There were many dramatic season-long arcs on Jersey Shore, which wraps up tonight with its season finale and reunion show: Pauly D’s obsession with “the business”; Mike’s failure to land a ten; Snooki’s love of farmers. And yet none so beguiled us as the relationship of Ronnie and Sammi “Sweetheart,” which emerged as one of the great romances on television today. According to Cristina Nehring, author of the controversial relationship playbook A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-First Century, the basic ingredients of a great love affair are passion, adversity, danger, and suffering. Sammi and Ronnie's relationship certainly has had them all.
Passion: Though they weren’t a case of love at first sight (perhaps more like love at first Ron-Ron Juice), they were quickly drawn to each other by a strong, lustful attraction. “I’d pound out Sam, I really would, she’s fucking cute,” Ronnie poetically admitted to his rival for Sammi's affections, Mike "the Situation." Sammi felt similarly moved to put her feelings into words at the club on the night of their first hook-up: “Ronnie is just fucking hot,” she told us, eyes aglow with, yes, passion. After dance-floor grinding and the exposing of Ronnie’s abs, the die was cast. “I was feeling Ronnie, I’m attracted to him,” said Sam, and after sharing a late-night sandwich together, they cuddled upstairs. Suck on that, Romeo and Juliet!
Adversity: After a lovely date at miniature golf, their relationship was tested when Sammi gave her number to her friend the cop. After she confessed that she gets flirtatious when she’s drunk, the couple endured their first fight. “You’re disgusting,” she said. “You’re like the rest of the Jersey girls I meet,” he countered. A weaker relationship would have been easily torn asunder by such accusations, but mere words and cop-ogling could not break their bond. Soon Ronnie was dropping his guard (and his towel) and telling her, “You’re my girl.” Later, he confirmed that things had ended as all great nights of rekindled passion do: “We smushed.”
Danger: Pushing and fist fights and black eyes, oh my! Just when everything was going swimmingly, Ronnie’s temper flared up. At one point, he tried to quiet Sammi by gently pushing her aside as she was goading another couple on the boardwalk. She freaked, he threw punches, and yet the couple made up again as Ronnie held frozen food to his face to stop the swelling. Needless to say, it must have thawed fast held so close to their burning love.
Suffering: When Ronnie made fun of Sammi’s toes, she tearfully confessed her foot insecurity. Unable to bear the pain such self-consciousness must cause her, he offered to suck on her deformed toes. Such podiatric sacrifice is rare in this day and age.
Will they stay together? Will they break up? Will they announce their engagement on the reunion show? We can only hope for their happiness, because if they can’t make it work, what hope do the rest of us have? So let’s all pray that they shall forevermore grind, fight, and suffer gladly. Together.