WARNING: Absurdism. Also lots and lots of dirty words. This is the Shore, after all.
Da Shoah, Season Tree, Da First Part
I keep hearing Caroline from The Real Housewives of New Jersey making a noncommittal grunt to Danielle “Jafar from Aladdin” Staub and saying, “G'bless,” which, for people who enunciate, means “God bless.” And to people not from Jersey it can translate into “Good fa you,” or more likely, “Fuck off. But I'm being nice about it.”
The editors on this show are clearly enjoying themselves. Still in the intro is a shot of Nicole, aka Snooki, doing back flips in a dance club with no panties on. How would you like to be the one that has to pixelate that grayish-purple clam? No, you know what? You do that on national TV because you want people talking about you, what, you think she forgot she was being filmed? Snooki is my girl, though. She'll be yours, too, by the end of this, I guarantee. But seriously, panties are cheap, there's no excuse. I guess I'm an old prude because I don't think of them as being optional when wearing a dress.
On screen are the flap-flips and Snooki narrates over this, “They finally got to know me, they're like, 'You're a real cool girl.' And I'm like, finally!” Sweetie, you could have bought them some cannoli, I'm just saying. This leads to them all sharing in their own way how they're like a “family” now. For those making the charts, that makes Sammi the sister/cousin that thinks she's better than everyone because she got a little religion, college, money, whatever. She's that girl that immediately pulls the “Yeah, at least I gotta man!” argument out of her bag of tricks. Honey, you have Ronnie. That's like saying, “Yeah, at least I have herpes!” Which I hear they all have. The gift that keeps on giving! Really, Snooki, it should have been cannoli.
To remind us that they're all people, like, actual people on the planet that we all live on, there are little vignettes that show each of the cast leaving their houses where they have real-not-hired family members that seem to really care about them. Well, no shots of Snooki's family, but we already know her parents love and support her, and boy, talk about unconditional love. That we all should be so lucky. (kisses fingers, shakes them at the sky)
Snooki gives her shellac another coat, puts an orange lace garter meant for tacky bridal showers on her hairline a la Bret Michaels. He's from Pittsburgh, so it's nice to see Snooki going international with her fashion. She is bringing in a new cast member, some girl she met after she got a little famous who turns out to be a relatively nice girl, and one with a job, to boot! Who knew these girls knew how to work?
She's another Snooki, a ball of fleshy, horny joy looking to bang dudes, drink her ass off, get into a fist fight or nine, maybe ride a unicorn and get a Masters in Organic Biochemistry. I'm just kidding about the unicorn. Meet Deena, a part time dental assistant (classy) and waitress (hot) who loves to go guy shopping. Not a lot of depth with Deena, but you know, there doesn't need to be. She's upfront with loving to “smush” and drink, and good fa you, cookie, g'bless. Just... seriously get some rubbers. Make it a fun game to put them on. The STDs at the shore can eat through lead paint.
But before you get lulled into a false sense of security that all the ladies of the Shore House are sweethearts and dollfaces, here comes Jenni, aka JWOWW huffing and puffing her luggage into her car, eager to get away from Tom, the dominating boyfriend who has been behind the scenes the past two seasons. That mook is the kind of guy that tells you what to do and fakes a punch to make you just scared enough to do like he asks, but never actually hits you and lands himself in jail. He's never on camera, probably because his parole officer will find him. But he was jailed for something stupid like sticking nun-chuks through the credit card slot of a movie theater, demanding the zit-faced teenager to give him all the money.
Oh, Jenni, will you never find a strong man that will let you stand on your own? I mean obviously you'll need a brace to help keep you upright, because those ta tas must weigh a ton, but I have such high hopes for you. I will say that I love this girl's massive brass balls. If there ever was a need for me to have a wingman, she'd be it. Girl will have your back when shit goes down, and in Jersey it seems there's always shit going down.
Pauly D watches his mom iron him a t-shirt, and once again I'm surprised at these player boys with loving mothers, and with healthy relationships, too. These boys love their mothers very much, and who wouldn't love a mom that still does your laundry when you're pushing 30? Pauly's mom nervously asks if the hot tub at the house ever gets cleaned out, and you can see her cringe building, waiting for the inevitable.
“Oh, yeah, but we never use it after the Situation goes in.”
Pauly's mom flashes back to a welcome home party after Season 1 was such a success and only recalls flashes of leopard print, a pulsing un-tiss un-tiss from the stereo, far too much Hypnotique than a woman over 40 should drink, and something about an abs cheese grater? She's not sure if anything happened with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, but she does know that the site of a flash-gold chain and the smell of Ed Hardy cologne sends her racing to the toilet, her previous meal an offering to the porcelain gods, but it's never payment enough. Oh, god, when will it ever be enough?
“Ma, that shirt ready yet?”
“Yes, dear, do you want a sandwich?” She obsessively fluffs her perm when she see a gold chain swing around her son's neck.
Speaking of the Situation, he gets a loving send off from his butter-faced sister (but really, she has the sweetest personality. Of course.) The cameras only shoot her from the back and in case you thought the audio team was fucking with you, that's how she really sounds, like Melanie Griffith on helium.
“G'bye, I'll miss you!”
Seventy dogs in Manalpan, New Jersey fall over, their ears bleeding.
Cue “Whatsamatta with you?” on the accordion, we have a Vinny sighting. I'm so glad his handlers have leg-wrestled the Nads Hair Remover Gel away from this guy. He finally has man-appropriate eyebrows. I was starting to think he just plucked them all and drew them in with a sharpie like a cholera. No disrespect, Vinny, you're secretly my favorite dudebro and that's before we all learned about your donkey kong, but there are times when you take your grooming too far.
Aaaaaaand of course he is clutching an over-sized Croc to carry all of his shower products back and forth. He is very possessive about his shower caddy, but when you think of all the back door hustling that must happen in that place, I wouldn't want to leave anything of my own lying around, either. I imagine that shower with crusty mold growing in all the crevices and now I want to stand in bleach for about an hour. You get a pass, Dirk Diggler, but just this once. You go back to some Sally Hansen eyebrow wax strips and we're done. Oh, who am I kidding, Vinny, I can't quit you. They'll find your “Affliction” t-shirt lovingly nestled in my Ann Taylor twin set and hanging in a secret part of my closet one day.
Speaking of twin set, the two assholes who kinda-sorta deserve each other are happily plotting their revenge return to the shore house. Ronnie “'Roid-Rage” and Sammi “Sweetheart,” (God, those editors are deliciously sarcastic!) are still in the saddle of this hellacious ride of a relationship. If Sweetheart means something different in Jersey speak, like “sad, angry bitch with Daddy issues that takes it out on the women in her life,” then yes, she is an absolute sweetheart. Sammi records 'Roids driving because one day she'll want to sit in her closet with all of her Tupperware containers of her own sick after a binge of take out food and candy bars and gelato and watch the good times over and over again so she can remember what it was to feel, once.
They show 'Roids picking her up and her very meek mother begging him to be good to her little girl. Oh, the grief she's taken at the bingo hall! Sammi promised her after her mother bought that professional ceramic hair straightener that she'd make good one day. Well, that was three hundred bucks wasted. Oh well, it's happy hour somewhere and those Tom Collinses won't drink themselves. Her little princess and the lackey head off to god knows what. A few more splashes of booze and she won't have to care anymore, her sorrows drowned for another day, the house quiet of all of Sammi's complaints and bitching and the smell of hair products overpowering everything.
These two chucklenuts know that everyone in the house is either unhappy with them or outright hates their asses. And yet they are happy to be going back. Roids is happy because Sammi isn't bitching at him or testing him or crying for once and Sammi is happy because a storm is a'brewin' and if there's one thing that girl loves is a tempest in a teacup. They get to the house first and immediately assert their 'we were the closest to the house and left the earliest' prowess by marking with urine all over the top floor's bedroom, a room designed for three people.
'Roids sets out his syringes, his protein bars, his penis cream, vials of Anadol and Testosterone, and waits to be told what to do next. Sammi deposits her “luggages” in the middle of the room and stands there, Queen of all she surveys. The happiness only lasts a moment as the realization of this blatant assertion of her dominance over the other girls begins to wash over her and she has to grab her straightening iron to calm her nerves, biting the same worry spot over and over until the blood filling her mouth snaps her out of it.
Excitement, or maybe it's dread, pulses through Sammi. “Who is it, Whorebag?”
No, honey, 'Roids is right there with you, has the Bumble & Bumble affected your eyesight? Oh, Jenni. That's who she means. 'Roids puts his feet to the street and beats it, hiding in either a closet (cough) or a bathroom, I can't tell. JWOWW shows up, remembers that Snooki is bringing a friend, and immediately goes upstairs to claim the bedroom meant for three. Which is reasonable. Instead, she finds Sammi, standing behind her “luggages”, sucking in her belly and smirking.
Jenni huffs out a grunt like she just stepped in a pile of warm cat puke in bare feet. Sammi just laughs at this, convinced more than ever that she's the winner of the imagined battle between she and Jenni. She loves the drama, does Sammi, because inside she is a sad, angry person who's life is filled with overblown and imaginary drama where everyone is against her, and she can't be happy unless she's making everyone around her miserable. She's the physical manifestation of schadenfreude with hair extensions. Per.fect.ly.straight hair extensions, I thank you.
Vinny and his shower caddy by Crocs© finally arrive, and he is confronted with an irritated and eye rolling Jenni, who stomps about the place muttering about “bitchez” and how they “bes' rekanize.” Vinny also had the idea of taking the upstairs bedroom that sleeps three so he and his boys can get freaky with ladies and secretly watch each other until caught, then claim they were just checking out each other's moves, all the while wishing it was them getting pile-driven. I mean, they are manly men, wassup! Sammi and 'Roids offer him the spare bed in their room, and let's face it, no guy in that group is fantasizing about 'Roids because he probably has the stereotypical teeny peen, and these are tough, buff Italian men who like a thick sausage.
I may be reading more sexual tension in this house than is actually there. Vinny smartly declines to have a bed next to Cry and Fight and goes in search of another room, which only has two beds. Oh, Vinny knows exactly who's going in that bed. Fab Five Freddy on the remixed into some brostep dance club beat starts rattling the windows of the shore house which means DJ Pauly has pulled up in his Caddy. Vinny didn't get the message about what constitutes a “cool Caddy.”
Vinny flutters around the door waiting for his One True Love to show up, they embrace and laugh, happy to no longer pretend to just “stay the night so they don't have to drive back home drunk” any more; they have the excuse of the house to hide their sins. While Pauly is clearly pissed at Extensions n' 'Roids usurping the biggest bedroom, he gets over it now that they won't have to wait for The Situation to fall asleep; the two have a room all to themselves.
Snooki and Deena “Party in a Cup” (EE cup, am I right ladies? Holla!) show up, Deena having been apprised of all of the drama as if she wasn't riveted to her TV every Jersday night. To her credit she offers to give everyone a chance, with that obviously meaning that she won't spit Funyon breath straight into Sammi's open mouth upon arrival. She's classy like that. Snooki is just so damn happy to be back in the land of the “gorilla, juiced-up, meat-head heaven” that she almost can't walk. Or maybe it's her hooker boots.
JWOWW bolts out of the house, happy to have some backup, and instantly takes to Deena, who is really just a spray tanned and mascara'd ball of hugs and smiles. Also, Jenni is good people. She'll give you a chance. One. But at least she'll give it to you. The inevitable “would you take a look at these assholes taking the best room of the house?” conversation transpires and it dawns on Snooki that the Sitch is all that's left to arrive and he's going to be stuck up there. She's at the same time delighted that Mike, who caused her so much grief, will be stuck with the worst of the worst, but she's human enough to feel a little bad for him, too. Sammi and 'Roids really are something you don't wish on your worst enemy.
Snooki and Deena pour themselves drinks and race to the balcony to shout “whoooo!” until they finally convince themselves they really are happy, that the summer is really going to be as magical as they imagined, that there will be a hairy gorilla of a man that rides up in a stretch Hummer, ready to buy them all the knock off Prada their hearts will desire. It will finally happen. It will. WHOOO god damned HOO.
Sammi and 'Roid, because he has been trained enough at this point to come when she whistles, retreat to their room and I sense some foreshadowing. There is going to be a lot of down time for these two up in the bedroom. Not having sex or anything fun, just lying there, 'Roids watching her paint her nails for the nth time, waiting for her to tell him he's breathing wrong, sitting wrong, isn't loving her enough, or bemoaning her life, waiting for him to tell her how pretty she is. She's pretty, right? Right?
Sammi plugs in her hair straightener, the sizzle of hairspray left on the plates making that citrus smell that soothes her. Sometimes she purposely sprays product on the hot iron just to get that high, some days it's just too much, her being her and everyone else being them. Garnier Fructis is the one thing that helps her get through the bad times.
“I'm in this alone, you get that, right? It's the whole house against me.”
She has never done anything wrong, in her mind, and there is just no real thinking as to why everyone in the house hates her, they just do, probably because they're jealous of what she and whatshisname have. It's real love, and everyone else? Well, they're all a bunch of losers. Goddamnit, Ronnie, she is talking, can you at least pretend to be listening?
“Huh? Oh. I understand, I do. I'm here for you. Always.”
He immediately looks back to his iPhone screen. Those pigs aren't going to be destroyed on their own, someone has to fling those angry birds. The pseudo-violence on his phone is so much more gratifying to focus on than that idea that hasn't fully formed in his brain, the idea that life maybe isn't this awful all the time, that maybe a relationship based on love feels like... love. And not like being nagged and forced to watch the never ending hairstyling that his life has become.
Sammi shows him a little boob and he forgets his misery for a few minutes, his steroid-shrunken penis gives an appreciative, albeit feeble twitch at the glimpse at the one soft thing on this hard, bitter young woman to whom he's been shackled.
Deena is not fazed by the icy mist flowing down the stairs, isn't paying attention to the horrible grinding noise from upstairs as Sammi no doubt grits her teeth while 'Roids rides one out on her leg. (She never lets him inside, boys are dirty. Daddy said so before he went away.) Deena pours a cocktail (straight brake fluid with a maraschino cherry) and lets everyone know she's horny and looking to score. Okay, then! Own that sexuality, girlfriend. Snooki and JWOWW show her their vibrators and Snooki remembers that she has a vibrator in human form in the house, Vinny. I wonder if this will cause any drama...
Sitch finally gets there, passes the snickering group and heads upstairs to find his room. There's a weird stain on the spare bed's comforter and Sammi won't look him in the eye. Ronnie lets out his creepy Voldemort laugh and Sitch knows it's going to be a long season. Time to drink and eat.
Pauly D and Vinny get to making dinner because these are progressive dudes, they like to cook for the family and they're good at it. They will make the cutest couple one day, won't they? All four girls pile around the table, Sammi on one side, Deena across from her with Snooki and Jenni hovering behind their friend. Deena tries to make nice.
“So where you from?”
Sammi picks her teeth with her fake nail, refusing to make eye contact. “Jersey.”
“I'm from Jersey.” Translation, yeah, bitch, that's the show. “Where in Jersey?”
Nothing. Deena offers a crumb, “I'm from New Egypt.”
Sammi keeps picking her teeth, finally she rolls her eyes at this little troglodyte who dares to speak to her, the Queen of the Shore House and tosses off, “Hazlet.” We make 10 Large more a year than your shithole of a town, she means, not understanding that Hazlet ain't high tone either. She just knows that she can get gel fills at her nail shop and Deena is still probably doing her own at home like some kind of poor person.
Deena falls at Sammi's feet, thanking her over and over for sharing such secret, private information like her hometown, vowing to take that knowledge to her grave. Sammi abruptly stands and leaves the patio without a word. The wind tousled the locks over her left ear, they'll need to be seen to.
Deena isn't going to let that squash her fun, she starts downing booze and telling anyone who will listen that she's “single ready to mingle,” a “blast in a glass,” and that she's a “walking holiday.” Somewhere in rural New York Sally Jesse Raphael's head just exploded, the last thought ringing in her ear as it flew across her farm, “Drop that zero and get with a hero never dull your shine for somebody else gotta play to win.”
Sammi immediately mocks this because how dare that little person be happy? Sammi is officially Miss Hannigan who orders her down trodden orphan Ronnie to follow her with a hiss and a jerk of her head. Before she leaves, though, Mingling Single tosses off that she's nice, she gives people a chance, but if you piss her off, she'll get in your face. And that “if you can't take the heat, get out of the bathroom.” No, she says kitchen, she's a dental hygienist, she knows how to make joined up letters work!
At that very moment, Sammi leaves the kitchen. Nice work, editors. They also jump cut to the Situation who makes his dorky “Oh, yeah!” face. I swear, this guy is into lady drama like your Nana with her stories. He loves to gossip, does Mike.
The Cool Kids go outside to play Flip Cup and Miss Hannigan forces little orphan Ronnie to scour the callouses off her feet while she wistfully reflects on how hard her life is. She does glance out the window at the others on occasion, and I think she might be wondering how she's painted herself into this corner and how to get out of it. Instead of doing something like, oh, I don't know, saying she's sorry for being such a giant bitch-wad to everyone, she takes it out on Ronnie by making him lie down next to her, not doing anything because she isn't doing anything. 'Roids isn't giving her the right amount of attention so she starts to cry.
Ronnie sighs, turns off Angry Birds, and pretends to give a shit.
Meanwhile, back at the patio, Deena, Snooki and Vinny are getting sauced in the hot tub, and Deena starts flirting with Vinny. I'm sure Nicole let her in on the distended appendage that Vinny innocently calls a dick, and she's wanting to see for herself. This just upsets Snooki because she wants Vinny to love her, to maybe even marry her one day, they can move out to Schenectady, raise a couple of Italian babies (even though her nationality by birth is Chilean) and he can keep her in faux fur and leopard house shoes until they die of old age.
But Vinny is only 22 or something. And Vinny is just finally starting to get some trim, and what young guy is going to turn that down? Even though deep down he thinks Snooki is pretty cute. And he tries to be gentle with her feelings, telling her he loves her, he doesn't want to hurt her by committing when he doesn't want to, but she's just at that stage in a young woman's life when they're ruled by their hormones and need for snuggles and monster dongs. It's a time of innocence.
Snooki reflects on how Vinny has already hooked up with her other best friend, and I'm thinking that if he's supposed to be your forever love, why the hell aren't you telling your girlfriends to back the hell off? What happened to Chicks before Dicks? Vinny holds her hand, smooths an extension off her sweating brow, and tells her sweetly that he just wants to bone as many holes as he can, but he loves her, and if she ever wanted to just bang one out with him, he'd be totally into that. And he batted his eyelashes, of course.
Deena moves on to more fertile ground, she hopes, and makes a play for the Situation. She's pretty trashed and gets naked in front of him, then, when he shows no interest, says she didn't realize she pulled her bathing suit bottoms off and flashing her landing strip. To his credit, he didn't do anything with her, and steers her to the closet to get dressed. He's probably had enough law suits threatened that he knows that when a girl is drunk, you don't take advantage. But don't go thinking he's a charming, polite young man.
He marches her back up to the group and tells them all what happened. She's laughing it off, but you know that inside she's mortified. I mean, Vinny was downstairs and she showed her cho-cha to Butterface? Mike backs out with “I'm sleepy” but not in the “and I wish someone would come back to bed with me” way and bugs out. Deena goes looking for him, thinking in for a penny, in for a pounding, but Mike is sticking to the “I'm sleepy” reply. That means go away, ladies. I mean, the Situation will screw an opened Gatorade bottle.
And hey, Ronnie and Sammi are laying right next to all of this, and Sammi laughs at Deena. Like, not the “Oh my gosh, just another day in the Shore house!” kind of laugh but “holy shit, this girl!” kind of laugh. That snotty laugh pierces through the drunken fog of Deena's brain and she realizes she's being mocked. She mentions this, Mike says, 'No, no she's not” and Sammi, gleefully sitting up, chirps, “Yes I am! I am laughing at you because I think you're beneath me because I have imagined myself to be someone amazing because I was on a soccer team and that built up a lot of false confidence in me.”
Deena only hears the yes. She awkwardly tries to understand why this girl is so mean, why does she insist on making Deena feel so bad, she who just was introduced to the gang. But Sammi knows this is her moment, all of the frustration from the hours before of being locked out of the group by her own machinations rushing over her in a flood of adrenaline. “Cool!” she says as Deena struggles to just understand. She finally gives up and leaves, tossing a “Cunt” over her shoulder.
How. Dare. She. Sammi cannot believe that someone called her that and didn't say it to her face. It's like it doesn't even count if you don't say it to her face. She wants to be confronted because then she feels justified in her behavior and it makes the pain go away for a few blissful minutes. I think some of Ronnie's steroids have infiltrated her blood stream.
Deena seeks solace from her new family downstairs, telling them what they surely must have heard on their own. Sammi, back upstairs in her throne room, is working herself up into a tizzy, transferring her negative energy to Ronnie like that ninja with electricity in his hands and a basket hat from “Big Trouble In Little China.” Sammi is ready to rumble, but not really because she's the girl that starts fights and has her boyfriend finish them.
Roids McTeenyPeen races downstairs at the mention of “[Sammi's] boyfriend” and I think maybe he's finally snapping at being saddled with Sammi, but no, he just has to get all of his anger out and it's all directed at this weetiny girl, Deena, who backs up a few steps and sobers up quick. 'Roids towers over her, shouting and threatening her, but to her credit, Deena doesn't back off, she stands her ground. Good fa you, cookie.
Everyone is struck silent at the ferocity of Ronnie's rage, he's spitting and frothing and telling her to shut up because Daddy ain't done talking yet. Sammi hovers behind him, soaking all of the drama in, laughing at all the mischief she's caused. She doesn't have to clean up her own mess yet again. She's awfully brave when she has back up.
Snooki can't take anymore. She and Jenni have been perched behind Deena, giving her moral support and waiting to see if they're needed, like good girl friends. Snooki talks over everyone else, “You are such a bitch, Sammi. You are such a bitch. I don't understand how you even have friends.”
But does she, though? I don't think so. Lackeys, yes. Friends? Eh. Snooki keeps repeating that Sammi “cares about no one but herself.” Sammi's only rebuttal is that Snooki and Jenni are horrible people and terrible friends because they wrote that damn anonymous letter to her, informing her of Ronnie being a no good dirty cheater back in Miami, cheating on her every fucking night. Which, if she wasn't so desperate for a Daddy figure to work all of her little lost girl bullshit out on, would have shown her how good friends really act. You don't let your girl get sloppy seconds when she doesn't know she's second.
Sammi remembers she has a trained monkey and shouts at Ronnie, “Is she fake?”
Ronnie looks up from a half-finished SOS message, “Huh?”
“Ron, I'm asking you. Is she fake.”
“Yeah, she's fake.” He immediately drops his head and stares at the screen, trying to remember why he even breathes any more.
Snooki, who is smarter than she acts, shouts that even Ronnie's mom can't stand Sammi. Everything gets quiet. Now, Snooki admits that she made that up. But, she points out, Ron didn't deny it, and Sammi had a knowing look cross her face, like she knows her boyfriend's mom is onto her. Nice tactic, Snooki, way to read people. She then says that she hates Sammi but will always care about Ronnie, if only because he came to her defense when she got punched in the face.
Ronnie snaps and tells her to just “shut up because you're just a loser from Poughkeepsie and you know it.”
Dude. Snooki is an author. (Lol.) What does Ronnie have, a 3am local commercial pushing a tanning salon in the bad part of Staten Island? JWOWW activates like a bee stung her ass. Sammi, unaware of looming danger, points her fist at Snooki and says, “I'll pound you. Bitch.” She gives Ronnie a little side glance, too, making sure he's there to finish this mess for her.
But it is on like Red Dawn with JWOWW, who gets right up in Sammi's face. Sammi fakes a punch but Jenni doesn't, lands one right on her cheek. Sammi, who actually can throw a punch, lands one of her own, and they go back and forth until it devolves into face shoving and wrestling, as all real people fights end. The guys all look on for a few punches, roll their eyes, and then step in between the “ladies.” By guys I mean Vinny and some of the film crew, 'Roids does nothing, most likely spent from the exertion of telling a short girl that he's going to shove his foot up her ass.
The editors of this show know what they're doing, as this is where it ends, with hair pulling, face shoving, and vicious leg kicks as everyone else sets up the table for another round of Flip Cup. This promises to be an awesome season. Welcome to the Hellmouth.
(Keep reading here for the next episode's recap.)