Darren Franich
February 17, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EST

There’s a disturbing trend emerging in recent episodes of Jersey Shore. Episodes will end at a moment of apparent horror, usually involving the duck phone, but the following episode will solve that horror almost immediately. A couple weeks ago, Mike’s evil plans for showing Jionni that his girlfriend makes bad decisions seemed to be coming to fruition…but then it turned out that his boy Unit was down in Miami. Last week, J-Woww and Roger appeared to be having a break-up fight…and then in last night’s episode, it turned out that Roger was just stating his case clearly. “I love you, and I don’t wanna be with anyone else” said Jolly Roger. Such drama!

In some ways, the Shorehouse is beginning to feel a little bit like a retirement home. The petty squabbles and minor dramas are quickly resolved or just forgotten, as if everyone has agreed that life is too short to argue. Indeed, for all the producers’ craven attempts to build the whole Situation/Jionni showdown into a series-defining narrative, the mystery of who ate Boss Danny’s Sorry Cake was the first time in weeks that the show has created anything like genuine narrative tension. Everyone assumed it was Mike, because he is either a supervillain or the richest hobo in the world, depending on your perspective. At the T-shirt shop, Deena outright accused Mike of eating the cake. Mike said, “No, I don’t eat cake. I actually am on a diet, so it could not have been me.” In the confessional he said, “Did I eat the cake? Holy s— did I eat the cake!”

Here’s the funny thing: Mike didn’t eat the cake. It was Pauly D, no doubt performing yet another socio-scientific experiment in order to better understand humanity before he and his alien overseers take over our measly planet. This was interesting for two reasons:

1. We really have reached the point where The Situation is blamed for every single thing in the house. At this point, it’s not even like he’s the show’s villain; it’s more like he’s the house’s incarnation of mankind’s impulse for evil, and even if he’s not directly responsible for bad things happening, he’s indirectly responsible for fostering a culture of douchebaggery.

2. I’ve said before that The Situation is the ultimate villain of Jersey Shore, but lately I’ve begun to rethink that theory. Like, you know how in X-Men, Magneto originally seemed like the ultimate earth-conquering supervillain? But then we met Apocalypse, who was roughly ten times as cray cray as Magneto, and also a robot or something? And then by comparison, Magneto seemed less like a supervillain and more like a friendly extremist? (If you’re a fan of Lost, replace “Magneto” with “Ben” and “Apocalypse” with “The Smoke Monster,” and it amounts to the same thing.) Anyhow, the point is that Pauly D is actually Apocalypse, and his upcoming spin-off will lead into a political career, and then we’re living through Omen III: The Final Conflict.

After the truth came out, Uncle Situation was hurt. So he called up his friend Bobby. “Quack quack,” he quacked, “Is The Unit back from Miami?” “Nope!” quacked Bobby. “Blast!” said Uncle Situation. “Well, can you come out tonight? I need one of my friends in the battlezone.” “Quack,” agreed Bobby. They’re such good friends.

At the club that night, The Situation ran into Paula. Remarkably enough, The Situation actually remembered it was her birthday. Even more remarkably, Paula remains attracted to The Situation. It must be love. I mean, she presumably knows that if they were to have a kid, The Situation would already be pushing 70 when that child went to kindergarten. Really, I just find it remarkable that everything most women would find skin-crawling about Uncle Situation seems to be part of her attraction. “I’ma give you some birthday sex!” he announced to the house. “You better!” she yelled back.

Could it be that The Situation has finally found true love? “I think Mike likes Paula,” said Sammi, who is apparently quite invested in her new role as the person who sits on the couch and says, “Those people who are obviously attracted to each other sure seem to be attracted to each other!”

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