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'Jersey Shore' recap: Ruined relationships, but perfect hair

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The Guido is a fascinating specimen. It migrates south in the summer from its traditional stomping grounds in Staten and Long Islands to the glittering shores of New Jersey. The males can be recognized by their faux-brown coat and a thick mane of immovable hair. Like in most species, the female appears to be attracted to the strongest in the group. After the requisite 15-20 minutes of courtship they begin their mating ritual, scientifically known as “vibing.” A group of Guidi (the plural) is known as a gaggle.

Being half-Italian and from Jersey, I see it as my duty to take a step back and study the Guidos and Guidettes of MTV’s latest reality show Jersey Shore from a sociological perspective. Unlike my editor Mike Bruno, whose offended take I can totally understand even if I don’t share it, I’m generally more amused than annoyed. Yeah, these guys and gals are trashier than the Newark city dump on delivery day, but reality TV is all about stretching stereotypes way past the point of any reality. That’s what makes the genre so Alanis-level ironic and so guiltily enjoyable.

In any case, last night’s episode was more of what we’ve come to expect from the show: sex, drama, wife-beaters, sex, clubbing, sex and sex. Using my very limited math skills, I’ve determined that there are only 16 possible romantic combinations of Guidos and Guidettes, provided the boys don’t give in to the homoeroticism that permeates the house like hairspray. In only three episodes (and two weeks) they’ve managed to steamroll through most of those possibilities, with the men shedding gal-pals nearly as quickly as their t-shirts. The sexuality isn’t so much boiling over as sloshed all over the stove top and the floor with the housemates rolling around in it, giggling. Speaking of which, Ronnie dropped quite possibly the most romantic line ever uttered about a woman, referring to Sammi, “For her I’ll roll around in my s— all day.” He’s practically Prince Charming with a roast beef neck.

Ronnie and The Situation (which sounds like an ’80s wedding band) squared off over Sammi, while J-WOWW (if that is her real name) dealt with the aftermath of hooking up with Pauly D while still technically having a boyfriend. Despite visits from both beaus, with J-WOWW’s showing up like a knight on a white steed (or Escalade) with a fistful of roses, the prior relationships crumbled over a series of tearful duck-phone conversations. Angelina took it poorly, clashing with everyone including Danny, the boss, who shouldn’t be confused with “the Boss,” since Bruce would have kicked that Jersey girl to the curb instead of just whining to the bathroom door. Unable to take the emotional pressure (or the constant quacking of the phone) Angelina departed with very little protest from the others or from me.

Snooki (or Snickers, or Snooker) hasn’t been playing much of a role since she threatened to leave, but she did invite her friend over to the house in order to make out with her in the hot tub, much to the flustered pleasure of The Situation. It might just be me, but is Snookums (or Sneakers, or Snick at Night) getting increasingly orange as the series goes on? Between her diminutive stature and her day-glo tan, she’s starting to resemble a sloppy, drunken Oompa Loompa. What do you get when you’re so boozy?/Making out with anyone in the Jacuzzi!

The show is watchable only because it’s so ridiculous. It’s like a NJ Transit train wreck, it’s hard to look away even when you know that your fervently Italian-American grandmother would beat you to death with a wooden spoon if she knew you were watching it. But can a series so predicated on upping the ante possibly sustain itself? They’ve already lost a cast member, and there are only a finite number of hook-up options left, so it’s hard not to think that it’ll eventually collapse into itself like some sort of low-brow supernova of bad taste. The Situation, in a surprising moment of eloquence, summed up his departed housemate like this: “Angelina was just a half-assed firecracker. It fizzled out real quick and made a loud noise.” It seems to me like that line could just as well be describing the show itself.

Those of you who caught the whole spectacle, what do you think? Were you sad to see Angelina pack her trash bags and leave, or do you say good riddance to bad rubbish? How do you think the love triangle (quadrangle? (pentagon??)) will resolve itself? Do you even care? Will somebody eventually lose an eye to Pauly D’s hair? Sound off below while I go wash my TV screen; I think it’s leaking hair gel.

Photo Credit: Scott Gries/Picture Group/MTV

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