Jersey Shore recap: Hurricane edition
It has always seemed somewhat self-evident that The Situation is the ultimate villain of Jersey Shore. He’s the source of almost all of the intra-house discord. He is famously incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. He has staged so many robberies on Vinny that poor Vin-Vin seems to have simply given up on bringing girls home. But last night’s episode revealed a new layer to Michelangelo “Uncle Situation” Sorrentino: For all his bluster, this man is fundamentally not a fighter. In fact, you could argue that he’s the unofficial pacifist of the Shore house.
Look who he’s rooming with. All of the women in the house are fundamentally warriors, ready to fight in defense of their own principles. Ronnie is a barbarian who hates himself but can only express that hatred with his fists. For all his hedonistic casualness, Pauly D clearly has a fighting soul — last night, we saw him challenge a Florentine to a street scuffle just for looking at him funny. And even if Vinny never fights, he also never tries to stop the fight. Remember back in the Civil War era, when wealthy landowners would post up on a hillside a few miles away from a battle and watch the action through their binoculars? That’s Vinny. He’s a war junkie who doesn’t like getting his hands dirty.
Compare that to Uncle Sitch. He may be a shady dude, but he’s also fundamentally a diplomat. Remember: His first reaction when Ronnie was throwing his stuff around was to say, soothingly, “Ronald, please, don’t be irrational.” That’s Michaelangelo’s typical response to everything. And that’s why it was so shocking when, all of a sudden, the dude freaked: Foaming at the mouth, asking Ron to hit him. For a second, it was like we were seeing a whole new Situation. An attack dog. A warrior.
And then Uncle Situation hit his head against a cement wall and knocked himself out.
I got to talk to the Shore cast in person earlier this month — I’m only half-joking when I say that talking Renaissance artwork with Ronnie and Sammi was the thrill of a lifetime — and although the whole cast was on spoiler-watch, they all laughed a little bit when I asked them about the big Ron/Sitch showdown. And now we all know why. Ronnie didn’t beat up The Situation. The Situation beat himself up. The poor guy sent himself straight to the hospital.
NEXT: Alas, Poor SituationIn the Shore villa, the fallout was immediate. Ronnie was horrified by his actions. But he was still in the midst of his ape-man fury. And, Sam kept on yelling “Stawwwp, stawwwp, stawwwp” in his face, which didn’t help matters. “I’ve been calling girls since we been there,” Ronnie said, just trying to say anything to get her away from him. “Get out of my face. Get out of my face.” J-Woww tried to play peacemaker, begging Sam to leave Ron alone. When Ronnie is in his wild mood, only J-Woww really seems capable of calming him down.
I’ve always found the Jenni/Ronnie friendship to be one of the most interesting, subtle parts of Jersey Shore. It almost seems like Jenni decided to be Ronnie’s friend after one day of knowing him, and has spent the ensuing two years constantly forgiving him for a million mistakes. (Which, in all fairness, describes plenty of my friendships, and probably some of yours.) Sure enough, J-Woww quickly had Ronnie crying into his hands, “What have I done? What have I done?” Jenni is basically the awesome older sister that Ronnie barely deserves to have.
Ron-Ron decided to 12-step himself by apologizing to his roommates. Unfortunately, that included coming clean with Sammi about Hannah. When Sammi found out that Ronnie was talking to a girl from Long Island, her face flashed a number of incredible emotions — disbelief, disgust, fear, loathing — and she promptly told Ron that she never wanted to have anything to do with him for the rest of her life.
There is more to say about Ronnie. He decided to take a long drive around Florence to think about times past, hopefully while listening to “No Easy Way Out.” Later, he got Sam flowers to show her that he was over her, which is the very definition of “mixed signals”; certainly, we can all agree that it’s the silliest thing a waxed caveman has ever done for an emotionless android. But let’s turn our attention back to someone who might be the real hero of this story. The Situation strolled back into the villa, trying to play it casual. “Little head trauma, brain sprain, whatevs,” he mumbled. In the confessionals, he was all bluster: “I won’t hesitate to fight him, and he won’t hesitate to fight me.”
But after a little while, Mike couldn’t hide the fact that…well, he was feeling a bit lonely. ” If somebody else was hurt in the house, I’d be checking on them,” he said sadly. “Nobody was really checking on me that much.” Everyone else was out having midday drinks. Mike walked through the empty villa, looking for all the world like a man who has made millions of dollars by reinventing the science of Douche Rocketry and is only just now starting to realize that Douche Rocketeers live a lonely life. He sat down in the Pigeon Room. Viewers, he cried. He sniffled!
Our Michelangelo had a couple of interactions later in the episode that seemed to reset the status quo. He had a good laugh with Ronnie about his head trauma — and in the process, we learned that apparently Mike’s big move in a fight is the “Headbutt a Wall” maneuver. Later, Snooki told him in no uncertain terms that she loved him as a friend, and the funny little elf who lives in Uncle Sitch’s ear translated that as “I love you, Uncle Situation, with all my heart and soul.”
But going forward, I’m going to find it difficult not to feel a little sorry for ol’ Sitch. To a certain extent, his whole persona has been based on the implicit threat that, when push came to shove, he could feasibly walk the walk as effectively as he talks the talk. Now we know that’s not true. He’s like Butch Cassidy without the Sundance Kid, or Speed Racer without Racer-X.
NEXT: Merrie MelodiesMore Quackery from the Florentine Republic of Duckburg
–I have a theory that J-Woww and The Situation are two sides of the same coin. True, Sitch constantly scams on girls while J-Woww is a devoted serial monogamist; true, Sitch spreads discord while J-Woww eschews drama. But they have two major things in common. First, they are both incredibly concerned about “the house” as a concrete concept. Remember the moment when J-Woww told Sammi, “Please, I am begging you: For our House, give us a minute!” Most people on Shore are really just there to have a good time, but Jenni and Mike both seem genuinely invested in maintaining order in the house. And second, their attempts to prevent discord often wind up causing discord. Basically, Jenni is Jack Shephard, and The Situation is John Locke. More on this theory as the season develops.
–Snooki tried to have phone sex with Jionni. Ronnie was apparently listening in the other room. I guess that counts as a menage a trois?
–The exciting story of Sammi and Deena’s Six Hour Power adventure continues! Tonight, they were in a bathroom, feeling so tired. If only they had something that could give them more energy. Something they could do in this bathroom, very quickly. Oh, how nice, they received a visit from the Six Hour Power fairy, right there in the bathroom! Be careful, girls: Six Hour Power is a hell of a drug.
–Pauly got “Whiteboy Wasted” and tried to fight a dude. Why is the phrase “Whiteboy Wasted” so funny?
–To be fair, I think Ronnie was coming from a good place with the whole flowers-for-Sammi thing. He was talking to a girl at a nightclub, and he could have very easily brought her home. She was giving herself to him. She was Fay Wray, Ronnie was King Kong. (By the way, remember when Peter Jackson made a three-hour version of King Kong? Did that actually happen?) But Ronnie didn’t want to hurt Sam’s feelings by bringing home a girl so soon after their 707th break-up. Which is a very grown-up, noble, admirable thing to do. Then he bought her flowers, which was just the stupidest move ever.
Viewers, what did you think about the show? Were you disappointed that the fight was so anticlimactic, or was it pretty much what you were expecting? Is The Situation secretly the show’s hero, if by “hero” we mean “morally ambiguous protagonist who at least tries to do the right thing, Tony Soprano-style”? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. (If you’d like, skip to the next page to read my Break-In-Case-Of-Hurricane recap, in which I tried to predict what would happen in last night’s episode. But be advised: I imagined that the fight would be much, much more Steinbeck-esque.)
NEXT: Your recapper completely gets everything wrong
When last we saw our pals in the Jersey Shore villa, a three-way scuffle had broken out between three enemy combatants: The shaven gorilla-man named Ronnie, the dead-eyed doll-droid designated “Sammi-Bot, Mark 1138”, and the Machiavellian hedonist known as Uncle Situation. Specifically, we saw Ron-Ron slam Mike into an overturned piece of furniture. Their fellow housemates flocked into the battleground. We heard the lamentations of the women. Pauly might have been laughing. How did it all turn out?
I have no idea. If you’re reading this, then Hurricane Irene has knocked out the power in my portion of greater New York, which in turn probably means that I am currently swimming through the flooded streets of my neighborhood, lost without my Google Maps, trying to remember the directions to Keith Staskiewicz‘ famous Shark-Proof Panic Room. (Either that, or I’m currently covering the MTV Video Music Awards. Either way, expect a complete recap in a few hours.) But by god, readers, just because I’m in dire straits doesn’t mean I’ll leave you empty-recapped on this day of days, with a Very Special Jersey Shore episode to discuss. Working alongside my talented team of unpaid Jersey Shore experts/interns, and following a long consultation with the Oracle of Delphi, here’s my best prediction for what happened on tonight’s episode.
So Ronnie lunged at Uncle Sitch, throwing him to the floor. “Vengeance is mine!” proclaimed Ron-Ron. The Situation struggled mightily, but the years had worn away his once-youthful vigor. He was like an old swordsman, let’s say about 45, who bravely embarks on one final quest to slay a dragon, and then winds up being tackled to the ground by a shirtless Xenadrine addict whose head has been replaced by a bowling ball. “Uncle,” he cried, “Uncle!” But his attacker would not listen to his cries. Ronnie has spent the entire run of Jersey Shore fighting — with random bar dudes, with Sammi, with J-Woww, with the tubby little boy he probably used to be — and now, finally, he was letting it all out. In a sense, Ronnie fighting The Situation was kind of like that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker fights himself.
Sammi screamed. Vinny stared blankly into space. Snooki called Jionni and burped. Pauly D activated the microscopic communicator hidden in his hair and contacted the fleet of intergalactic warships that are currently cloaked in our outer atmosphere. “This is Prefect-General Paul Leedee,” he said, “The experiment is almost complete. Humanity has failed. Prepare the anti-matter missiles.” But just then, the world (and Uncle Situation) was saved by the arrival of Noble J-Woww. “Ron, no!” she cried. “This isn’t the way to settle problems! We can use a diplomatic solution! We’re all just fellow astronauts here on Spaceship Earth, man! Also, here’s a banana.” Ron grabbed the banana and bit it asunder. Sucker: It was one of J-Woww’s Patented Ron-Ron Knockout Bananas. (The secret ingredient is chloroform!)
At this point, the Secret Service personnel kicked their way in through the windows and put everyone in precautionary handcuffs. While no one was looking, Pauly activated his micro-transmitter again. “Cancel the anti-matter missiles,” he said. “Perhaps these humans yet have a chance to join our Galactic Federation. Perhaps.”
NEXT: What are you doing in the Jersey Shore house, Mickey Rourke?Uncle Situation had to go to the hospital, partially because he suffered some minor head trauma, partially because it’s important for middle-aged men to get regular colonoscopies just in case. Back at the house, everyone was suffering from minor post-traumatic stress syndrome. Sammi tried to lock herself in the bathroom, but Snooki was already in there drinking a bottle of wine. “Can I come in,” Sammi cried? “Sorry, my period!” lied Shnookums. Pauly was in the hot tub, which he had specially redesigned with a new setting that pumped irradiated ammonium through the jets (in order to recreate the atmosphere on his home planet.) At one point, Brittany the Low Self-Esteem Twin knocked on the door — The Situation had ordered her before the fight, you’ll remember.
When she heard about Uncle Sitch’s medical emergency, she pretended to be upset. Vinny told her, “Let me comfort you, my darling. The world is a violent place, but the night is young, and so are we.” But Vinny had no way of knowing that “Brittany” was actually the other twin pretending to be Brittany. A hilarious slammed-door farce ensued which I will leave to your imagination, but suffice it to say that it ended with a ménage à quatre between Vinny, Deena, and the Yin-Yang twins. Even if that didn’t happen, now that image is in your head, and it will never be gone. Inception!
But poor Ronnie. Poor, poor Ronnie, who didn’t know his own strength. He walked circles around the Pigeon Room, chain-smoking until his voice was hoarse. He tried to cry, but he found himself incapable of shedding any more tears. He stared up at the moon. “Why?!?!” he begged the universe. “Why?!?!?!” But the universe is indifferent. Ronnie lay down upon the couch. A lonely pigeon flew down and sat next to him. Ron took this as a sign. He grabbed the bird. He held it, firmly. He said, “Pigeon, you won’t ever leave me, will you? You don’t care if I make mistakes? You won’t judge me when I get back together with Sam for the millionth time? I think I shall name you Rexford. What do you think of that? Oh, my pretty pet. How I love you.”
The pigeon could sense a bad scene, so it bit at Ronnie’s fingers and fled, never to return to Florence. Ronnie: “Have I, then, no one else to call me friend? Is there, in truth, no beauty!” And he raged, and raged, and raged. He threw furniture. He broke mirrors. He made Molotov Cocktails and threw them at people, and then when the Fire Trucks came, he stole one, and did all the Fire Truck Missions, which earned him a lot of money. And then he was back in the pigeon room, weeping.
At this point, J-Woww emerged. Ronnie looked up at her, puppydog-face: “Tell me like you done before,” he begged.
She smiled. “People like us got no family,” she said, rubbing her hands over Ronnie’s shoulders. “They got nobody in the world who gives a hoot in hell about ’em.”
“But not us,” Ronnie said happily. “Because I got you…”
“…And I got you,” completed J-Woww. “Step out here on the porch, Ronnie. Look out there, in the distance. The air feels fine.”
Ronnie stared out into the night lights, and beyond to the great big world awaiting him over the horizon. “Tell me how’s it gonna be!” he begged.
J-Woww said — with just a hint of weariness in her voice — “We gonna get a little place. We’ll have a cow. An’ we’ll have maybe a pig and chickens, and a little piece alfalfa…”
“For the rabbits!” Ronnie shouted.
“For the rabbits,” J-Woww repeated, reaching into her side pocket to bring out Carlson’s Luger. “Look acrost the river, Ronnie, and I tell you, you can almost see it.”
Viewers, did I get it right? Were you surprised by the twist ending? Do you think the twins represent good and evil, or deconstructions thereof? And if you’re angry at me for getting the episode entirely wrong, then guess what: I don’t care, because assuming that my SCUBA suit holds up, I have big plans to try and seduce an Atlantean Princess.