Jersey Shore Review: Love Is a Battlefield
Mike opens this installment of Jersey Shore with the resolve of OJ Simpson as he vows to bring justice to “the real troublemaker” behind his ongoing social crisis. Supposedly, the blame lies with Snooki, and the only solution is to call up his very special friend Unit to handle “unfinished business” by ratting Snooks out to Jionni. As it happens, Unit is off-duty and away in Miami, but Mike needs an excuse to keep his main squeeze on the phone. When Sitch probes for gossip about his brother Frank’s recent date with Deena’s sister, Unit reveals some unsavory details that are bleeped out when repeated by Mike but understood by every lip-reading viewer with a working knowledge of sex slang.
On yet another late night at Aztec, Deena helps her friend Vinny by babysitting Deanna, a random brunette, while he attempts to court Nikki, a more enticing “hot” chick. Deena doesn’t want poor Vin to go home to a cold, empty bed, so she takes it upon herself to keep Deanna toasty on the back burner while he aims higher. Dancing with her at the club and escorting her to the house behind Vinny and Nikki, Deena even goes so far as to ask Deanna if she’s D.T.F. so that she doesn’t waste the Pubescent Prince’s time by being a bitchy prude who refuses to consummate a brief introduction at the bar. “I’m the ultimate wingwoman,” says Deena to the camera, silently wishing it had the ability to fist-bump a friendly congratulations. Because it’s a dispassionate inanimate object, it does not, so Deena exits the confessional and resumes seeking temporal, conditional approval from men under any and all circumstances.
Pauly introduces his blond conquest to the bedroom, where the two boys slay their women in twin beds so close together they might as well be touching. Nikki left only minutes ago, after having claimed to be a lesbian, so Deanna is the lucky lady tonight. The next morning, Vinny refers to her as “an average girl, an average smush,” and I’m sure she hasn’t stopped squealing since.
JWoww isn’t half as lucky in the love department, meanwhile, as Roger uses his allegedly stolen phone as a reason to drop off the grid for 48 hours. Not only has he taken the day off of work for the sake of his lost device when he’s refused to do so in the past for Jenni, but he also went to the beach with his “boys” instead of inviting her like she’s been begging him to for weeks. JWoww confronts this aggravating behavior with insecurity, silent suspicion, and passive aggression, and when Roger stands her up on a day when he must stay late at the job, she rants about his lack of consideration before hanging up on him in a huff.
Sammi of the Perpetual Broken Heart, upon hearing this all go down, is overjoyed to observe another woman feeling so disrespected by her guy. “He’s a boy!” she says, totally resigned to the hopelessness of it all. Before Sammi can drag JWoww off to commiserate forever about their sad lot in life as members of the under-appreciated and thoroughly unsatisfied weaker sex because that’s just how God designed it, Jenni is off for a cigarette.
Over in Meatball Town (Population: 2), things are not looking great. In addition to Deena’s pitiful wingwoman antics, Snooki’s stumbling home alone (with the camera guy) drunk and waking up in the mornings to curse the sun and announce her need for a therapist and some AA meetings. On work days, she’s coaxing Deena into skipping out to drink at a boardwalk bar, once multiple times in one day. What the meatballs see as harmless hijinks are grave missteps in the eyes of their Shore Store boss Danny, whose bark is much more authoritative than his bite. He backs down after a half-assed apology, but Mike the Situation is not so lenient with the munchkins. Though Snooki and Deena make great efforts to include him in their fun, even inviting him out to dance one night, he can’t hold his vindictiveness and self-loathing at bay. In his mind, Snooki only wants to hang out with him in order to stay on his good side so he won’t hurt her relationship with Jionni. Of course, that’s precisely what she’s up to, and it’s painfully obvious, but can’t he just play along and be grateful he has friends at all?
With Deena, Mike foresees an entertaining game that he deems more valuable than any bond he could potentially share with her. Because Deena’s sister Joannie had a couple of dates with Frank, everyone in the house thinks it’d be a good time to joke about Deena and Mike being future in-laws. At the dinner table one fine Sunday, Mike brings up the fact that Frank smushed Joannie on their first date and that it was probably his first time since ending a nine-year relationship. Deena is appalled that he would be so tasteless, almost as if she’s ever seen him exhibit a hint of restraint or respect in their time as acquaintances.
Mike just can’t wait to leave the dinner table and pick up the phone to call his delicious boy toy Unit, who hints at the possibility that Frank is not genuinely interested in Joannie beyond a convenient smush or two. Sitch is delighted to hear it and proud of his brother for disposing of a woman so readily. “I want to pat him on the back,” he says, smiling at the camera. As soon as he’s said goodbye to his honey, Situation gets a call from the sister in question. The exact reason for Joannie’s call is unclear, but Sitch jumps right in, declaring his brother’s love for her. “The word is that he had an awesome time on your date,” he tells her, suggesting Frank will probably want to see much more of her in the future. Joannie’s voice is ridiculously brash and regional, much like her sister’s, but I still feel pangs of sympathy as she takes Mike at his word, thanking him for the news. Deena needs to be on much higher alert than she currently is, because Mike is way too excited about manipulating this dark scenario for giggles.
No episode of this show is quite complete without a scene at the gym. In this one, Vinny and Pauly are joined by Roger at the treadmills to discuss how lame and immature Jenni is. Roger makes it clear that if she’s still waiting for a phone call, she won’t get it, because he’s not a stupid game-playing teenager like she is. What he means by that is, “As a dude, I get to respond to my girlfriend’s insecurity with cold indifference and eventual anger, even though my own refusal to inform her about my intentions and whereabouts is what prevented this from being a mere misunderstanding in the first place.”
Having been tipped off by the boys as they arrived home, Jenni calls Roger to apologize for ever having doubted or questioned him. His reaction is yelling, threats about their relationship, and guilt-tripping on account of his being hurt and not feeling trusted. He feels he’s paying for the sins of every man who’s ever screwed her over in the past, and that’s probably true. Unfortunately for him and all the other man-children on the Shore, no one ever said being one of God’s Chosen Ones came without strings attached.
NEXT WEEK: Roger proves his usefulness at the club by knocking out a rude guy for Jenni, and Deena finally takes the time out to “do sex.”
For another take on this week’s episode check out “The Follow Game” by Tanya Lane.
Season 5, Episode 6: “The Follow Game” (original airdate February 9, 2012)
Jersey Shore airs Thursdays at 10/9c on MTV.
Images courtesy of MTV.