Jersey Shore Family Vacation
Sometimes I imagine Ron’s daughter sitting down to watch Jersey Shore Family Vacation years in the future, like it’s her personal, largely depressing version of How I Met Your Mother. His deserved scolding by Jenni ends with him getting choked up and reaffirming his loyalty to Jen (with whom he has apparently reunited, if you’re keeping score at home), a pattern that is beginning to feel like the boy who cried “yes, I really do want to stay in this relationship, despite the ever-mounting evidence to the contrary.”
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for another visit to the strip club, for which Jenni proves to be the best advertisement imaginable. “I just love beautiful women,” she explains, a stance that by all reports her husband has no issue with. She slaps one ass and blissfully rests her head on another, her glasses bouncing up and down on her face as it jiggles. I don’t know the last time I saw a person having this much fun. “Jenni is just blowing my mind,” Ron says, hypothesizing that his soul has entered her lap-dance-enjoying body in an R-rated Freaky Friday scenario. As money rains down from above, seemingly thrown by God himself, Nicole begins to scoop up the singles — intended, obviously, for the women working there — from the floor, jamming them into Mike’s pockets and her purse. Seeing this, Jenni makes Jim Halpert eye contact with the camera and shakes her head no. “It’s a whole lot of fucking diapers,” Nicole argues, confused as to why everyone else isn’t doing same thing, until a stripper gently confronts her and she apologizes.
Although Pauly seems perfectly content having dance-floor almost-sex with scantily clad new friends, Nicole decides that it’s time for him to settle down, or at least to properly bang someone. Her plan is to reverse engineer The Bachelor: Every roomie must find an eligible single woman to present for his consideration. “Instead of roses, we should give them vodka seltzers,” Nicole suggests. Mike takes Jenni ring shopping for his girlfriend, and it’s a largely unremarkable sequence — diamonds are discovered to be expensive, and Mike has yet to buy anything — except that it means we’re creeping ever closer to a proposal, Situation-style! Meanwhile, the rest of the gang fans out across the city. They leave a handwritten flyer soliciting potential brides, complete with a Sharpie portrait of Pauly, at (where else?) a tanning salon. “We’re looking for fine eligible bachelorettes who want to take a spin on Pauly’s ones and twos,” it reads. I gather that this is a reference to turntables, and probably also a reference to sex, though I can’t reconcile what “ones and twos” could actually mean with my personal experience with the male anatomy.
As a nod to Pauly’s supposed blue balls (look, I don’t know), Ronnie has procured a set of blue body suits that inflate into bouncy orbs that make their wearers look like atoms, or Veruca Salts, or Blue Raspberry Gushers. The petite meatballs can barely peek their heads out of the top openings, but that doesn’t deter anyone from figuratively lighting the torch for the inaugural Guido Olympics. Outside, the roommates run a relay race around the pool, ram directly into one other, and fall down. I think I would have paid more attention in high-school physics if the examples had been illustrated by cast members of Jersey Shore bouncing around a backyard.
MVP are off to Mokai, the club where French Fry unforgettably entered our lives, but Ronnie stays home. (Sidebar: “I’VE NEVER HAD THE WORST EXPERIENCE THAN IN MOKAI!!!” — a typically scathing review for this now-closed establishment, the Yelp page of which is worth perusing.) “Usually a criminal doesn’t return to a scene of a crime,” explains Ron, who should maybe consider Googling “cliché criminal behaviors.” Pauly regards Vinny — whose shirt is so tight that he can’t access his Fitbit under his buttoned-up sleeves — with affectionate bemusement, like a mother guido duck who hatched herself a hipster swan. Pauly stuffs a tissue under Vinny’s collar to complete the priestly look, in exchange for which Father Vinny says a crucifix-clutching prayer for him in the confessional: “Lord, please bless my friend Pauly that he receives an abundance of females on his penis tonight.”
Too bad they didn’t bring the cross with them to the club. Pauly and Vinny finish two bottles of vodka between them, and Vinny falls in lust with their gorgeous bottle-service waitress. (Vinny’s type is, apparently, women at work who are trying to do their jobs.) “You look like a hot Britney Spears,” he tells her, which, wow, is uncalled-for shade at Britney — who by the way once dommed Pauly D onstage, something I feel it’s important that you reflect on every day of your life. He snakes an arm around her waist and whispers in her ear, “You’re the devil.” Mike observes this with concern, physically positioning himself between Vinny and girls like a bodyguard, or at least a sexual doorstop. “I rebuke you, Satan,” he tells his horny pal. Mike pulls him into a cab so he can’t make a “Ronnie-level mistake,” but Vinny nevertheless manages to take both the waitress’s number and that of her friend before leaving.
Vinny is so drunk on the ride home that it’s giving me the spins to watch him. “The waitress is like my wife. Oh, I loved her so much,” he slurs, before veering that train of thought into a twist ending: “Me and my girl are going to marry her.” Back home, he appears to fall asleep sitting up, snoring as his head rests in his hands. The next morning, Father Vinny calls up his girlfriend to confess his sins (again), but she refuses to absolve him. Elicea points out that he would be displeased if she got a man’s number; Vinny retorts that he’s innocent on the grounds that he got two numbers, not just one. As Pauly asks, “What kind of guido math is that?”
Deena declares “Operation Find Pauly D Some Love” back on. Vinny equips himself and the guys with signs asking, “Do You Want to Marry DJ Pauly D?” which they wave by the side of a road, managing to attract the attention of only legal minors and pregnant women. The girls arguably do even worse, as their strategy of shouting “boobs!” at strangers through their car windows fails to close any deals. Worried that Pauly will be disappointed, Jenni proposes they bake him a conciliatory Funfetti cake instead. “We got something tasty, sweet, and fun, too,” Vinny promises Pauly alluringly, only for Mike to obliviously, wholesomely spoil the surprise reveal, because he just loves Funfetti cake so damn much and is excited to tell Pauly about it.
Pauly, who dressed up for the occasion, sits down in the living room, smiling anxiously. He’s still expecting to meet a human, non-cake woman and so his matchmakers introduce … Victoria. Vinny appears, in a long wig and actually a pretty nice velvet dress.
Unfortunately, this drag is half-hearted at best — I’d love to see what he could have done with those Kameron Michaels guns. For now, as one of the girls notes, he looks like Jesus. If nothing else, Vinny’s Victoria offers interesting insight into what he believes women to be like. Based on his performance, he apparently feels that the female version of himself would do a lot of twirling and Elaine Benes–style little kicks. Nevertheless, Pauly is delighted, and scoops Victor/Vin-toria into his arms. If you’re going to fall in love at the Jersey Shore, at least make sure it’s true love.