Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jersey Shore: "Free Snooki"

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This past Monday, Marah professed her love to JWoww, a feeling I’ve shared since those immortal first-season words: “I felt like eating ham and drinking water. HAM!” JWoww is a great supporting player on Jersey Shore: She can be surprisingly funny, she’s always down for a scrap, and her loyalty to Snooki—and hatred for Sammi/Angelina—makes her likable and relatable. (And apparently she’s a not-terrible artist. Who knew?) But, her bi-weekly fistfights with other members of the house notwithstanding, she hasn’t really had much of a storyline that wasn’t somehow tied to Snooki: She’s been in a relationship of some sort for pretty much the entire series, she generally gets along with all the non-Sammi members of the house, and she seems to be a reasonably responsible drunk. (Again, minus those fistfights, because really, can you blame her?) Basically, Jenni’s arc over the last two seasons has been to play with her boobs in the mirror and occasionally launch herself fist-first into someone else’s fight.

But tonight we were asked to muster up some pathos toward Ms. Woww as we watched the dissolution of her relationship, and up until the last five minutes, I wasn’t really feeling it. I mean, she did forget her anniversary with Tom and spend an adorably quaint evening on the boardwalk flirting with her ex, Roger (and a night in the smash room, though allegedly nothing happened YEAHRIGHT). Clearly this wasn’t a romance for the ages. But watching her and Snooki enter her house to rescue the dogs Tom abandoned after she broke it off, only to discover he had taken her bed and her watch, and oh yeah, her hard drive, all her personal files, and the money in her PayPal account, was genuinely upsetting. Jersey Shore is most entertaining when it’s a comedy (and least entertaining when it’s a soap opera *cough*SamandRonnie*cough*), and the occasional reminder that the cast members are real people with real problems and not just wind-up party dolls let loose for our enjoyment/titillation is jarring and a little uncomfortable.

But just because her relationship is crumbling around her doesn’t mean JWoww can take a break from her top priority: babysitting Snooki. The episode opens with JWoww dealing with Snooki’s arrest for Drunken Indecency Public Intoxication In The Public while simultaneously having a drawn-out duckphone fight with Tom. Then she has to play psychologist to Snooki two or three times, enlisting the help of Pauly D, Vinnie, and their FlipCam ®©™ to cheer up the sad little meatball, who is so depressed she’s actually considering giving up drinking. (Except for pinot. That’s okay because pregnant people drink it.) Even after getting to watch JWoww suffocate Vinnie with her boobs, Snooki maintains her pout until Jenni is forced to call upon Roger to hand-deliver them frappuccinos and a (gasp, Irish) juicehead friend for Snooki. Suddenly Snooki’s happy again and ready to support Jenni as she deals with the Tom fallout. It’s a nice little symbiotic relationship these girls have going.

Things were pretty quiet elsewhere in the house, which has been overtaken by what Mike calls an “avalanche of good energy.” Despite the best shit-stirring efforts of MVP, Deena’s hookup with Ronnie’s doppelganger, Dean, elicited little reaction from our favorite bedridden couple, warranting only a mumble of recognition from Ronnie (though it is pretty hilarious that they know each other) and a side-eye from Sammi as Deena kissed her possibly-not-so-single paramour goodbye in the morning. The Situation was almost invisible this week: His only major contribution to the episode was starting the (admittedly hilarious) chorus of “Roger that!” in response to JWoww’s terse conversation with Tom about her night out with Roger. Things may not be going so well for Jenni outside the house, but within the enclave of the Jersey Shore, things seem to be going pretty smoothly… a little too smoothly. And you know what that means: It’s time for another Sammi-Ron throwdown. Be sure to stretch your yawning muscles before tuning in for that next week!

Stray observations:

  • OK, when did Snooki change out of her club dress into the shorts and tank top she got arrested in? And why was she wearing a different dress as she was walking out of jail? Apparently, she changed while JWoww was getting that “Free Snooki” shirt made. (Admittedly, this would be a lot more suspect if they didn’t work in a make-your-own T-shirt shop.)
  • Snooki knows the secret to handling angry dads: baby voice.
  • “It’s kind of like a disease to Snook for love. It’s worse than a staph infection.”
  • Those pistachio commercials featuring Snooki, Wee Man, and Keyboard Cat should win the Cleo for WTF.
  • Deena’s flirtation technique: list a guy’s physical attributes, tell him he’s your “perfect guy,” repeat until he kisses your pussy.
  • Did you catch Dean’s “oh shit” look at the camera when Ronnie outed him for having a girlfriend (named Sam!).
  • Best scene of the night, hands-down: Pauly D and Vinnie’s little improv number discussing whether they should write Sam a note telling her that not-Ronnie was cheating on her with Deena. Get these guys a spin-off.
  • Ronnie seems to have sexually contracted a bit of Sammi’s martyr complex, calling JWoww a hypocrite for talking to Tom on the phone after spending a night talking amiably to her ex on a couch at Bamboo, which is totally the same as a three-way kiss, right?
  • Weird discovery as I was texting Marah about tonight’s episode: My iPhone changes “Vinnie” to “Vonnegut.”