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Illustration for article titled iJersey Shore/i: A Cheesy Situation
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“It messes with your head… That's why we go crazy. That's why we fight with each other. That's why we drink. We're living in a house for two months with that shit. We can't have cellphones, TV, radio or the Internet. If the President died, we'd have no idea. There's no normalcy. It's just like prison, with cameras.”

That shockingly lucid observation comes from one Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, this month’s Rolling Stone cover girl. (You heard me.) Putting aside the fact that prisoners generally don’t make $30,000 an episode, it’s a fair point, and it does much to, if not absolve, at least explain some of the cast’s more ridiculously dramatic moments. Case in point: Snooki’s breakdown over Vinny bringing home a girl from Karma after Snook had explicitly stated her desire to “cuddle” with the owner of Moby Dick earlier in the evening. Both Ronnie and Vinny rightly point out the hypocrisy of Snooki’s tantrum, considering she was “cuddling” with Gianni only a couple nights prior. But in the harsh light of day, Jenni makes an even more trenchant point: Vinny is Snooki's “safety net,” someone she can fall back on. JWoww may have meant this purely in the libidinal sense—who doesn’t have a “backup” they can call when the net comes up empty after spending the night trawling at Karma—but it likely goes deeper.


Snooki’s clearly desperate for both affection and a steady relationship, the former of which is easy to get from strangers when you have an army of cameramen following you, while the latter is much more difficult. Unlike most of the guys who probably hit on Snooki, Vinny isn’t trying to get on TV, so it makes sense that she’d ascribe more emotional weight to her relationship with him. Does that excuse her behavior? Well, not entirely, but that, combined with the fact that she’s 22, rip-roaring drunk, and being egged on by misery-monger Sammi—whose stance shifts from “be cool and don’t jeopardize your friendship” to “all men are pigs” in the time it takes to do a buttery nipple shot—certainly earns her a few humanity points back. Plus, she later apologizes to Vinny AND cleans up the shit-smeared bathroom! What a gal!

Aside from Snooki’s wallow, there wasn’t much in the way of “drama” this episode—shockingly, considering it marked Sammi’s return to the house. Yeah, there was a little bit of awkwardness at the top of the hour when Sammi came flouncing in while Ron was trying to concentrate on blending. But they somehow managed to avoid another heated discussion over who was “done”-er, with Sammi content to torture Ron with her purple dress and drunken verbal jabs. But it’s a far cry from the heights of passive-aggressive-to-aggressive-aggressiveness these two are capable of scaling. By the end of the episode, they even manage to go out on a sober date with Snooki—though judging from Sammi’s comments that Ron’s really “matured” in the last four days or so, we’re about as “done” with these two as they are with each other.


With only mild drama coming from both the Snooki and SamRon camps, Jersey Shore was forced to turn to its other standby storyline: HIJINKS! And, being that this is The Shit Season, much of it had to do with dookie. (“Poop” even got its own title-card call-out this week. Expect it to be added to the opening credits next season, complete with “I’m the shit, bro!” overdub.) Once the roommates can’t deal with the smell of shit “perminating” the air anymore, somebody pokes Danny with a stick and reminds him that he’s still these bozos’ landlord. He sends over Young Tony Soprano to unclog the drain and flirt with Snooki, who’s totally down to “hang out” with the fat plumber. (Why wouldn’t Vinny feel honored to be held in her high esteem?) His discovery of what’s clogging the toilet—a size small wife-beater—leads to much ribbing of its owner, Vinny, who’s probably feeling a little more sympathy for the owner of the mysterious soiled panties a couple episodes back.

But shockingly, the episode’s funniest moment didn’t involve alcohol or human excrement (at least not in the literal sense). After Team Sober—Ron, Sammi, and Snooki—return home from getting malteds or whatever at Beach Bar, they decide to pull a prank on Mike in retaliation for sending Snooki and Deena to NYC and… well, just being a cock, really. Generally the Jersey Shore cast’s idea of a “prank” lands somewhere between jumping out and scaring someone and farting on a pillow, but even though their prank fell into the standard “put something disgusting in/on/under someone’s bed” JS prank milieu, it was pretty great in terms of execution and results. Mere hours after Snooki, Sammi, and Ron create a three-cheese sandwich under Situation’s mattress, he arrives home with a nice young lady, to whom he immediately credits the odor and kicks out of the house after letting her give him head. (That Mike, always keeping his eyes on the prize.) It was no Pauly D’s Duckphone Duet or JWoww poppin’ a squat behind the bar at Karma, but this is what passes for comedy on Jersey Shore, and if it's what they have to do to keep from going insane and clawing each other’s eyes out, more power to ’em.


Stray observations

  • Okay, what was the bleeped out word they were using to describe Vinny’s shirt? A “shit tee”? A “tit tee”? Is this some guido lingo I don’t know, or just another indecipherable neologism? (See also, Deena’s “hystatic,” which she claims is a combination of “happy” and “ecstatic”—you know, basically the same thing.)
  • Oh that JWoww, always peeing in public.
  • Sammi’s first comment to Ron: “You look pale,” which in guido-speak means “You look terrible.” Yup, total sweetheart, that one. See also: “Their beer goggles are terrrrible.”
  • The Dominican girls that Pauly and Vinny bring home—and fuck in the same room, gross—don’t even get hugs as the boys send them on their way, just high fives.
  • Was Snooki trying to clean the toilet with dishwashing liquid?
  • I appreciate JWoww’s safe-sex clinic with Mike, who has somehow reached the age of 57 without learning that herpes can be spread through oral sex, though the implication that a yeast infection is an STD is kind of unfair coming from someone who spends so much time wearing tight pants and urinating in public without wiping.

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