Jersey Shore: “Meatball Mashup”
A-

Jersey Shore: “Meatball Mashup”

Ah, the destination episode. A long-standing TV tradition intended to inject some life into a series that has fallen into a rut—or, failing that, give the cast and crew a paid vacation to some exotic locale. Never mind that Jersey Shore is predicated on the very idea that its cast members are on vacation; after weeks of navigating the streets of Florence, fruitlessly searching for the Sistine Chapel and yelling at passerby through a bullhorn in front of the pizza shop, the roommates have clearly earned a producer-masterminded break. So they Fiat off to Riccione, an Italian beach town that seems like Seaside Heights’ slightly less trashy older cousin. And what do you know, away from the humdrummery of their lame ol’ villa in boring ol’ Florence, the roommates rediscover some of that first-season spark—well, two of them do, anyway. And one of them wasn’t even in the first season. Point is, it’s been far too long since we’ve seen Snooki doing her back-and-forth march-dance in the middle of the day in a deserted bar, and adding Deena to the equation only upped the trainwreckitude.

Yes, the meatballs got thoroughly sauced in tonight’s episode. A part of me wants to wring my hands over the fact that Deena and Snooki seem to, more than any of the other roommates, feel the need to live up to their “blast in a glass” reputation by getting blackout drunk—a concern I apparently share with Snooki’s ex-boyfriend, who tweeted this summer that MTV is turning Snooki into an alcoholic. But a larger part of me realizes that at this point it is basically Snooki’s job to get drunk and act the fool, and she's probably (hopefully) more in control of it than she lets on; and at least she’s doing it in the controlled environment of Jersey Shore tapings, where there are producers and cameramen and MTV lawyers around to protect her and Deena when JWoww and Sammi tire of their antics and ditch them. But the biggest part of me is laughing at Snooki taking a headlong dive into some bushes, and Deena taking a headlong dive into Snooki’s… no, sorry, I can’t bring myself finish that joke.

Lez-be-honest (there, I said it, are you happy now, Pauly and Vinny?), the whole Snooki-Deena makeout session was uncomfortable. It’s hard to say whether it was at least somewhat for the cameras’ benefit or if they really were completely blacked out, and even harder to say which scenario would be sadder. And there was a strong implication that it was going to lead to another fight between Snooki and her hairpin-trigger boyfriend, which no one wants; we already got a taste early in the episode, when Jionni goes from answering the phone to berating Snooki in the span of five seconds, and that was plenty. However, not only did Jionni decide to keep his rage-gun in the holster upon learning about Snooki’s dalliance with Deena, we were treated to a pretty hilarious reenactment of the Meatball Sandwich from JWoww and Sammi, who apparently does have expressions other than “scowl” and “simper.” So we’ll call that a win for everyone, except the poor tourists who decided to go to Riccione the same weekend as Deena and Snooki.

Once the cast gets back to Florence, we get a brief intermission in the Parade Of Poor Decision-Making, as Snooki, Deena, and Sitch head off to work, where Mike has the gall to actually do his job (maybe that run-in with the wall knocked a work ethic into him), while the Meatballs climb inside a couple of garbage cans in order to provide the viewing audience with several trashbags’ worth of easy jokes. Then we jump right back into the season four highlight reel, with the second of the two major incidents the show has been teasing since the first episode: Snooki crashing into an Italian police car while driving without a license.

We only get brief glimpses of a cop getting carted away on a stretcher and Snooki being led, crying, into the back of a police car (is anyone else feeling nostalgic for last season all of a sudden?), which means there should be plenty of fallout in next week’s episode—including, if paparazzi photos are to be believed, the second hilarious neck-brace of the season. Plus: Jionni’s visit, which will surely be subdued and uneventful.

Stray observations

  • The Meatballs dominated this episode, which means there wasn’t room for even one single incident of SamRon drama. That right there puts this in the top 10 percent of JS episodes.
  • It’s nice to see that working at the pizza place hasn’t stopped these kids from taking their signature 45-minute 15-minute breaks from work.
  • A passerby at the beachside bar gives the girls lessons in how to say “vagina” in Italian, which they remember, and how to act like a lady, which they don’t.
  • “All I know is, Deena needs a wax.”
  • How DARE you wake up the housemates, Ronnie. That is Pauly’s thing, and he is apparently weirdly protective of it!
  • “Nobody knows how to fucking drive here.”
  • I’m not the only one who saw Snooki and Deena in those trash cans and thought of Daleks, right?
Filed Under: TV, Jersey Shore

More TV Club