We were really robbed of pole dancing time in this week’s episode. A few second of Pauly D’s lackadaisical spin, a brief moment of Ronnie hip-thrusting, a glimpse of Vinny plummeting to the ground as the pole pulled away from the ceiling: I could have watched it all night.
Unfortunately, the episode was, once again dominated by Sammi and Ronnie’s on-again, off-again disaster. As always, Ronnie felt crushed by Sammi’s overweening paranoia. “She’ll show you her C-section,” Ronnie yelps in defense when caught flirting at the club. As always, back at the house, things just slip back into the same unpleasant spiral. “Don’t you touch anybody,” a drunk Sammi warns. “You never loved me. You hate me.” Ronnie can’t argue with that. “Right now, I do,” he hisses. The aggression amps up in that old familiar way, vacillating between unpleasant and unbearable. One would question the wisdom of showing a Xenadrine commercial less than five minutes after we see their spokesperson giggling manically and throwing Sammi’s clothes into a gigantic pile on the ground, but what do I know?
The real annoying part of a Ronnie and Sammi-heavy episode (though, aren’t they all at this point?) is that we miss out on the actual interesting plotlines. After finding her house bedless and ransacked by her ex Tom, Snooki and JWoww replace the locks in the house; at one point, they lock themselves inside and have to pick their way out with a credit card. They bring back JWoww’s two tiny fluffy dogs, who are promptly named for Snooki and friend Ryder, who is only in town for a day or so and might as well not be there, as far as the producers are concerned. Vinny invents the grenade whistle, a plastic horn that alerts all of Seaside that grenades are afoot at the Jersey Shore estate. He also picked the up lovely Italian miss Gina, who is slung over the shoulders of her party-crashing male relatives before she could do something she would regret. If only Vinny had thought to play taps as she was dragged away. Sex taps.
In the most delicious (so to speak) sub-plot, rumor around the barber shop is that Deena will order the unlimited tossed salad for current crush Dean. The boys can barely hold in their giggles as they join the girls at the gym, where The Situation immediately tells Deena her knows her filthy secret. Deena coyly plays along, assuming the rumor is anything but analingus. When she finds out, she is livid, storming past the chest presses and chewing Dean out in the club. “My teeth, and my mouth, is too precious,” she rages.
The ballad of Sammi and Ronnie comes to a crescendo after Sammi wakes in the middle of the night, only find JWoww and Ronnie commiserating over their respective terrible relationships. After screaming at him, Sammi eventually socks Ronnie across the face and storms away. Sammi calls her mom sobbing and drags her luggage to the living room, preparing to leave. But just as you’d imagine, slowly, inevitably, glacially they’re brought together in a series of sighs, whimpers and audible pouts. The only redeeming part of their reconciliation is when the camera pans over to show The Situation laying next to them, offering to excuse himself to make a sandwich if they’re planning make-up smoosh. We keep trying to escape, but they keep pulling us back in. Just as anti-climactically, Sammi later apologizes to JWoww for being the worst; JWoww accepts her sorry with little fanfare. The cast is so far away from the original incident it’s easy to forget that Sammi originally turned on her castmate for trying to warn her about her cheating boyfriend. We might have gotten a brief ad for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at the episode’s end, but it’s not nearly enough to erase the previous 40 minutes, and the two people in a terminal, toxic relationship spiral we can’t help but watch.