbelly and Ryder takes her shoes off and flies- coz she’s the kinda gal that definitely doesn’t mind dirty feet. Mike yells out directions at every corner: “THIS WAY!” “Over Here!” leading the Italian Battalion, as they successfully barrel their way to safety. It’s all very touch and go- but they make it home, dripping water all over the house, like sopping, dirty sponges – in the process giving the place the best cleaning it’s had all week.
There is much drying off, changing and borrowing of clothes, and Situation lends Jionni some dry clothes to Snooki’s chagrin. Sitch finds it easy to lend clothes to Snooki’s man because: “We share girls- why not underwear?” I agree. It’s important to build up your resistance. Then they get some messy, ‘we’re buzzed and hungry’ wee hours of the morning, cooking started. Jionni volunteers to cook for both Snooki and Sitch, but Snooki doesn’t want them buddying up. She feels she’s signed up for something she wasn’t aware of, and she’s resentful: ‘Jiminy Cricket! I didn’t know this was gonna be some kind of cook festival!’ she says, rolling her eyes, before stomping off to her room, with Jionni following behind. Still, Situation is not deterred, and delivers room service egg sandwiches (on hamburger buns) to them, while Snooki sighs. The door shuts and then Sitch then turns to the camera and makes a sinister confession: ‘I am the Master of Deception. I can act like anyone’s best friend. All it is is- you gotta know how to play chess (‘No way Mike Sorrentino knows how to play chess’ – the earth) “If you don’t know how to play chess- maybe drop down and play checkers” Mike, honey….let’s master Candyland first, then we’ll talk. Good night, errebody!
The next day, Vinny shows up to work at The Vulgar-A-T-Shirt Shop, whoops! I mean, Shore Store, several hours late. He walks in crackin’ wise about being late for his fake job, smiling as if his presence is a gift he is about to bestow upon his boss. Nothing but smiles all around. Vinny feels that creating wife-beaters with slogans like: ‘Did You Get It In?’, “My Boyfriend’s Crazier Than Ronnie’(which, on a wife beater is irony to the tenth power) or the ever classy infant onesies proclaiming “I’ve got a Situation In My Diaper” will put him in a more peaceful place. He also decides his’ boss’ should be apprised of his mental condition, and the two stroll off to bond. “I have clinical anxiety!’ Vinny confesses. Boss: “You just got it?” Vinny: “Yes. I caught it from handling raw chicken” No, silly!- he didn’t say that! He just said he’s had it for awhile.
It’s pretty evident at this point that Vin will be leaving the house. The problem is that whenever anyone threatens to leave, there isn’t (can’t be) a person in the audience who believes for a minute that they will give up this cush gig no matter what they say. Ex-roommate Angelina left, back in the early days- but that was before they were making the big bucks. Plus- she may have been pushed out- the animosity level was that high on both sides. From here, the show takes a few interesting twists- such as Ronnie and Paulie D’s attempt to cheer up Vinny by staging a ‘Guys Day’ which involves ‘Mani’s and Pedi’s’ (sound of scratching record) or as one of the guys says: ‘Y’know – Guy Stuff’ (sound of skidding, followed by breaking glass) because Vinnie feels a girly pedicure will help him ‘get through’-somehow. (Asian girl, who makes less than minimum wage and works twelve hours a day dealing with ugly feet and hairy legs, stares at Vinny and mentally pictures his head getting blown off, video game style) From here- we go, once again, to Karma, where even the electronica music that automatically plays as soon as they set foot outside after dark, fails to elicit even half a fist pump out of Vinnie. At the Club, Snooki proceeds to try and peel her own clothes off, flashes her butt, feels herself up, blacks out, and tumbles off of her seat onto the floor. Gionni picks up the crumpled pile of laundry (oh wait! That’s Snooki) and is thanked by being called a f***** a-hole by the ungrateful little bit- I mean- cherub. After a few clips of Vinny walking around alone in the bar, the crew decides to call it a night. Or maybe the bar closed, who can remember. Either way, they stumble home. Jionni deposits the near comatose Snooki onto the bed, then flops in himself (he’s exhausted after a long night of babysitting!The kind where the kids raid the liquor cabinet) but before he goes to sleep, a decorative pillow catches his eye. It’s black with silver sparkles, and he points to a spot on it and says to Snooki ‘That’s called semen, right?’ Snooki groggily looks over: ‘What?’ Again, Jionni points and says ‘this is semen’….(look- in this house there’s a good chance it is, people!) Snooki says no, and they cut to another scene. It’s not until the next day that it hits me: Jionni meant ‘Sequins!’…I’m tellin ya- only on Jersey Shore…..
(It all ended with Vinny leaving the house. Whatever. I’m sure all is not as it seems. He’ll be back. My guess. So my confession is that the Jersey Shore is my dirty little secret. What’s yours?)