Jersey Shore: "And The Wall Won"
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Jersey Shore: "And The Wall Won"

MTV, you deceived us. Here, millions of viewers thought they were going to watch Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino get his block knocked off by Ronnie “Xenadrine” Ortiz-Magro, and then all we get is Mike throwing himself into a concrete wall and then a little scuffling that’s quickly broken up by two suddenly appearing security guards? Putting aside the fact that it’s ridiculous that there are bodyguards behind the cameras when the gang’s just hanging out at home, the whole thing is kind of a bummer. Violence isn’t generally cool, but when these two dudes have all this history and are as G-ed up as these are, let ‘em just scrap it out for a couple of minutes. It’ll be a fury of fists, gel and bronzer, and because they’re so oily, no one’ll get hurt really, anyway. Besides, as Pauly points out, neither of them can really fight. Neither Mike’s extensive karate background nor Ronnie’s shoulder width amount to a hill of beans when neither of them can actually throw a punch.

So, with that behind us, what’s left? Mike goes to the hospital because he threw himself into the wall trying to break through it to show Ron-Ron (and millions of viewers) how crazy he is. He comes home with a neck brace that he probably doesn’t really need but looks funny on TV, thus reminding viewers that Mike always, always knows how he’s going to look on camera and, for that matter, where the cameras are in every room so he can fake cry to them, or look sad.

And then, of course, Ronnie and Sammi. This again, really? Really? On the bright side, it looks like this shitstorm might be done after two episodes, but then again, is anything ever really “done” with them, no matter how much they say they’re done? Their bullshit is hands down the worst part of Jersey Shore and hands down makes them look like the worst people on the show — and that’s saying a lot.

That being said, Ronnie came off as kind of an okay dude in this situation, or rather, after he went at it with The Situation. He realizes that these fights with Sam and with whoever aren’t just affecting his present, they’re affecting his future (because everything’s on TV, dude, and you don’t want to hit someone and then get your kid taken away, a la Teen Mom’s Amber). Honestly, who would want to hire Ronnie as a spokesperson or even as a car salesman? He might be good for some walk-up “oh hey there’s that guy” business, but would you trust him at all? Halfway through this episode he’s committing to trying to be the bigger person and being an adult in breakup 5000 with Sammi, but he’s got a few more episodes to go before I start believing he’s even capable of adult emotion, let alone adult actions.

The thing is, though, that this kind of juvenile shit is what MTV wants and maybe what viewers want. If you throw eight people in a house who drink, drink, drink, are reasonably attractive, and are fully aware of the persona they need to play to make good television, this is the kind of shit you’re going to get. Sure, you’re going to get the wacky hijinks of Vinny and Pauly, but you’re also going to get Ronnie realizing that he’s an animal incapable of human feelings, and that until he gets into a normal, not-on-TV house, he’s not going be able to just calm down.

Vinny says that Ronnie’s “trapped in his own mind,” and that’s totally true. You could joke around and say, “oh, Ronnie’s mind’s been shrunk by ‘roids,” and that might be true, but really, what’s affecting him more is this fame monster. When your livelihood, personality, and reputation are tied up in how you appear on a TV show, are you just playing a character or are you being you?

Snooki can say she’s being Snooki all she wants, but at what point does “Snooki” become a character, rather than just an amped up version of what Nicole becomes when she gets drunk? Same thing goes for the rest of these kids. Jenni and Vinny come off the best because they seem to have the best sense of who they are, even if that persona’s a little ridiculous at times. They’re the least interested in being famous for being famous, unlike Sitch, who’s probably the most upset about Snooki and Jionni because — think about it — if he were with Snooki, they’d be like twice as famous as they already are. They’d be Mooki, complete with wacky “we’re together!” TV series and disgusting paparazzi photos.

It’s insane, but that’s the kind of insanity that these televised situations can inspire in people, and that’s what Ronnie’s kind of perpetually stuck in the middle of. Regardless of what kind of person he is, he deserves to get through this, Xenadrine and all.

Stray observations:

• I wonder if Jionni doesn’t like dirty talk in general or if he just doesn’t like dirty talk on the phone that’s being recorded for millions people to hear? 

• Fortunately for producers, when these “characters” threaten to leave, it takes awhile to pack four to eight suitcases, so they have time to intervene.

• Another country, another house full of lightweight furniture for these maroons to ruin. Why are the mattresses so damn light?

• Do you think it’s in the cast’s contract that they have to bring any club hookups back to their house? I understand that the randos they pick up probably want to see the famous TV house, but couldn’t they just go back to said rando’s house or something rather than making out in a twin bed under a camera?

• Did anyone watch this last season of Celebrity Rehab? Ronnie’s on a full-on Michael Lohan course, in that he’s going to have a heart explosion during one of these rage episodes and stroke out. His anger’s scary when it’s directed at other people, sure, but it’s also just as scary when you think of what it’s doing to his health.

• Good for Sammi knowing that the best way to check on someone who just got home from the hospital with a head injury is to shake them awake and whine “are you okay?” Surely Mike appreciated that.

• Sammi tries to be “mature” by putting all the stuff Ronnie’s given her on his bed, and then gets mad when he throws it away. I mean, what does she want him to do with it? Save it in a memory box? He doesn’t want to take those dresses back to the states, and it’s not like he can give them to someone else. Though, he maybe should have saved the earrings for resale or something.

• I’m sure Tijuana, the Mexican restaurant in Florence, has excellent margaritas.

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