Jersey Shore can be a depressing show, but usually, that depression is bizarrely invigorating, like an episode of In Treatment or one of Dashboard Confessional’s three good songs. As the housemates re-enact their nightly ritual of loudly pointless decadence – dress, drink, dance, fight, dance-fight, drink more, undress, smush, smush-fight – you invariably find yourself giggling. You could make the argument that everyone on Jersey Shore is an awful person, but they go about their awfulness with the wit and verve of a league of evil supervillains. (Sitch is Lex Luthor, Pauly D is the Joker…) In the last month, every single time I’ve put on a T-shirt, considered putting on a T-shirt, or even thought the word “T-shirt,” I’ve ended up chanting “T-shirt Tyyyiiiiiiiime!!!” When’s the last time T-shirts made you want to sing?
All this fun went out the window during last night’s Reunion special, hosted by Julissa Bermudez, who is basically MTV’s version of Zingbot, except not funny and way less attractive. Anyone hoping for juicy Real Housewives-ish showdowns went away disappointed. We basically got a clip show of season 2 debauchery, with lots of backslapping. In the interest of not ruining your brain, here are the only three interesting things that happened during the hour:
1. Ronnie managed to dig his sleaze-hole even deeper.
Buried in the “Telltale Letter” quagmire is an interesting portrait of modern gender relations. J-Woww went to Miami good friends with Ronnie. She couldn’t stand Sammi. But when it was clear that Ron-Ron was doing Sam wrong, J-Woww knew that the Girl Code demanded she act. This paradox was mirrored on the male side of the house: Sitch all-but-confirmed Ronnie’s infidelity to Sammi, even though he felt loyalty to his fellow bro. Ronnie felt betrayed: “You’re supposed to be my boy.” But Mr. Circumstance outmaneuvered him: “Do you love that girl? Then you should be thanking me, because I’m the only one who goes up and talks to her when she’s crying.”
It takes a true louse to make The Situation look good, and Ronnie makes Sitch look like Mother Teresa. At one point, he claimed that J-Woww offered to hook up with him if Sammi hooked up with Sitch. J-Woww responded with the withering line: “I’d rather just f— Pauly.”
2. Vinny is clinging desperately to reality while the folks around him become steroid-pumped parodies of themselves.
I know some people feel like Vinny went off the deep end this season, but to me, he’s the only person left on Jersey Shore who still semi-resembles the person we met back in season 1. When Robo-Julissa asked him hard-hitting questions like “Did you get wifed up?” Vinny responded with surprisingly thoughtful answers. When footage played of Sitch’s attempted Romanian Robbery, Vinny declared: “It might be MVP to him, but it’s VP to me.” (That’s Shore-speak for “I know thee not, old man.”)
NEXT: An ill-advised Jersey Shore Reunion drinking game.