Season four of “Jersey Shore” has wrapped up on MTV, and we can only hope that Florence has recovered from its visit from the GTL crowd. We know that Snooki, Mike “The Situation,” Sammi “Sweetheart,” Ronnie, Vinny, Pauly D, Deena and Jenni “J-Woww” have already completed filming season five, so we know they all survived the trip (and most importantly, didn’t kill Mike during the flight). But that leaves viewers to sort out whether taking the guidos and guidettes out of New Jersey was worth the trouble, especially given that the intrepid travelers somehow managed to avoid almost anything that was markedly different than what they knew back home (with a few reluctant exceptions). Luckily, there were still some insights to be had from this season in Italy, although we’re pretty sure most of these didn’t require a passport and a long distance flight.
The Situation is a big baby in any time zone. Oh, Mikey. The Situation has always seemed to pride himself on being a one man plot generator, but he really outdoes himself on Italian soil. Picking fights, slamming his head against the wall (and landing himself in the hospital for it), attempting to woo Snooki while announcing to anyone who’ll listen that she cheated on her boyfriend with him — the guy was a bigger drama queen than Susan Lucci. Not surprisingly, his housemates not only see through him, they refuse to get drawn into his theatrics, too. Ronnie briefly tries to talk sense to the guy, but after Mike pounts, “If you don’t like me, I don’t care,” even Ronnie washes his hands of the guy. So when The Situation declares he may not go back to Jersey with the group, you can practically hear everyone thinking, “fine by us, jerk.” After a day of pouting, he finally tries a different tack, making apologies and whipping up breakfast the next morning, but no one’s buying it. As Jenni says, “Same drama, different country.” Mike promises that he’s going to become the house villain next year, but how is that going to work when no one wants to talk to him?
The real problem between Ronnie and Sammi? Might have to do with the sex. During the finale, Sammi and Ronnie decide to engage in some afternoon delight — for a whopping five minutes. There’s nothing wrong with a quickie, but it’s not a bright idea to let all of your housemates know you can take care of business faster than you can brush your teeth. “No wonder why Sam never smiles,” Pauly D says, cackling as Sammi does the walk of shame through the hallway.
These people need maid service. Badly. In Jersey, it was a little easier to overlook the frat house messes the gang would create, but there’s something simply depressing about seeing them overtake a beautiful Italian home (which has already been treated to a garish, MTV-appropriate paint job) and use it as a very large hamper for their dirty underwear and empty beer bottles. While the girls do attempt to clean up the joint on the last day, the memory of a table of festering uneaten food, piles of dirty sheets and the unshakeable certainty that no cleaning crew will ever be able to get all the hairspray off the walls is just too great to be easily erased. “Seeing Nicole cleaning is like seeing Mike with a condom,” Vinny says with a grin. “It just doesn’t happen.”
You probably don’t want to dine anywhere the “Jersey Shore” crew is working. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be amusing to see Pauly D and Vinny tossing around pizza dough. I just think, given the group’s fondness for pranks, it might end up making close physical contact with something unsanitary before it gets to your table.
Not all marketing is good marketing. After allowing the “Jersey Shore” gang to take up space in his pizzeria as “employees,” Marco asks each one of them to donate a piece of clothing for his in-store clothesline. The gang wonders if this is an Italian tradition. While hanging clothes to dry is, hanging them above people eating food is not. The guys suggest that the thong being added to the collection has train tracks. Even if it doesn’t, yuck. What constitutes a health code violation in Florience, anyway?
You can lead a bunch of guidos and guidettes to culture, but they’ll just want to use the bathroom. On the group’s last day in Italy, Vinny insists that everyone join him for a day of sightseeing. When the tour guide asks if they would prefer to learn about art or history, the Jerseyites react as if they’ve been given a choice between hanging or death by lethal injection. The whining begins almost as soon as the tour does, with Jenni asking to go to the bathroom and Mike expressing horror at actually having to walk through Florence (it’s cardio, Mike, look on the bright side). Of course, given that the tour operator isn’t exactly Mr. Excitement, I can’t begrudge them some bad attitude, but it’s a pleasant surprise to see their faces light up when they see the room where DaVinci painted the Mona Lisa (probably because they’ve seen it on the back of restaurant menus) and Michelangelo’s David (Deena would do David, but Snooki says “his wiener doesn’t cut it”). But, with the exception of those high-minded moments, I suspect they still might have been more psyched about finding a McDonald’s.
There is no possible way Snooki can be as dumb as she pretends to be sometimes. Okay, I may be hoping for too much here. But when Snooki looks at an image of a cupid and asks the tour guide, “So, they’re real? The babies with wings?” I have to believe she’s doing this for the benefit of the cameras. I have to. I just… have to.
The Meatball Team? Total hypocrites. Deena and Snooki may have one another’s backs, but they certainly don’t have much generosity of spirit when it comes to other drunken, skanky chicks. While at a club, they spot a girl who’s had more to drink than they have (and that’s an accomplishment), and roundly condemn her for writhing away on a couch, just moments after Snooki proclaims that “I’m having sex with the couch right now” as she grinds away to whatever the DJ is spinning. When Deena realizes the drunk girl is doing her writhing on top of her clutch, she grabs it with a squeal and is, briefly, too horrified to touch it. Relax, Deena. Whatever this girl’s got, you’ve already had, and probably more than once.