Jersey Shore recap: The Tragedy of J-Woww
J-Woww battles with Roger, Pauly D battles a stalker, and Uncle Situation battles his worst enemy: Himself
The Situation had a scheme. “Quack Quack Quack!” quacked Uncle Situation. “Unit, you’re my boy, and I need you to reveal the true story of my love affair with Crocodilly! Oh, and also tell Jionni that me and Schookums did a smash-and-grab job behind his back. It was just like Ocean’s 11. I was George Clooney, and Snooki was Julia Roberts, and Jionni was Andy Garcia, and Deena was the Asian dude, and Ronnie was a brick.” Alas, His Boy Unit was down in Miami with with The Situation’s brother, Marc, who I will henceforth refer to as The Occurrence. Turns out that that The Occurrence has been seeing Deena’s sister, who I will henceforth refer to as Threena. At this point, The Situation and The Unit had a conversation that went like this:
Unit: “Dude, Threena totally BLEEPED your brother.”
Situation: “She BLEEPED him? Like, BLEEP BLEEP in the BLEEP BLEEP?”
Unit: “BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP.”
Situation: “I see.”
I have no idea what they were talking about, but I’m guessing it wasn’t about church. Anyhow, from that point, last night’s Jersey Shore became one of the first episodes this season to not focus almost entirely on The Situation’s slow descent into madness. The gang set off for Aztec, where Vinny started talking to a girl named Deanna. “She’s like a 5 or a 6,” said Vinny romantically. “During the weekend, you’re looking for a 7 or an 8.” Up walked Little Miss 7 or 8: An attractive girl named Nikki, who had absolutely everything going for her except for any interest whatsoever in sleeping with a member of the male gender. A stealth lesbian! But Vinny was not cowed. “I’m feminine. I got soft features. I think I’m a good transition for a lesbian girl,” said Vinny. “When you take a lesbian back to the straight team, that is like Christopher Columbus discovering America,” he concluded. And you thought your kids couldn’t learn anything valuable from Jersey Shore.
Vinny wound up sleeping with Deanna. “My smush with this girl wasn’t bad. This was an average girl. Average smush. Nothing extraordinary. Released some demons, y’know.” What a lucky girl. (I like to imagine that somewhere in Seaside Heights there’s a support group for all the lovely young women with low self-esteem who wind up hooking up with a member of the Jersey Shore cast.)
But fellow viewers, we need to talk about Snooki (starring Tilda Swinton.) She left Aztec early. She was incredibly drunk. She was as drunk as a British sailor. She was as drunk as an average British person. At one point, she mumbled “Oh my goodness, I’ve never been this drunk in my life,” and what came out was, “Uhmygo. I’ve benever zizdrunk immywife.” She woke up in the morning and tried to lie in the hammock, but she failed. “I need a f—ing therapist,” she cried out, “And I need AA meetings.” If that’s not a cry for help, I don’t know what is.
Speaking of cries for help! Pauly D was once again besieged by a stalker. Unfortunately, this was not the beloved Italian-loving Israeli of yesteryear. This was a full-on Pauly D fangirl, complete with a Pauly D hat and a “Cabs Are Here” shirt and a naive expression that seemed to hint at years of potentially lucrative endorsement deals. Her name was Vanessa, which is also the name of Pauly D’s sister. “You ever seen Misery?” asked J-Woww. “She’s gonna smash your kneecaps.” That’s a good reference, but I was actually imagining that Pauly D would take his stalker under his wing. Then he’d teach her everything he knew. Then she would kill him. It would be kind of like when Jesse James was assassinated by the coward Robert Ford in that one movie. I think it was called Yogi Bear.
NEXT PAGE: The Importance of Being J-Woww
There are a whole host of reasons why the last two seasons of Jersey Shore have felt a bit boring. Some of the cast members — especially Ronnie and Sammi — seem to be genuinely trying to live healthier and less argumentative lives, which is admirable but boring. Other cast members — especially Snooki and The Situation and even Vinny — seem to be tired out from two straight years of nonstop partying. They used to be semi-eloquent, energetic drunks; now, they often descend into half-nude incoherence, stumbling around aimlessly like a hobo in search of a shotgun. The only castmate who hasn’t notably evolved or devolved in the last couple years is Pauly D, who has been rewarded with his own spin-off, where he’ll DJ a new party each and every week, always in more sexy and exciting ways.
But the biggest problem with the last two seasons has been J-Woww. Or rather, the void at the show’s heart where J-Woww used to live. In the first three seasons, J-Woww had an essential role in the Jersey Shore universe. She was the show’s bruised, passionate, self-immolatingly noble moral core. She was the sort of person who would go out of her way to help her worst enemy — recall how angry she was about Ronnie cheating on Sam — and then, just a couple episodes later, she’d be fighting the same person she was trying to help.
I’m being entirely serious when I say that J-Woww was the tragic hero of Jersey Shore. From every perspective, she was a better and more morally upstanding person than all of her housemates. She did not pull pranks. She did not screw around — after a night spent in Pauly D’s bed, we’ve never seen her with another man outside of a relationship. She rarely got very drunk; she was too busy taking care of her blacked-out roommates. At the same time, her utter nobility was very often her downfall. She would get into fights instead of using diplomacy. She was, by all appearances, taken advantage of by her ex-boyfriend purely because she was devoted to making the relationship work.
That’s why season 3 — in hindsight, the show’s best season, unless you’re a big fan of Angela — ended on such an up note. J-Woww started that season in the midst of a miserable relationship; she ended it with Roger, who appeared to be the by-default nicest guy on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, J-Woww’s happiness outside of the show made her a non-entity in the Jersey Shore universe. Without a hero, the show has become the story of a miserable villain who can’t even amuse himself with evil anymore. It’s like watching a TV show about Lex Luthor after he kills Superman, just bumbling around Metropolis trying to find someone to plot against. Although that’s not entirely fair, since Lex Luthor’s wigs are much more convincing than The Situation.
Last night, though, depressing cracks began to form in the picture-perfect J-Woww we’ve become accustomed to. She called Roger and asked why he hadn’t been spending more time with her. “It’s always gloom and doom and drama with you,” he quacked at her. She hung up angry, and to keep herself busy, spent the night keeping the Meatballs from killing each other. Later, the dudes saw Roger at the gym. He told them: “Jenni’s flipping, dude. I’m not kissing her ass. I don’t play that game, bro.”
Now, it’s clear that we’ll never entirely understand what this argument is about. (My read on it is that Roger fundamentally doesn’t like the idea of being on-camera — which would certainly explain why he’s been mostly absent from the show, and why he opted not to fly out to Florence last season.) J-Woww, for her part, decided to try and make peace, and made a phone call to apologize. At this point, Roger curiously decided to flip out: “You do not trust me!” he exclaimed. “You can do what you want and never be questioned, but you don’t trust me in the slightest. If you don’t stop with these insecurities and start trusting me, we are going to be damned. We are going to be done. We are going to be ruined.”
Dark words to end an episode on, and I have to admit I don’t know entirely what to make of them. Is Roger really upset with J-Woww because she doesn’t trust him? Is J-Woww justified in feeling a little bit miffed that her BF doesn’t seem to particularly want to spend any time with her? Is this all MTV’s fault for filming these people in their most private moments? Or should we just blame it on the duck phone? Quack quack quack?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich