Jersey Shore: "Like More Than A Friend"
B+

Jersey Shore: "Like More Than A Friend"

B+

Jersey Shore

"Like More Than A Friend"

Season 4, Episode 2

Okay, who had week two in the “When will Sammi or Ronnie start drama” pool? Oh, that’s right, everyone, because the Jersey Shore machine essentially runs on the tears of those two at this point. We know it, the producers know it, and Sammi and Ron know it, but we all just keep going back for more punishment. At least SamRon and the producers have a vested financial interest in keeping these two shit, er, lovebirds together; but what’s our excuse? Like the rest of the roommates—except maybe the eternally shit-stirring Situation—we’re all sick of the will-they-won’t-they non-question (They will. They always will.), but a part of us hopes that maybe, just maybe, this will be the season that Ronnie and Sam can actually just chill out and have fun, like they (mostly) did in the first season, before time and fame and Xenadrine took their toll. But then Ronnie starts waving his conquests in Sam’s face (four girls in three days!), and she starts engaging in drunken conversations about feelings, and we’re off to the races once more.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment—you kind of have to in order to not go insane with all of this—Ronnie does seem to be legitimately trying to move on, rebuffing Sam’s advances in the puppy-doggiest manner possible and cooing on the phone to his new “friend” Hannah “just to hear her voice.” And Sammi is stuck living in close proximity, in a very romantic city, to the man she broke up with only a few short months ago, watching him try to move on, which can’t be easy. I’m not saying either of them are acting reasonably, but it’s at least somewhat understandable. They’re living in a marble-and-granite powder keg, and when Ronnie lights four finger-matches and waves them in Sammi’s face, you can see the rest of the roommates thinking, “Oh shit, duck and cover.”

Or if you’re Deena, fall down and cover. Deena was the faceplant MVP this episode, though both Ronnie and Sammi stepped up (or down rather) with a nice digger of their own. Between that, Pauly’s sitcom-y avoidance of Deena’s cuddle requests, and everyone seeing The Vatican—you know, the one DaVinci painted—on every corner despite the fact that it’s roughly 150 miles away, there was enough old-school Jersey Shore-type comedy to leaven the soggy, sticky dough of the SamRon drama.

In case that tortured metaphor wasn’t enough of a tip-off: The gang’s working in a pizza parlor this season, though judging by JWoww’s request for “a lot of sauce,” they might need to adjust their pizza receptors to “Neapolitan” from “Famous Ray’s.” You can tell by the resentful manner in which the gang trudges out of the house and over to the restaurant for “orientation” that they’re as sick of this ruse as we are. T-shirt shop, gelato stand, pizza parlor: It doesn’t matter where they work, we all know that their real job on this show is to fall down, smoosh, cry, and churn out catchphrases. And with language and cultural barriers separating them from their Italian boss, this has the potential for serious awkwardness. Danny was happy to print up “GTL” shirts and let his famous staff literally lie around the Shore Store, and the extra business the gang brought to that gelato shop probably endeared them at least somewhat to the owner, but I suspect Pizza Boss will be less tolerant of American reality show hijinks, seeing as the housemates are not nearly the customer draw in Italy that they are Stateside.

But they won’t have to worry about that until they actually start working, which won’t be for a full week. (I wonder how many hours the cast actually ends up working. I bet it’s not many!) This leaves plenty of time to kick off two stories of unrequited love, one kinda funny, one kinda disturbing. It was clear during their slobber session last week that Deena is much more into the idea of hooking up than Pauly is, though he’s smart(?) enough to keep that option in play. He tells Snooki he “probably will” fuck her—provided she’ll back off if he can find someone better—but then he fake-sleeps through her late-night advances and later asks her to get off his lap so he can get up and offer his pal Vinny some chapstick. I mentioned last season that I think Pauly’s charming personality might be hiding some troublingly manipulative tendencies, and him stringing Deena along is certainly not the nicest thing to do. But he does buy her an apology bracelet after dropping a mini drama bomb between her and Sitch, and he and Deena do seem to have a mature-for-this-show-anyway friendship, so it’s probably okay to just sit back and laugh along with the editors on this one.

Situation’s sudden love for Jionni’s main squeeze Snooki, however, is more troubling, for several reasons. The correlation between his interest and her unavailability is the most glaring issue, not to mention his aggressive emotional and physical advances. (He tells her he loves her and is always there for her while rubbing her knee, as she sits uncomfortably and mutters non-committal answers.) Then there’s Jionni himself, who flips out on the phone at Snooki for not calling him for one whole day, time difference and jet-lag be damned! While this certainly does not bode well for that relationship—and indeed, the two have supposedly since split—the way Sitch sidles up at the first scent of trouble, hovering over Snooki and “encouraging” her as she argues with her boyfriend is downright icky. Poor Snook seems to be stuck between a jerk and a dumb place, and yeah, she got herself in there in the first place, but as she seems to slowly be pulling herself together in other areas, it would be nice if she didn’t have this shit dragging her down.

Speaking of pulling one’s shit together: I’m starting to worry about Snooks and JWoww, you guys. Not their dramatically shrunken appearances, though Jenni’s face is… distressing, but rather the fact that they seem to be acting somewhat, dare I say it, classy. Jenni hasn’t worn a single article of clothing made from string and flat-out says she won’t pee on the floor—okay, your highness—and for every knee-high, dead-Muppet boot Snooki wears, she alternates it with a sophisticated-ish getup like her black dress and floppy hat brunch combo. And, most significantly, neither of them got shitfaced drunk even once this episode. Two years of being in the public eye have taught them a thing or two, and while they’re not exactly refined ladies, they do seem to be exercising a troubling amount of caution in how they act (not how they drive, though). Come on, ladies, step it up! Snooki, hurry up and hospitalize those Italian cops, already! And JWoww, I better see you pounding limoncello and demanding prosciutto and acqua before this season is out!

Stray observations:

  • “She’s a good kisser, I’m a good kisser.” Not from where I’m standing, Pauly.
  • Snooki’s—and all the girls’, for that matter—insistence on calling the guys’ conquests ugly whores is so not cute.
  • Even less cute: Deena’s under-butt tanlines.
  • Another interesting quirk of the show’s move overseas: It doesn’t seem like the gang is getting the same VIP treatment in Florence clubs that they’ve grown accustomed to in Jersey and Miami ones. Seeing them mingle with normal-looking folks in half-empty rooms is a nice flashback to the first season. (Remember Snooki dancing alone in the middle of that weird old-man bar?)
  • Ronnie holds the phone very daintily.
  • “God, everything’s in another language!”
  • So were those small strawberries or raspberries? I MUST KNOW!
  • “I don’t know how people can sleep the whole damn day away. I can’t.” Then why were you ALWAYS in bed last season, Sammi?
  • “When I’m 80 years old, and I’m making pizza in my kitchen, and I’m teaching my kids how to make pizza, and they ask me, ‘Oh where did you learn to make pizza,’ I’ll be like, ‘Bitch I made it in Florence, that’s where I made pizza, so shut your mouth and enjoy my pizza.’” PIZZA.
  • Backup Plan Brittany is making some terrible life choices during her semester abroad.
  • “I am the pimp daddy mac of this whole place!” exclaims Ron, with toilet paper stuck to his face. It’s that kind of sublime juxtaposition that brings us back week after week.
  • A “Blow Pop” is a blow job and… what, exactly? Stupid bleeps.
  • “If she only owns Snow White on DVD, she’s too young for you, bro!” T-shirt bearing that phrase coming to a Shore Store near you.
  • I know Duck Phone, Fist-Pumping Marionette, and you, sir, are no Duck Phone.

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