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Illustration for article titled iJersey Shore/i: “Damage Is Done”
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Let’s kick tonight’s Jersey Shore recap off with a good ol’ fashioned psychosis showdown: Snooki’s self-delusion vs. Mike’s persecution complex. Which of the show’s two breakout stars displayed greater emotional impairment tonight?

Mike made a valiant early-episode grab for the title with his mind-boggling, cumbersomely named “Gym, Tan, Who’s The Rat” stratagem. After Snooki confronts him (by “confronts him” I, of course, mean “throws glass bottles at him”) about blabbing once again about their alleged hookup, Sitch concocts a plan so convoluted you could almost deem it sophisticated, if only it weren’t so dumb.


Now, I’ve been drinking from my comically oversized bottle of 1981 chianti all night, so I might not have all the twists and turn of this scheme down, but bear with me: Situation calls The Unit (oh good, another piece of my soul just died after typing that) to confirm his story that, while watching Unit have sex with Snooki’s friend Ryder, Snooki became so aroused that she promptly shrunk from 4-foot-9 to 2-foot-9 IF YOU GET WHAT I’M SAYING I THINK YOU DO. Unit confirms that this erotic transmogrification did in fact transpire, and the two chums share a hearty chuckle and hang up. Sitch then goes to Ronnie and tells him that he called The Unit to tell him to call Jionni, which is a lie. Sammi walks by and overhears, and promptly goes to tell Deena, events that Mike witnesses with his own two eyes. So, if I’m understanding correctly, Mike’s plan is to find out which one person (Jenni) is telling Snooki the truth—that he was talking about their alleged hookup the night before—by telling three people (none of whom are Jenni) a lie so extreme that at least one of them, by virtue of being a socially functioning human being, would have to tell her. Solid plan, Sitch.

After Sammi tells Snooki Mike’s lie, she freaks out at him—rightly so, I’d argue, but just barely—until he convinces her that it was a lie, a lie he told so that she would learn to come to him when she hears these things, rather than listen to other people. He’s teaching her a lesson, see? This has absolutely nothing to do with Mike’s go-to defensive tactic of transferring blame, nor is it an example of a persecution complex so deep and murky that Mike has resorted to actually creating scenarios in which he is a victim of his own actions; no, he’s simply trying to make Snooki a better person, one who goes to her pathologically lying “friend” for the truth rather than listening to others—who happen to be telling her the truth. Make sense? Of course it doesn’t, this is Jersey Shore! Take another swig of that dusty 1981 red and let’s move on to our second contender!


Snooki is certainly not an innocent victim in this scenario, and while the rest of the housemates—even Pauly and Vinny—are over Sitch’s games, they’re also clearly finding it harder to believe Snooki’s claim that nothing happened between her and Sitch, especially after her hookup with Vinny mere hours (minutes?) after her sorta-breakup with Jionni. But Snooki is clinging to her innocence by the tips of her acrylics, and after waking up in Vinny’s bed, she has a whole new guilt bomb to defuse.

Vinny knows Snooki had sex with him. Vinny’s roommates, Pauly and Deena, know she had sex with him. Mike knows she had sex with him, because Vinny and Pauly told him. (Smooth move, guys. That definitely won’t have any repercussions.) But though she claims in the morning to Jenni that she was “not that drunk” upon climbing into his bed and that it was a “rebound reaction,” Snooki maintains that she did not have sex with Vinny. Or if she did, she doesn’t remember. Or maybe they just hooked up? She’s tap-dancing as fast as she can to figure out not only how to justify this to herself, but also how to spin this so that Jionni will both forget that she dumped him and overlook her infidelity, because Jionni has displayed a very mature and rational attitude about those kind of things in the past.


Well, Mama Jenni is having none of it. Still exhausted from Jionni’s Grand Exit, she takes a pragmatic, rational view of the situation when Snooki brings it up during the girls’ winery tour: Jionni won’t forgive you, your relationship is over, you need to accept that. But Snooki doesn’t want Mama Jenni telling it to her straight; she wants her friend JWoww telling her it’ll all be okay, and she’s right, she almost certainly didn’t do the bad thing three other people watched her do, she’s really a good girl who just made a poor decision, etc. Snooki’s not happy with Jenni, but at least her despair and anger—dispanger?—gives her and the rest of the girls something to focus on during their tour of centuries-old Italian wineries other than learning about wine, something they’ve thus far responded to by yawning, looking at their phones, and sleeping on top of wine casks. USA! USA! USA!

By the time the girls get back and the boys return from exploring the many branches of Vinny’s Sicilian family tree, Snooki has decided that she was in fact blacked out and doesn’t remember what happened, but she and Vinny probably just hooked up, which is what she’s going to tell Jionni. But first she’s going to yell at him for changing his Facebook status to “single.” (“That means it’s official!!”) Good plan, Snooks. But somehow, despite her poor timing and his history of being a giant cockweasel, Jionni forgives Snooki (who pulls out some top-notch groveling) for doing whatever sexual act it was that I couldn’t decipher through MTV’s bleeps and Snooki’s flaccid lips.


Except… after hanging up and celebrating with a brain-hemorrhage-inducing shriek, Snooki realizes her slapdash version of events won’t hold once word gets back to Jionni, and especially not once this episode airs. So she goes to Vinny to fill in the blanks of what happened during her “blackout,” to which he basically responds, “Duh, we fucked, you know that.” And with that, Snooki’s protective wall of self-delusion crumbles, she calls Jionni, and the episode ends. It seems Mike’s narcissistic defense system has outlasted Snooki’s tonight, but judging by the scenes for next week—Ronnie and Sam are done…with Mike’s games, that is—that might not be the case much longer.

Stray observations

  • The boys’ Sicilian vacation consisted of awkwardly hugging the 700 or so members of Vinny’s extended family, eating pasta, and staring into the distance trying to think of something poignant to say.
  • Mike’s un-styled hair is basically a butt-cut, yes?
  • Why are these people always rolling suitcases around the streets of Venice? And why didn’t Snooki just put the comically large bottle of 1981 chianti inside said suitcase. Probably because she was too busy chasing after nuns and flashing her vag.
  • “Come si dice ‘This sucks balls’?”
  • “This time couldn’t have come more perfect.” Deena talk good.
  • Mike’s pop-cultural touchstone for Sicily? The Godfather Part II. Vinny’s? Jurassic Park.
  • “We look so classy.” “Nicole, did you fart?” “Yeah.”
  • Snooki running out of the winery and barreling off in no direction in particular was a little reminiscent of Wet Hot American Summer.
  • Sam and Ronnie have been a functioning, happy couple for four episodes now. You guys, I’m scared.

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