A girl I know insisted that I get back to my Jersey Shore column. I had some notes lying around for the fifth episode, so here’s what came out of it.
Guess this means I have to go back and watch more episodes now. I look forward to the day where I don’t have to do that, or more accurately, to a day when I don’t feel obliged to concede to pop-culture trends for web traffic/ take requests from cute girls just so we can “smoosh”. (God damn it that I know that phrase…)
Oh, and as far as I can tell, the above magazine cover is real. That existed on a newsstand somewhere. If print is dead, that’s maybe the reason.
So it’s been a while since I updated my Jersey Shore project. After covering the first four episodes,I took notes on the fifth one, but then I got distracted by just about everything else that I deemed more important. I do enjoy writing this column, since it’s one of the few socially-acceptable places for me to unleash my most sarcastic instincts, but I also don’t love bagging on the same people over and over, even if they’re literally asking for it. But I am interested in why this show still captivates so many millions, and I’m definitely an obsessive-compulsive completist, so I do plan to finish at least the first season.
Since I last posted on Jersey Shore, a lot has happened:
The entire second season has aired.
It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the cast are all household names by now.
The Situation was cast on one of TV’s most popular shows, Dancing With The Stars
. Though he was dropped from that competition early on, he can console himself with the impending release of his book next month
(and the frustrated tears of thousands of unpublished authors who actually have talent.)
Meanwhile, Snooki was arrested for drunk-and-disorderly conduct, and was told by a judge: “Rude, profane, obnoxious & self-indulgent is not the way you want to go through life.” Dean Wormer is alive and well and working a bench in New Jersey. (If Jersey Shore were Animal House – which it isn’t, because it isn’t awesome – Snooki would clearly be Flounder.)
As for J-Woww, she has reportedly turned down an offer to appear in Playboy
magazine. I’m hoping that this is show-business doubletalk for “Hugh Hefner
heard about it and shut it down,” but who really knows or cares. As Jersey Shore
fans already know, J-Woww being paid to be naked is the definition of redundant.
And those are the memorable characters. The only sadder distinction than being a standout Jersey Shore character is probably to be one of the lesser-known characters on Jersey Shore.
So there’s plenty to be proud of.
I know that most of you are way ahead of me on this show, and if I start this up again where I left off, I’m going to be talking about stuff that you watched months ago, but I’m going to keep this column going anyway. Either you’ll enjoy my take on things, or you’ll disregard it entirely and I’ll have achieved an act of stupidity on par with Pauly D’s haircut. So Episode Five. Let’s go…
This episode picks up where the last one left off, with Snooki balled up on the floor of some shit bar, wailing . I said what I said about the Snooki-punch incident
, and I stand by it, but my sympathies have shifted to include the poor cops and medical personnel who no doubt are routinely called out on this kind of unnecessary scene. It didn’t have to happen in the first place. “Jersey Shore, bitch!” “Wooo!” That’s great. Some people actually sign up to be EMTs to help people. Sad that this goes with their territory.
The controversy built into the incident is that it turns out that beforehand, Situation was buying shots for the group of guys that included the one who hit Snooki. Not only that, but in the middle of the aftermath, as the cops take names and J-Woww tends to Snooki, Situation tries to pick up on some girl. Ronnie notices and is bothered by Situation’s callous single-mindedness – rightfully so. When your behavior is so sociopathic that a guy like Ronnie is your voice of reason, you might be too far gone for salvation to reach you.
The incident is then dropped abruptly, and the episode cuts to the next day, as if it hadn’t happened. It’s kind of like an episode of The Simpsons, where the opening scene is a non-sequitur set-up leading into the main story. And the skin tones are similarly nuclear.
So in the morning, Ronnie’s whole family shows up. He’s eager to introduce them to Sammi – again, these two can’t have known each other for more than a week, but okay, suspension of disbelief and all that. Sammi takes forever to get ready, which prompts Ronnie’s mom to loudly bellow her potential disapproval. When Sammi gets downstairs, everyone acts nice and perfectly fake and they head to the boardwalk.
Meanwhile, so do Snooki and J-Woww, who bond by drinking heavily. Snooki gets notification that the guy who punched her is already out on bail. Before Snooki can express her dismay, J-Woww asks, “Do you want to go tanning later?” Snooki takes her up on the offer. Cancerlicious!
The punching incident has brought the house together, in a way. There’s slightly less acrimony, slightly more positive development. Pauly D has a brief scene where he books a DJing performance, meaning he’s one of the cast members who demonstrably works. (It’s an important distinction, since already we’ve seen most of them blow off their jobs at the T-shirt stand.)
That night, Situation cooks for the house. Lobster. The lobster is super-red – it could pass for one of the cast members. Snooki is freaked; she claims to have worked previously as “a vet tech” so it distresses her to see crustaceans in jeopardy. When they all sit down to eat, everybody laughs at Snooki’s difficulty eating – “because she’s disabled.” What was that I implied earlier about signs of sensitivity?
After dinner, there’s conflict over the clean-up – inevitable, maybe. Situation insists that because he’s the one who cooked, he shouldn’t have to clean. Sammi disagrees. This is the real inevitability: After Angelina, Sammi is the show’s most undeservedly privileged character. Ronnie’s right – she’s a total catch. Who wouldn’t get serious about her? The argument fizzles, but afterwards Ronnie and J-Woww discuss their shared dislike for Situation. (Sometimes Jersey Shore reminds me of HBO’s prison drama Oz, the way allegiances are both moment-to-moment and life-or-death.)
The next big Jersey Shore
setpiece is a group day on a boat, one of those completely debauched Spring Break kind of scenes where a bunch of stupid drunk kids drive a bunch of boats up against each other and proceed to act out their least creative natural instincts. I have to tell you, I’m ruined for scenes like this, ever since Piranha 3D
. Nothing like that happens here, obviously, but hell, [read this in Matthew McConaughey voice] it would’ve been a whole lot cooler if it had.
Here’s what does happen: The gang dances on the boat, except for Ronnie and Sammi. Ronnie wants to go over and ‘beat on the beat’, but Sammi won’t let him. Typical high school girlfriend. Ronnie eventually breaks free, and promptly tosses Snooki into the lake. Also, I get an answer to a question I’ve been wondering about, when it’s proven conclusively that Pauly D’s Troll-doll hair is waterproof.
Later, Pauly, Vinnie, and Mike invite a trio of girls over. They like these ones, because “they aren’t whores.” Why judge, fellas? Mary Magdalene and all that?
Meanwhile, in another corner of the same club, some girl who didn’t sign a release form calls Snooki fat, so J-Woww throws her drink and then many punches. (J-Woww’s fighting style resembles her dance moves, almost precisely. Jersey Shore offers many examples of both, so I feel like I’m calling this one right.)
A few more things happen before the episode staggers to an end. Pauly and Mike learn that they’re making a name for themselves in the area, which predictably thrills them. Still, that doesn’t prevent Situation from getting stood up that same night. In other news, Ronnie laughs at J-Woww’s boyfriend Tommy because the guy tries too hard (Ronnie must have left his sense of irony in his other pants), Snooki eats a sausage (literally, not colloquially), and in the episode’s cliffhanger, Vinny accidentally hooks up with a cougar who turns out to be Danny’s girlfriend. Danny is their boss at the T-shirt stand.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
That I am probably the only person on the planet who has ever compared Jersey Shore to both Oz and The Simpsons.
Other than that, nothing as usual.
Although I will say this – the more evidence I see of the Jersey Shore cast dancing, the more it’s becoming obvious that these people dance really, really funny. I mean, if Urkel or Carlton or Elaine Benes had pulled this shit, it would have been considered over the top. I had no idea that you could dance like this in public and still be considered a viable sexual partner. (Of course, on Jersey Shore the only criteria for that particular reward seems to be whether or not the parts line up.) Can somebody tell me if that’s how it went when Situation was on Dancing With The Stars? Because if people were running around ‘beating on the beat’ on Dancing With The Stars, I might actually watch Dancing With The Stars.