Jersey Shore Family Vacation
When last we left the Jersey Shore, the guidettes were about to face the Kraken of rage known as Angelina, who is perhaps better known by her Christian name: Trash Bags. As an experienced Shore-ologist (I have an honorary Ph.D. in Jersey Shore Studies from the University of Chicago), I initially expected these new, mature guidettes to put their past aside, embrace their differences, and welcome Angelina into the fold. Boy, was I wrong.
But before we can start discussing this episode of the most important sociological experiment of our time, let us look at some terms that viewers will need to know in order to understand just what our subjects are talking about.
Chew Toy: A chew toy is a person — almost always a woman — who is played with sexually for a time and then discarded when she becomes too worn out, much like something meant to entertain the dog. JWoww accuses Angelina of being one, though she has never had intercourse with any of the members of the house. In this instance it means someone who is expendable.
Cycloning: This is related to “spiraling,” another addition to the guido argot, that means someone who is getting drunk and/or angry quickly and to an exponential degree. Cycloning seems to mean spiraling while out of doors or, possibly, while literally falling over.
Lego-ing: To build a truce with someone with whom you formerly had a grudge, as if making a bridge between the two parties using only the tiny plastic building blocks that have been the scourge of bare feet ever since their invention.
Banana Bags: These are IV bags full of water and vitamins that take on a yellow hue, which is why the guidos named them after the jungle fruit. As guidos age, they lose their natural immunity to the ill effects of RonRon Juice and the other substances that fuel their wild behavior, and their mutated biology needs to be bolstered with external medical stimulation. This does not interfere with a ketogenic lifestyle if one is, in fact, a “keto guido.” These products can only be administered by someone who is not only a trained medical professional, but also a self-identified guido, like the nice gentleman Ricky, who arrives to aid our test subjects in their Miami home.
When Snooki, JWOWW, and Deena return from visiting their families in New Jersey, they immediately recognize Angelina sitting at their kitchen table talking to the boys. I don’t understand how this is possible, because it seems like Angelina has had an entire face transplant. Apparently the ignominy of leaving the “Shore house” — as our creatures are forced to refer to it by their captors — multiple times compelled her to become completely unrecognizable to both friends and strangers.
While motherhood has matured Snooki and JWOWW considerably, it has not matured them enough to accept Angelina into their vacation house. JWOWW asks Angelina what her intentions are in the house, and Angelina says she wants to make amends for all of her bad behavior the first two times she was with this crew (and the decade of subsequent shit-talking). Snooki says Angelina told a tabloid she was “ugly,” and JWOWW lets us know that she has blocked all of the guidos on social media. Naturally they think Angelina does not deserve to be there because she is not part of the “family” and that she shouldn’t benefit from this second round of fame and riches the rest of the cast is experiencing. (Deena doesn’t mind her so much because, and I paraphrase, if it weren’t for Angelina, Deena would be out of a job entirely.)
JWOWW insists Angelina leave the house immediately. Angelina refuses. It is just a repeat of the classic season-two fight when JWOWW said repeatedly to Angelina, “You stay, you get your ass beat,” and obstinate Angelina sunk even further into a chaise lounge.
The only one with any good advice is Ronnie, shockingly, who tells Angelina that to get to the “flowers,” she’s going to have to wade through “the muck.” He tells her that she came in humble and to remain humble. Angelina then goes to bed in the smush room, which is where all good chew toys belong. JWOWW says that she is going to treat Angelina like genital herpes and just ignore her. That is, actually, the classic guido treatment for herpes, to just pretend like it doesn’t exist. However, one of the boys tells JWOWW that there is now medicine for genital herpes, which seems to be a revelation to the great Ms. WOWW.
The next day JWOWW and the boys go off boxing while Snooki and Deena enlist Ronnie in a “meatball day,” the tradition where the two of them get so drunk that they don’t think they’re actually human anymore but actual beings made out of meat, much like that kid in the town next to yours who took LSD and now thinks that he’s a glass of orange juice and doesn’t want to be spilled over. Ronnie, no stranger to forgiveness himself, again intercedes on Angelina’s behalf and gets the girls to agree to let her join them on the meatball day. And if she’s fun, she gets to stay in the house.
Things start to come to a head in the car on the way to the Clevelander, the vast savanna where the guidos go to drink during the day. Snooki again brings up the tabloid where Angelina called her “ugly” and Angelina denies this. As soon as they arrive at the bar, Snooki borrows a phone from a waitress and pulls up the article. In it, Angelina said that Snooki got fake lips just like her and is “copying her look” but Angelina didn’t think that the fake lips Snooki got were as good as hers. While that is a shitty thing to say, she isn’t entirely wrong.
However, Angelina cops to saying that and apologizes to Snooki. From there they engage in an ancient guido forgiveness ritual where they drink a ton of shots out of test-tube-sized plastic containers and repeatedly fall off the furniture, thereby knocking the grudge right out of their physical bodies.
Once they arrive back at the house and report that Angelina’s intentions are sound, the group meets and decides to give Angelina a third chance, but if she fucks it up they’re going to throw her out of the house. It’s very important for the guidos — who are constantly misbehaving, betraying each other, getting arrested, cheating, “cheating,” and engaging in other crimes and misdemeanors — to believe not only in forgiveness but also that people can change. However, we’ve seen from this family vacation that the guidos never change. Their natural inclinations might be hidden underneath the burdens and joys of motherhood like JWOWW, or under the weight of 14 different sushi orders like the Situation, but their natural predilections are inescapable.
The whole time this is going on, DJ Pauly D is running around the house crowing about how he’s the “prank champion, yeah.” I think that he’s wrong. This wasn’t really a prank. A prank is something kind of mean but funny that when pulled off, a person reacts by saying, “You’re a jerk, but you got me good.” Here, everyone was shocked that Angelina was there, and there was no celebration afterwards. There were no guffaws about how well Pauly D did. This was not a prank; this was a torture. Pauly D should get no credit for it whatsoever.
Because no one really wants Angelina around long enough for her to wear the 19 different pairs of platforms she dragged along with her to Miami, they have another family meeting where they decide to tell her, politely, that it is time to go home. While it was initially decided that DJ Pauly D, the prank champion who got her there in the first place, should break the news to her, there was then a vote and they all decided JWOWW should break the news. You can say a lot about the guidos, but democracy is a very important construct to them. Maybe they should be tasked with revising the Electoral College.
The guidos decide that they have forgiven Angelina, but if she really wants to make amends, she needs to do it now while they’re on vacation (read: on camera) and do it in private. And if that goes well, they will forgive all of her past transgressions. We don’t quite get to see JWOWW deliver this news, because the guidos’ captors are saving that footage for next week. We’ll have to come back to see just how this chapter of the most important sociological experiment of our time comes to a close.