This week's episode of Jersey Shore (officially sponsored by guys' abs, bro cologne, and a bunch of movies) concluded a week of progress for our Seaside Heights friends. Ronni and Sammi had sex (er, he "smushed" her), Jwoww stood up to her obsessively suspicious boyfriend with some help from Snooki, and the friendship between the guys soared to new heights. The cast was brave this week, flirting with lessons in responsibility, trust, and friendship, set to a juicy backbeat of sexy-ass house music and dirty-Jerz hot tubs.
In this third week, the cast members' cliques have really started to appear. Jwoww & Snooki seem to have each other's back, Ronnie and Sammi seem to increasingly be an item, and The Situation and Pauly D have set up a wingman-type situation together -- albeit The Situation sees it more akin to modern warfare, comparing a night's attempted lady-conquest to a day on the battlefield. For instance, his term for an ugly chick who might be messing up his game with another? The Grenade. And to keep that grenade from becoming a bomb, his wingman, Pauly D, must sacrifice himself and jump on it to take one for his friend. Pauly D however, always the savvy war hero, extracts himself from the battlefield leaving The Situation left fighting alone. This ends with a military standstill and an early retreat by the females.
Snooki's mom came to town this week, providing our young hero with a taste of home -- something she hasn't experienced in two weeks! Those two weeks are the longest she's ever gone away from home, a fact that makes total sense later as Snooki's unchaperoned night out sees her backflipping across the dance floor, thong on full display, followed by a night sleeping on the beach with a guy she thought was a random boy named "Ron" (real name: Russ), but who turned out to be a snitch for Jwoww's crazy boyfriend. He apparently ratted out Jwoww's semi-dirty dancing with Pauly D, as later, when Jwoww's boyfriend confronts her on the phone over that dancing, she brings in Snooki as witness to the fact that no, silly, it was just house music and that's how it goes. "It wasn't sexual, it was house music," she explains!
Meanwhile, all four of the girls brought home by The Situation and/or Pauly D had to leave before hooking up (but not after stripping down to their underwear in the jacuzzi!) to report back to worried parents, lest they worry their daughters are out sleeping around with bros on an MTV show. Also to be filed under the "Responsibility" header -- nobody lost their jobs this week!
While trust runs thin in the mentally polluted landscapes of the Jersey Shore, a glimmer of hope emerged this week as cast members faced and resisted temptation, despite constant shots of blurred out underwear and near-naked guys in bath towels. First off, Sammi and Ronnie had a club spat over one another's jealousy. Sammi saw Ronnie dancing with a girl at the bar, while Ronnie saw Sammi giving out her number. A problem, Sammi is told, by a friend. Things seem to recover and we are treated to a montage of ruffling sheets & fireworks, a not-so-subtle message from the producers that yea, he's totally "smushing" her. By the way, parents, if you hear your kid use that term, he's most definitely referring to "sex" and he most definitely got that word from last night's episode of Jersey Shore. So you know who to call.
So while there are elements of love, friendship, and a future outside of the shore appearing in this week's episode, that soaring eagle of hope came crashing back to earth with the swing of a "fraternity college loser's fist. Iccarus, you've flown to close to the tanning lights!
MTV, bowing to an uproar of pressure, decided to take the safe road for the infamous "Snooki got punched" scene as viewers saw nothing but darkness as a drunk bar patron took a swing at Snooki's face. Viewers were left listening to the choas as Snooki hit the ground, and popped back in seconds later to watch the guy get kicked out of the bar and arrested.
The episode ended with MTV's public service announcement warning about the realities of violence against women, in a not-so-subtle reminder that yes, these fake tanner-seared individuals are not pigments of a producer's imagination but very real, very affected, and ultimately caught up in something that became bigger than anyone had previously thought.
With ratings through the roof, cast appearances on late night and early morning shows, and a swarm of writers and bloggers noting their every move on each week's show, I'm afraid these 20-something New Yorkers by way of New Jersey are at the center of a hurricane created specifically to one day tear them to shreds. Hang on, young Jerseyites, we fear things will only get worse from here on out.