Ronnie fights Sammi, The Situation, various pieces of furniture...but ultimately, he's really just fighting himself. Deep!
Jersey Shore, Mike Sorrentino
Credit: MTV
Jersey Shore Family Vacation CR: MTV
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In all truth and bitter honesty, there hasn’t been any rhyme or reason to the titles of these recaps so far this season. I love Italian movies (Italian cinema = Russian literature = Swedish pop music = American television = perfection), but the highly anticipated Florentine season of Jersey Shore has been depressingly un-Italian so far. I think that’s why we were all so disappointed by the first few episodes. We all figured that this season would somehow be different: smarter, more extreme, more decadent, just plain weirder. Instead, the shenanigans were depressingly repetitive. The cast seems unwilling to hang with anyone besides freakish blonde glimmer twins. The producers seem equally unwilling to present Italy in even the slightest complexity: I’m sure we’ve all had a good laugh at Sammi and Deena’s Six-Hour-Energy commercial, complete with a dude who sounds like a Russian pretending to be Italian — “Seex Hower Power! Pizza and meatballs, eh tovarisch?” — but that commercial basically sums up the show’s simplistic portrayal of Florence. (By comparison, Seaside Heights was freaking Westeros.)

But last night’s episode gave me hope. And the title of this recap does not lie: the closing showdown was a classic three-way Leone affair. Earlier, Sammi and Ronnie appeared to be so happy to be together again. Third time is the charm, and three hundred is a multiple of three, so this time totally still counted. Ronnie was buying his lady love nice things, and taking her out to nice dinners. “You’ve changed, my darling Ron-Ron,” said Sam, “You’re a different person.” “Burp!” agreed Ronnie.

(Elsewhere in Florence, J-Woww told Snooki about the Hannah Conundrum: Ronnie has been talking on the phone with this mystery girl, who is supposedly just a “friend,” but Jenni is suspicious. The camera actually went into Snooki’s brain, and we saw the whole sordid Miami tale of Letter-Gate play out before our eyes. Shnookums deadpanned: “Let it be.” Kudos to you, Jersey Shore editors!)

But you have to understand, viewers: this new iteration of Relationship Ronnie had a plan. He wasn’t going to let being with Sammi change him. Sometimes, Ol’ Ron-Ron just wants to dance. He can’t help it if random ladies stroll up to him and start gyrating in his radius. But don’t tell Sammi that. At Club YAB, she told Ronnie, “That girl was dancing in your radius!” Ron blanched. “Honeydoll, have you seen my radius? Xenadrine is a hell of a drug.” Sammi apologized, but she specifically apologized in a tone of voice that said, “Why is it that I always have to apologize before you forgive me?”

Ronnie and Sammi are each other’s best friends, but they are also each other’s worst enemies. In a sense, they are as much a creative partnership as they are a romantically-linked couple. They have created some great television together. (Perhaps it was accidental, but plenty of great art is accidental. Science, too: Remember penicillin?) But creating greatness doesn’t necessarily make people closer: Just ask Lennon and McCartney, or Martin and Lewis, or Jobs and Wozniak. When they returned to the Jersey Villa, Ronnie and Sam seemed ready to have a final face-off; a repeat of last season’s knock-down-drag-out war. But then, just like Lee Van Cleef in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, a third party entered the fray.

NEXT: In this metaphor, The Situation is “The Bad”Now, it hadn’t been a particularly successful night for Mr. Situation. He went to all the trouble of finding a girl with a friend for Pauly. But Pauly was not in a flirty mood. Or maybe he was, and Pauly’s mode of flirting is this:

Girl: “Don’t go to bed yet! It’s so early.”

Pauly: “Woman. Come to bed with Pauly.”

Girl: “What? No! Let’s talk about something first.”

Pauly: “Pauly no want talk. Pauly want to role-play. Pauly will be Paul Verhoeven, and Girl will be ‘Female Gender in the 1990s.'”

Somehow the lady proved resistant to Pauly’s charms. So she went to find her galpal, who proclaimed that they were a package deal, and they left. The Situation was not cowed. He phoned his gal Brittany — I think that’s the twin with low self-esteem, right? — and she promised to come over. He rolled into Sam and Ron’s room and gave them some advice: “Remember, you both love each other at the end of the day.” Thanks, Uncle Situation! You always know just what to say.

Except… oh dear. Sitch’s casual drive-by seems to have jostled something in Sam’s memory. She told Ronnie about the incident a few days earlier, when The Situation had claimed that Ronnie had five girls coming over to the house. (Sitch was just repeating one of Ronnie’s boasts, at a time when Ronnie was still in his “Single-Ronnie” manifestation, so it’s hard to say this was really breach of the Bro Code, unless you have a very loose interpretation of the Bro Code, and if you do, then go cry me a river, you dirty pinko liberal.)

Ronnie went into a fury. Like, a full-on Green Hulk fury. “I’m gonna f— him up!” he proclaimed. He took off his shirt. He went into the main room. He found Sitch napping on a couch, and he lifted up the couch. He screamed at Sam, “Tell him what you told me!” Sam told Mike, “You told me that Ronnie had five girls coming over. It was a few days ago. Don’t you remember?” We saw, in flashback, The Situation saying exactly that a few days earlier. “Don’t you remember? Don’t you?”

Sitch: “No.”

Ronnie was in a rage. He didn’t know what to hit. He grabbed Mike’s bed and threw it on the floor. He grabbed Mike’s suitcase and threw it against the wall. He grabbed some oil barrels and threw them at a plumber. He grabbed a watermelon and hit it against his forehead, until there was watermelon everywhere. Ronnie Rage! Sitch tried to reason with him: “Ron, please? Don’t be irrational.”

But then something broke in The Situation. The rage proved infectious. He was frothing at the mouth. “I don’t get involved in your f—ing relationship!” he screamed. “Raaarrrr! You wanna hit me, tough guy? Hit me! Hit me!” I swear to god, he was simultaneously doing a Tyler Durden impression and a Heath Ledger Joker impression, and it was so convincing that I totally thought he had something planned, like when Ronnie swung at him he would bob and weave and grab Ronnie’s face and whisper, “I’m gonna make this pencil disappear.”

But instead, Ronnie tackled him into an overturned bed. The women started crying. The impotent men did nothing but gawk. Can The Situation survive a piledrive-tackle from Relationship Ronnie? Tune in on Sunday to find out. I give it five episodes until The Situation is shaving Pauly’s head and forcing Vinny to mumble “His name was Robert Paulsen” over and over.

NEXT: Merrie MelodiesOther Good, Bad, and Ugly Situations that should have been scored by Ennio Morricone:

–The Situation tried to wake up the Virgin Twin, to let her know that her sister had left. “I’m an individual!” said La Madonna. “An individual!” Sitch shook his head: “F—ing crazy people.”

–Whenever Sitch says the phrase “My boy Unit,” I imagine him rolling around Seaside Heights with a robot who looks exactly like Wall-E.

–There was a weird amount of controversy over Deena’s “Lesbionic” experience, which actually sounds kind of German, but enough with the hilarious Euro-stereotyping. Basically, Vinny was throwing a minor pass-aggro hissy fit because Deena had the temerity to stage the Great Twin Robbery. He was just like Andy Garcia in Ocean’s Eleven, by which I mean he couldn’t stop frowning and he was totally stupid. Pauly’s utter lack of empathy for the human race reappeared, and he convinced Vinny to prank poor Deena. That led Deena into a panic attack.

–This whole problem was somehow resolved when Pauly D told Deena, “You’re not yourself anymore! You’re being so emotional. I liked you because you weren’t so emotional and humanlike. Why aren’t you a shallow, robotic person, like in the old days?” Deena nodded her head, “Yes, yes, Pauly, yes, you’re right, I’ve been reacting so bizarrely! It’s almost like I’m living with a mini-subculture of overgrown millionaire adolescents, and also our weird Uncle who occasionally tries to sleep with us.”

–That being said, Vinny got in a good/really dirty zing at Deena: “Carpets are extra clean today!” Kids: Ask your parents.

–Snooki snuck a bottle of wine into the bathroom at work. When the boss got angry, she blamed it on Deena’s period. Girls really do have the best alibi for anything.

Burp of the Night, from Darling Shnookums: “Let’s have babies. BURP.”

Vivid Description of the Night, from Uncle Sitch: “They look like the Kentucky Derby f—ed the Easter Bunny.” Pause to picture a bunch of horses on a romantic date with a really large bunny.

Single Best Line of the Night: “This is my phone. This is what happens when you do steroids.”–Pauly, giving the girls the tour of the villa, pointing out the telephone and Ronnie.

Fellow viewers, am I the only one who is kind of warming to this season? Do you think that the cast members are actually experiencing the first pangs of Big Brother-esque cabin fever, since they can’t really talk to anyone besides The Horrible Yin-Yang Twins and each other? Actually, now that I think about it, I want to amend the metaphor: Ronnie and Sammi trade off being The Good and the Bad, but The Situation is definitely Tuco, right? And is it me, or was it totally badass when J-Woww said the word “malicious’? Tell me your thoughts on Twitter, and fill up the comment boards. Assuming that the oncoming hurricane doesn’t destroy the entire Eastern Seaboard, I’ll be back here on Sunday night to talk you through the special Jersey Shore episode airing before the Video Music Awards. (Continuing the Leone trend, the recap will probably be titled “Duck, You Sucker!“)

Episode Recaps

Jersey Shore Family Vacation CR: MTV
Jersey Shore

Follow Snooki, the Situation, Pauly, Ronnie, Sammi, Jwoww, Vinny, and Deena as they party, smush, and GTL

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