Jersey Shore recap: Probing Questions
Who is Pauly D? He's a man of mystery, a blank slate, a riddle wrapped in an enigma swaddled in a Shyamalan. We know that he is a handsome fellow, that he says funny things, that his hair is trying to escape from his brain by reaching skyward. We know that he is a DJ. And that's pretty much it. He does not fight. He does not argue. He is easily the least active member of the house. He's there to react, with cartoon-sized eyes and quick repartee that occasionally morphs into song mid-sentence. The world seems to be happening around him, for his viewing pleasure. He's like a robot from Mystery Science Theater 3000, except with better production designers. Just consider how blissfully uninterested he acts around the beautiful girls who follow him home. His smush etiquette is nonexistent. Compare him to Vinny, who always acts like a kid on Christmas morning when he gets a pretty lady home from the club, or the Situation, who will force a girl into comfortable sweatpants and then cook her up a late dinner. (Turns out there are some advantages to sleeping with a 45-year-old multi-millionaire.)
There are only two ways to explain how Pauly is the way he is. 1) He is last of the Satyrs, a race of goat-men with carefree spirits who float through the background of Greek mythology sipping wine and wooing innocent women with their music. (Just like a DJ!) 2) He's the vanguard for a race of ludicrously attractive space aliens, sent to earth to decide if humanity is worthy of entrance into the Galactic Federation of Planets. Whichever theory you believe, you can't help but wonder: What does Jersey Shore look like through the eyes of Pauly D? Remember that scene in 30 Rock, when we see the world through Kenneth's eyes and everyone is a muppet? I imagine Pauly D sees his housemates the same way.
Last night, Pauly casually offered himself up for a four-sided orgy with Deena, Snooki, and J-Woww. When Snooki's undesirable army veteran kept quack-quack-quacking on the duck phone, Pauly playfully imitated the worst answering machine on the face of the earth: "For Snooki press 2. For Deena press 3." (God, remember answering machines?) So far, so satyr. But by the end of the episode, Pauly was in human-testing mode. Danielle the Stalker was hanging out at Karma, and she sent a diplomatic envoy over to broker a peace agreement. Pauly agreed to a brief disarmament.
He asked Danielle why she was stalking him, and Danielle said, "Because you made me look like a stalker," which proves Danielle has a bright future in politics. Pauly hugged her. Pauly invited her back to the house. Pauly quickly put on the "I Heart Jewish Girls" shirt that she made for him last year. It's hard to say why he did this, except to test exactly how much he could embarrass Danielle before she left. She stood resolute, claiming that she couldn't see a thing without her glasses.
That's when Vin-Vin stepped in with the jokes. "When you give birth and you're about to have a baby, what kind of bird comes and delivers the baby?" "Stork!" everyone exclaimed, in accents that clearly slanted the word into "Stalk!" Danielle looked embarrassed, her resolve crumbling. Pauly: "What did Jack climb up? The bean-what?" Bean-bag? Bean-ie baby? Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A's? Ohhhh, bean-stalk. Burn, Danielle, you're getting burned! At this point, Danielle stepped out, and hopefully she'll be able to figure out how she has spent a year of her life being embarrassed by Jersey Shore.
Remember last week, when we saw the gang all together having fun? And everything was forgiven and forgotten? Well, last night's episode started about three minutes later, and things had trended downwards. Ronnie chased a shot with a beer, and chased that beer with a shot, and finally decided to just cut out the middleman and started injecting rubbing alcohol directly into his liver. He vomited several times into a bag at home. Sammi said, "I don't do throw-up. When I see throw-up, I throw-up." Viewers, I was secretly hoping that she would throw up. And then Sitch would throw up. And then Snooki would walk in and throw up, and onwards the vomit-line would go down the Great Chain of Being. I'm pretty sure my ideal abstract vision for a Jersey Shore episode is a full commercial-free hour of the entire cast vomiting during a painfully awkward night-vision orgy. Season 5, cross your fingers!
Ronnie woke up the next morning with a little problem. I'm going to try and describe the problem in G-rated terms, because it's funnier that way. Let's just say that the water in the Grand Canyon had turned red from pollution. Hmm, no, that sounds too eco-terorristic. Okay, Ronnie had a nosebleed, except upside down and outside-in. Hmm, no, that sounds like biology, and I failed biology. Okay, how about: Lava was seeping out of the Crack of Doom. Oh heck, let's just escalate this to PG and let Ron explain: "I'm bleeding when I use the bathroom." Oh dear, that is serious. No time for jokes, everyone. Now hurry, let's run to the butt-doctor for a tush-probe!
Because it's important that all the 12-year-olds who are becoming cool by watching Jersey Shore learn at least one valuable lesson per season, the show forced us to watch as the doctor explored Ronnie's nether regions. Kids, learn from your Uncle Ronnie: Don't drink alcohol every day. (Also, don't get pregnant or get a girl pregnant, unless you want to be famous, in which case just make a sex tape when you turn 18. All these messages have been brought to you by the MTV Council For Keeping Smart Kids Safe and Making Idiots Famous.) Ronnie gamely tried to maintain his dignity by making the requisite I-swear-I'm-hetero gay joke: "I'm like, Doc, come on, you can at least buy me dinner. I don't move that fast on the first date."
Viewers, we all know that this show is either completely real or completely written by non-union writers who hate themselves, so it's always insane to ascribe any literary quality to the "storylines." But am I the only one who thought that Ronnie's visit to the doctor ended up doubly foreshadowing some events that occurred that evening? Could it be that Ronnie's prostate can see the future? I'm pretty sure I read something about that in the Book of Revelation.
Snooki and Deena both met some handsome fellows at the nightclub. Snooki's guy was named Jeff, and he kind of looked like Ronnie. Deena's guy was named Dario, and he kind of looked like Ronnie. Snooki took Jeff into the Community Smush room, but alas, Aunt Flo was visiting…which was exactly the same problem Ronnie was having, except backwards and more funny. (Later in the same episode, Snooki would cement the comparison by asking Sammi, "Is he on his period?" My brain is imploding here, viewers. I truly believe that somewhere in the Jersey Shore editing room there is an artistic soul linking all these things together. Either that, or the Jersey Shore cast's lives are blessed with peculiar synchronicity. Also, I have no idea what synchronicity means.)
Deena just wanted to snuggle. She asked Ronnie, "Will Dario snuggle with me?" "Of course, of course!" proclaimed Ronnie, sounding like a proud papa. "Little Deena, Dario will snuggle the night away with you!" Deena had a game plan in place for her evening with Dario, which I will render in full here: "It's not Halloween. I'm not handing out candy for free. You need a golden ticket to get into my drawers." Wow, metaphors! Viewers, pause to picture Deena dressed up as Willy Wonka, standing in the doorway of her chocolate factory, handing out golden tickets so that children can rifle through her clothing drawers. How could a brilliant plan like that fail?
Cut to the next morning: Her brilliant plan failed! Just like Ronnie at the doctor's office, she had insisted, "I don't move that fast on the first date," and yet she still moved that fast on her first date. "My golden ticket was taken," said Deena mournfully. "It is what it is." And lo, thus was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ruined forever. (Although we all know that Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator was way better, right?)
Meanwhile, Sammi and Ronnie danced precariously close to the edge for the millionth time, and then fell over the edge for the millionth time. But maybe, just maybe, this time they fell over without parachutes. Ron told Sam to clean out the fridge. She didn't. Ron became incredible frustrated. Arguments ensued. The whole house felt awkward. Sam/Ron moved upstairs, where Ronnie stared blankly at the ceiling and Sammi stared purposefully into the mirror. "You wanna just break up?" asked Sam. "That's your answer to everything!" said Ronnie.
Usually, on television, relationships end decisively. In real life, relationships end in segments. After last week, we all knew that Ron and Sam were going to break up eventually. But out of fear, they pretended to still be together, because sometimes it's easier to stay on the Treadmill of Perpetual Misery. Last night seemed to finally seal the deal, though. Ronnie was complaining — he wanted recognition. "I'm the reason you're still here. I'm the reason you got through Miami." Then, the key line: He noted that she seemed to think she could throw him over "just because you feel like you have friends in your house now." I think that Ronnie is just how recognizing that Sammi has outgrown him. He can sense that the fear that kept her tied to him is gone. It's sort of like the end of Tender is the Night, except no one is named Dick Diver.
Ron tried to make himself out to be the victim. He compared himself to a drawer: "You gonna stuff it, and stuff it, and sooner or later you can't shut it, and that's why I think I'm gonna explode." Viewers, please picture a drawer with Ronnie's face being stuffed full of clothes until it suddenly explodes. God, what a doofus. The episode ended on a sour note, with Ronnie swearing to torment his ex-girlfriend for the horrible crime of ending a relationship he hated. Hey girls, guess who's single?
More Merry Melodies from the Principality of Painful Probing
–When the girls went shopping, Snooki decided to drive a little tricycle up and down the aisles. Now, this is probably only the fifth-weirdest thing Snooki did that morning. But then she actually managed to crash the tricycle, and even took the handlebar clean off. Man, have I been there. When I was five years old. Except, no wait, I never crashed a tricycle, because tricycles are semi-impossible to crash, because they have three fricking wheels. These people are reinventing human evolution.
–Snooki's new guy Jeff seemed like a swell fella. He gamely hopped on the stripper pole, and when he fell on his rump, he laughed. Then Snooki fell on the floor and laughed, and they lay there on the floor like a couple of turtles tossed upside down with four limbs in the air. He was funny. He had a tongue ring. And then the overshare started. He was engaged. Or rather, he was promise-ringed, which is kind of like being engaged except for twelve-year-olds. "This kid f—ing has a fiancé," said Shnookums. "Do you have kids? Do you have an STD?" Also, the guy was in the army and apparently is a bit messed up about that. Snooki happily told him to never, ever call her again. (Jeff bears a striking resemblance to a character in Snooki's book A Shore Thing. You probably didn't want to know that. You will spend years trying to un-know that information. You will never succeed.)
–The girls bonded over a trip to the local bondage factory. Deena tried on a crazy outfit that made her look like an NC-17 rated Care Bear. Snooki looked like "a hot, drunk baseball player," which is a look that will definitely hit Paris soon. J-Woww looked like the wordless ravings of an ecstatic cartoon bellboy.
–Deena: "I had a dream that Vinny and Pauly made out." Pauly: "You know there's a lot of truth in dreams, right?" He's totally a fricking satyr.
–Boss Danny is fast becoming my favorite supporting character. I love that he is literally the one person on earth who has any power over the Shore cast, and all he does is abuse them. Can he come along to Italy? Or, even better, can we meet his "cousin" who owns a "turtleneck shop" and has a "fake-looking mustache?"
–Deena, with the line of the night: "Face down, ass up, that's the way I like to have a good time." Guys, we're probably never going to be asked to join the Galactic Federation of Planets.
–LATE-BREAKING UPDATE: Apparently, one of my many assistants coughed at the wrong time, because I initially missed the actual best line of the night: Snooki's theory about why the ocean is so salty. (Because of whale sperm, duh.)
–At the end of last night's episode, MTV played an extended preview of The Real World: Las Vegas. Am I the only one who can't get excited for The Real World after Jersey Shore? It's like trying to go back to Grand Theft Auto III after playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, or going back to ping-pong after playing beer-pong, or hanging out with lame idiots who make you sad instead of funny idiots who make you stop caring.
Viewers, what did you think of last night's relatively quiet episode? Think it was just the calm before the break-up tsunami? Did you realize that this marked two episodes in a row that involved things going up into a place that is usually left unexplored? Do you think Pauly D will ever contribute more to the show than googly-eyes? You guys, when you get right down to it, aren't we all muppets?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich
Follow Snooki, the Situation, Pauly, Ronnie, Sammi, Jwoww, Vinny, and Deena as they party, smush, and GTL