Jersey Shore Family Vacation
Tropical Storm Jen has made landfall in Miami. Actually, that’s unfair to Jen, who seems perfectly nice, if a little short on personality. If anyone on this television program is the embodiment of a severe weather event, it’s been Ron, whose cortisol and vodka-scented fear of his pregnant girlfriend’s arrival is practically wafting through the screen.
Family dinner with the first guest of the season is a little tense, but who doesn’t relish an opportunity to see an agent of the outside world interact with the inhabitants of our shore-house Biodome? For example, this instant-classic exchange:
MIKE: What nationality are you?
JEN: I’m, like, 80 percent Great Britain or something.
NICOLE: Can you speak Britain?
NICOLE (in a British [?] accent): ’ELLO!
As Mike enjoys a quiet post-meal moment to feast on Funfetti (my old favorite hobby) and refer to himself as “Big Daddy Sitch” (my new favorite hobby), Jen calls him “The Incarceration,” a nickname Ronnie’s previously deployed against his legally troubled old friend. The other roomies find this hilarious; Mike, who does not appreciate being roasted by an outsider, does not. (To be fair, though, she’s just trying to fit in and be liked!) He can’t stop himself for reaching for the nuclear button: “Just pass the French fries,” he says. Hoo, boy. Jen may not know exactly what that means, but it’s pretty clear from everyone else’s scandalized reactions that it means something, and that something is not a good something.
Jen, a Very Good Sport, joins the roomies in a jaunt to a strip club called, confusingly, E11EVEN. There, Deena raves, “the girls are classy-ish.” Vinny catches all kinds of problematic feelings for a stripper who looks like Kendall Jenner, or maybe Cher circa 1964. “I’m gonna save you,” he tells her. “I’m gonna save you from the strip club.” Then he picks her up — excuse me, no touching — and carries her a few feet, one hand precariously positioned just below her ass. Watching this shitshow, Jenni makes the exact what-the-fuck expression that you might currently find on your own face. Has the I’m Fucked Foundation taken on a promising junior partner?
Over in the IFF’s C-suite, Ron cheers, “I got my baby at a strip club, seven months old,” by which it seems safe to assume he means seven months pregnant, to no one in particular. Jen, who did not realize how smoky this place would be, is considerably less excited to be there. Ron, moping so hard he might pull a muscle, reluctantly agrees to escort her back to the house. “I don’t want to be responsible,” he mutters aloud, again to no one in particular.
After being repeatedly dunked on by everyone for his close encounter of a perv kind, Vinny wastes zero time in drunk-dialing his girlfriend to explain himself, the opposite of Ronnie’s patented deny, deny, deny strategy. “Did I do anything wrong?” he asks. “Yeah, you did,” she answers without hesitating.
Following a beach day that is not very interesting unless you enjoy hearing Vinny describe his urge to give out “vitamin D” while looking at strangers’ butts, the women ride home with Jen. Jenni in particular is “a little annoyed” that she likes Ronnie’s girlfriend as much as she does, given the awkwardness of what they all know and she doesn’t. “Has Ron been good?” Jen asks them. The conspicuously long silence that follows is, of course, an answer in and of itself.
It’s Jen’s last night in Miami, so Ron takes her out to another uncomfortably silent dinner (these two don’t exactly have a sparkling rapport) while MVP does their MVP thing at the club. Jen says she wishes she could go in the jacuzzi, and asks if anybody’s used it yet. Ron, who, lest we forget, touched that French woman’s ass in the jacuzzi, does not have a great poker face. In fact, he does not have a great poker body: One leg and then the other begins to shake uncontrollably. He obliquely acknowledges the fact that some women came back to the house, but Ron still refuses to fully come clean.
Having spent the night being relentlessly trolled by Pauly, who screams “Cheater!” if he should so much as think about a butt, Vinny calls his girlfriend once again, only to discover that, yes, she’s still annoyed he picked up a stripper, and even more annoyed that he doesn’t see why that could possibly annoy her. While they talk, and for reasons unclear to anyone but him, Pauly snaps a photo of Vinny and the duck phone on the iPad, tapes the iPad to his gold chain like a massive charm, then puts it around Vinny’s neck. Woe is Vinny, who struggles to understand how he can go out and have fun yet be loyal to his partner, a seemingly impossible feat that Jenni, Nicole, Deena, and Mike somehow manage to pull off literally every night.
The next morning, Jen hugs everyone good-bye. “Don’t be bringing any more girls back home,” she warns Ron on her way out.
“I know I can do the right thing for Jen because I don’t wanna be with somebody for the night,” he says in an interview. “I wanna, like, grow and have a future with somebody.” The camera lingers on him for a few extra seconds, as Ron’s poker body expresses itself this time in the form of a telltale eye twitch.
Jenni can no longer abide Ron’s self-sabotage of his relationship (he waffles back and forth between professing loyalty to Jen and calling her someone he barely knows), nor his choice to indefinitely delay coming clean about French Fry. “Do you think you’re making her look like a fool by not telling her sooner?” she asks, and reminds him that she and her now-husband Roger stayed together without issue through a couple of her stints in the shore house. “Roger’s not me,” Ron says, sorely missing the point.
“I’m you. I could be a big ho, too, motherfucker,” responds Jenni, who could teach a master class in tough love. “But I choose not to be, because I found someone I love.” He keeps saying he’s worried about causing a fight and about embarrassing Jen. Well, I hate to tell you, buddy, but that ship has sailed, and also sunk, drowning everyone onboard.
Ron wants to wait until their daughter is born to confess his sins. “For that baby to be like a month or two old when she might find out, are you out of your fucking mind?” Jenni comments in an interview. “She’s gonna burn your house down, she’s gonna blow up your car, and you’re going to be buried somewhere on my property and no one’s going to find you.”
It’s worth noting that Ron and Jen seem to have broken up recently, although Ron by all accounts has not been buried on Jenni’s property. Yet.