In all truth and bitter honesty, there hasn’t been any rhyme or reason to the titles of these recaps so far this season. I love Italian movies (Italian cinema = Russian literature = Swedish pop music = American television = perfection), but the highly anticipated Florentine season of Jersey Shore has been depressingly un-Italian so far. I think that’s why we were all so disappointed by the first few episodes. We all figured that this season would somehow be different: smarter, more extreme, more decadent, just plain weirder. Instead, the shenanigans were depressingly repetitive. The cast seems unwilling to hang with anyone besides freakish blonde glimmer twins. The producers seem equally unwilling to present Italy in even the slightest complexity: I’m sure we’ve all had a good laugh at Sammi and Deena’s Six-Hour-Energy commercial, complete with a dude who sounds like a Russian pretending to be Italian – “Seex Hower Power! Pizza and meatballs, eh tovarisch?” – but that commercial basically sums up the show’s simplistic portrayal of Florence. (By comparison, Seaside Heights was freaking Westeros.)
But last night’s episode gave me hope. And the title of this recap does not lie: the closing showdown was a classic three-way Leone affair. Earlier, Sammi and Ronnie appeared to be so happy to be together again. Third time is the charm, and three hundred is a multiple of three, so this time totally still counted. Ronnie was buying his lady love nice things, and taking her out to nice dinners. “You’ve changed, my darling Ron-Ron,” said Sam, “You’re a different person.” “Burp!” agreed Ronnie.
(Elsewhere in Florence, J-Woww told Snooki about the Hannah Conundrum: Ronnie has been talking on the phone with this mystery girl, who is supposedly just a “friend,” but Jenni is suspicious. The camera actually went into Snooki’s brain, and we saw the whole sordid Miami tale of Letter-Gate play out before our eyes. Shnookums deadpanned: “Let it be.” Kudos to you, Jersey Shore editors!)
But you have to understand, viewers: this new iteration of Relationship Ronnie had a plan. He wasn’t going to let being with Sammi change him. Sometimes, Ol’ Ron-Ron just wants to dance. He can’t help it if random ladies stroll up to him and start gyrating in his radius. But don’t tell Sammi that. At Club YAB, she told Ronnie, “That girl was dancing in your radius!” Ron blanched. “Honeydoll, have you seen my radius? Xenadrine is a hell of a drug.” Sammi apologized, but she specifically apologized in a tone of voice that said, “Why is it that I always have to apologize before you forgive me?”
Ronnie and Sammi are each other’s best friends, but they are also each other’s worst enemies. In a sense, they are as much a creative partnership as they are a romantically-linked couple. They have created some great television together. (Perhaps it was accidental, but plenty of great art is accidental. Science, too: Remember penicillin?) But creating greatness doesn’t necessarily make people closer: Just ask Lennon and McCartney, or Martin and Lewis, or Jobs and Wozniak. When they returned to the Jersey Villa, Ronnie and Sam seemed ready to have a final face-off; a repeat of last season’s knock-down-drag-out war. But then, just like Lee Van Cleef in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, a third party entered the fray.
NEXT: In this metaphor, The Situation is “The Bad”