So, Pauly‘s face is just a big mass of squamous cell carcinoma at this point, right? “I peeled, then I exfoliated, then I burned the part I exfoliated,” he whimpers, the whites of his boiled egg eyes bulging out of his raw, red mug. “I shocked the system, bro.” The second degree burn all over Pauly’s head causes a problem later when he brings home new smoosh friend Shantel, though not enough of a problem that he doesn’t have gross sex with her before immediately calling a cab for her at 4 a.m. While Pauly groans about how long he has to tolerate being around this woman he was just inside, Shantel discreetly slips his diamond and gold chain into her underpants, a drunken move that seems almost fair, seeing as how she is forced to leave the house without her shoes. Without her shoes! I would have strangled Pauly with that chain if I had been made to walk the vomit-covered streets of Seaside barefoot at dawn. Or I would just strangle myself with it, because what would my life have become?
As always, Snooki knows the score. “She probably stuffed it in her asshole,” she gently informs Pauly. After he spends his morning peeling and lotioning and soothing and flaking and frantically searching for his necklace, Shantel returns with Pauly’s jewelry. Her shoes are somehow still missing, however, which means they almost certainly got blended up in a batch of Ron-Ron juice. Or got flushed down that first floor toilet. Or became a home for the hermit crabs that apparently used to live in Deena‘s room and now scuttle around inside the walls, waiting for their moment of revenge. Soon, my hermits! Soon will be the time!
Am I alone in thinking that Jionni looks like he should be in the chorus of West Side Story on off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-0ff Broadway? Having been caught in a rainstorm on the way back from the club, Snooki asks the Situation for pajamas…for Jionni to wear? Why? Why would that ever happen? “We share girls – why can’t we share underwear?” the Situation snarks before giving Jionni a pack of fresh underpants and clean jammies. That’s a burn right there, bro! Okay, so while that seems like a nice gesture, keep in mind that one time the Situation released JWoww‘s dogs into the house, only to stand at the top of the stairs giggling like a sociopath when the rest of the gang stumbled upon pile after pile of hot, fresh dog shit? Never. Forget. He. Cray. To repay the Situation’s kindness, Jionni happily cooks up some midnight eggs and bacon…which the Situation then serves him and Snooki in bed. “I am a master of deception,” the Situation gloats. The plan is working perfectly! Also, what is the plan again, act like an inscrutable weirdo? Oh yeah, you got this, bro. As if the Situation could ever break up such a rock-solid pair. “I was going to cook you chicken cutlets,” Snooki slurred to Jionni earlier while pulling up her dress at the club.
And then there was Vinny. Well, there was also JWoww and Deena, but they got, like, no air time. Put a pair of plastic frames on Vinny, though, and he goes all introspective. And surprisingly, surprisingly hot. Suffering from depression, sleeplessness and anxiety from the moment he returned to the States, Vinny goes so far as to miss his shift at the t-shirt shop one morning. Not Sammi, though. She’s right on time. “As long as I’m doing something I like, I’m happy,” she chirps while hauling up the shop’s metal gate, in that tragically revealing way she has.
Vinny turns to one of his most trusted confidants, Danny, the guy who runs the t-shirt shop who we see sometimes, and discloses his struggle with clinical anxiety since the age of 16. Personally, I can think of about 9,000 other locations that seem like a preferable home for someone suffering from severe anxiety that don’t happen to be an airless, filthy bungalow stuffed with howling, emotionally maladroit party people. Guantanamo Bay, for one. Seriously, the amount of lady cologne that Deena doses herself with is enough to short out anybody’s lymphatic system.
Vinny continues to bristle and sigh, unmoved by even the most DFL of skanks or bombastic of grenades. While the rest of the gang is dead set on Vinny staying on at the shore house, his palpable despair fills them with insecurity and the need to get mani/pedis. Always the most believable and heartfelt relationship in the house, Pauly and Vinny’s friendship plays in here; Pauly stays behind to talk some sense into his roomie while the rest trundle off to the club. I don’t know if you noticed, but the episode subtly highlights the layer of faux homoeroticism with which they code their relationship; I can understand how you might have missed it. “There’s my boyfriend!” Pauly enthuses when he finds Vinny in his room, later joking with their nail technician, “Can I get Vinny’s name on my pinkie?” Haha, male friendships are weird!
Eventually, Vinny calls his sister and asks her to come collect him. It’s hard to feel bad for someone who is actually making a really excellent mental health decision, but the glimmer of real friendship through the bromance lends Vinny’s silent exit from the house some gravitas. There’s a place for him, a place with peace and quiet and open air that doesn’t smell like rancid meat farts and desiccated hermit crab parts. “The hardest part is leaving you,” Vinny tells Pauly as he goes. Oh, take it to the smoosh room, you two. No, I am not crying! You’re the one who’s crying, bro!
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