Jersey Shore: "Back into the Fold"
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Jersey Shore: "Back into the Fold"

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Jersey Shore

"Back into the Fold"

Season 2, Episode 13

Hola trashbags, land mines and grenades. We’ve come to the end of another season of Jersey Shore. The reality television phenomenon once filled me with fevered, albeit guilty anticipation. Now if fills me with something closer to dread. We elevated these unknowns to trash-culture superstars so if they've turned into monsters of id and ego before our eyes we are at least partially to blame. 

The season finale of Jersey Shore opens with the self-styled Guidos and Guidettes taking a field trip to the Florida Everglades. It made for less than riveting television (see also: this entire season) but it underlined how incredibly circumscribed the cast’s lives in Miami were.

Florida is a big, beautiful, insane state full of natural wonders and people who are out of their goddamn mind. It contains multitudes. It's a world onto itself, not unlike Texas and Alaska, two other states that may as well be foreign countries they have such strong, distinct cultures and identities. That didn’t interest the cast of Jersey Shore. For them, Miami was a home, a nightclub and a beach. Oh and maybe a gelato shop if they could muster up the energy to work the occasional eight-hour shift. That’s it. That’s all they care about. They’re defined by their rapacious lack of curiosity about the world around them.

After the gang returns home, Jersey SHore tries and fails to glean a little melancholy out of the cast’s imminent separation, from each other and the women they’ve been dating casually for several weeks. Vinnie and his boy DJ Pauly D are supposed to have semi-serious flames but it’s hard to be emotionally invested in the three-week fling between people incapable of expressing their feelings in anything other than caveman grunts. Remember when Vinnie seemed likable and smart? Whatever happened to that guy? He was replaced in the off-season by a colossal asshole who looked exactly like him.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was the odd man out so he did what he always does: he made out with random skanks and instigating trouble. Vinnie, for example, was too besotted with his flame—he even remembered her name—to have a threesome with two random skanks at a nightclub. Within the context of Jersey Shore, this qualified as a major romantic gesture; only a man in love would politely turn down sex with women just because he doesn’t find them attractive or know them.

The human garbage professionally known as “The Situation” wasn’t quite so high-minded. When Vinnie wistfully turned down the prospect of getting a bathroom-stall blowjob from women of easy virtue, he seized the day, and the opportunity to contract the few venereal diseases not already coursing through his system, by swooping in and availing himself of the sexual services of these two fine visions of womanhood.

Ronny and Sammi, meanwhile, engaged in more of their trademark insufferable fighting. At the start of the season I felt sorry for Sammi because of the way Ronny treated her but she’s proven herself every bit as obnoxious and unbearable as her steroid-crazed suitor. Honestly, these two horrible people deserve each other.

The show, and the season, ended with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino starting shit by asking each cast member who they thought the phoniest person in the house was. This, of course, sparked a predictable string of screaming matches but having watched these people eat, fuck, dance and then eat, fuck, dance some more I think I can conclusively say that every member of the house is equally phony and risible.

The second season of Jersey Shore didn’t end so much as stumble drunkenly to a dispiriting anti-climax. I greeted this season with wide-eyed delight. I don’t even know if I can bring myself to watch the show when it returns.