It's the season finale, and the gang leaves Miami the same way they went in: incoherently loud and incredibly soused

By Darren Franich
Updated October 22, 2010 at 11:10 AM EDT

Whenever someone – let’s say Jenni – tells The Situation straight to his face that he is a fake human being, Sitch freaks out. He whines. He pouts. He collects himself, and delivers a thought-provoking speech on the concept of “realness.” He is a real person, viewers, real! Not like all those “fake” people. “Jenni is fake,” The Situation will say, holding a flashlight under his chin. “Jenni is the fakest one in the house.” Now, you and I both know this is just the pot calling the kettle “Botox.” We can all have a good laugh about The Situation’s inability to take it vs. his varsity-level ability to dish it out. And yet, somewhere in that whirlwind of fifth-grade emotion, we will see a look of genuine fear cross Sitch’s impeccably manicured face. In order for The Situation to exist, he needs people to believe that he is real. He’s like Tinkerbell, only with prettier eyelashes. Also, Tinkerbell never had any toilet threesomes.

It’s easy to forget it when your short-term memory is bad, but the season 1 finale of Jersey Shore was a happy affair. Everyone got together for a big family dinner, and Ronnie loved Sammi, and Sitch smooched Snooki in the hot tub. Last night’s finale was different. It felt more like an apocalyptic climax, followed by the dead calm of repressed insanity.

The stage was set for a goodhearted sendoff. Vinny had dinner with his Romanian. He promised her, “I’ll look at those hot dancer girls in New York and think of you.” She smiled dispassionately. Meanwhile, Pauly D took out his Cuban. They shared a long kiss outside Stately Shore Manor, but Pauly explained, “I’m not gonna try to smash it out with Rocio before I leave.” (Who knew he was so romantic?) And Ronnie took Sammi out for dinner. They got in a fight, because they have the collective emotional intelligence of a misogynist tsetse fly. Sammi asked Ronnie, “Why are you with me?” And Ronnie doesn’t like questions, because questions are like tests. “Ronnie no test good!” he explained, before jumping on a hanging vine and swinging away through the palm trees.

But the club solved everything. Ronnie and Sammi worked through all their problems when Sammi apologized for insulting Ronnie’s intelligence by assuming it existed. Meanwhile, Vinny found himself enmeshed with a pair of girls. “Are we f—ing tonight, baby?” they flirted. “You’re gonna have the threesome of a lifetime.” (Don’t you wish you could invent a time machine and send those girls back to your freshman year of college, when you had enough free time to deal with the resulting neural syphilis?) Vinny stayed true to Ramona, but Sitch declared a “Situationsome” and carried the ladies away to the bathroom, where he drank their blood to maintain his eternal youth presumably something uncomfortable happened.

NEXT: Let’s map out the season’s final conflict, starring a Dr. Seussian villain.

What I’m trying to say is: Everybody was having fun. And night turned into morning, and it was our last full day in Miami, and it was declared that we would have one last big meal. Just like last year, in Jersey! Snooki offered to cook tacos, but she needed some help. She asked Sammi, who was busy kissing the Man-Thing. Sammi did help cook…but only after she heard that people were talking behind her back. Understand this, viewers: Sammi decided to help out her fellow houseguest purely out of spite. “Would you like some help, Nicole? GREAT. I’M HERE TO HELP YOU.”

Snooki thought her and Sam were friends. “’Friends’ is a deep word,” said wise J-Woww. (Even though that sentence isn’t a sentence, it pretty much sums up this show.) At dinner, Sitch was picking fights with everybody. “Ron got a couple trophies the first nights in this house,” he laughed, right before he declared a tie for Person Who Did The Least in The House. Everyone looked horrified. “This is all in harmless fun,” said Evil Uncle Situation, grinning like a Dr. Seuss villain who never learned how to rhyme.

Hey look, it’s the Bad Idea Bears! “Hey fellas!” they say, “Drink some shots and play some sort of potentially ruinous personality game!” The gang played Yearbook. Pauly D nominated himself for Most Likely to Get Skin Cancer. Sitch declared Vinny Most Likely to be a Follower, “Cause last year, Vinny didn’t hang out with me and Pauly, and this year, he conveniently meshed in with us.”

Now, viewers, here it is: the final conflict of the season. Let’s try to map this out, shall we?

1. Jenni was upset that The Situation was picking on Vinny. She told Sitch that someone had called him out for acting fake.

2. Jenni left for a smoke break, Sitch proclaimed J-Woww the fakest one in the house.

3. Snooki took J-Woww aside and said, “Don’t trust anyone in the house.” Her claim: When Sitch called J-Woww fake, Pauly and Vinny nodded their heads.

4. J-Woww took Sitch into the house and said, “You boy Pauly’s fake, because he talked s— about you,” which is what Snooki told her at some point, I guess.

5. Sitch told Pauly what J-Woww told him Snooki said about Pauly OMFG I hate everything.

6. J-Woww and Pauly got into a shouting match, as Pauly tried to figure out who told J-Woww he didn’t not do what they hadn’t not said he didn’t say.

7. Snooki made a sound like a scared mouse. Everyone instantly figured out it was her fault. Pauly D was all like “Why did you do that?” And Snooki said, “I didn’t say words that came out of anybody’s mouth!” And Vinny said, “We didn’t nod our heads!” And Snooki literally said, “Detective, there’s no going, and you tell me do things, I done running!?”

NEXT: A death omen visits our protagonists.

The saddest part of the episode came during what was supposed to be the happy resolution:

The Situation: “Nobody’s mad at you, Snooki. Is anybody mad at anyone now?”

CUT TO: Everyone looking extremely mad at everyone.

The Situation: “No, see?”

And so the last day arrived. Everyone said their goodbyes, except J-Woww and Sammi. Sammi will never forgive J-Woww for trying to save her from a toxic relationship, and J-Woww will never forgive Sammi for being Sammi. (The second saddest part of the episode was Sammi’s last line, “Even though I’m hurt and he embarrassed me and I know what he did, he helped me get through all this.”) And in the end, a single black crow looked down on our beloved idiots. “That’s bad luck,” said Snooki. “Hahaha. He’s quacking. Not quacking, what does a crow do? Hahaha.” The crow did not respond. “You’re gonna die, hahaha,” explained Snooki to all who would listen, “It’s warning you of your death. Hahaha. Hahaha. Hahaha.”

But The Situation didn’t hear her. He was off and away, driving away from Miami, up the coastline, to New York and Los Angeles and Hong Kong and Dubai. Why, would you believe, he’s holding court at that club down the street from your house? You can see him there now, if you hurry. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, The Situation. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die.

People, did last night’s episode prove definitively that God is dead and life is chaos? Is Ronnie and Sammi’s continued togetherness a triumph of the human spirit against all odds? Should these people just not drink so much? Should we do anything about our education system? What was J-Woww cleaning out of the refrigerator, and why did it look like David Cronenberg’s The Fly? Most importantly, will you watch season 3 when it starts in like a second? And if Jersey Shore were an ’80s movie trilogy, would season 2 be The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future 2, or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?

For regular debasements of the prose of Cormac McCarthy, follow me on Twitter @EWDarrenFranich

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