Jersey Shore Family Vacation
We pick up with Angelina and Vinny where we left them last week. Their sexual tension has boiled off and now the pot is scorched. So let’s do what any responsible person would do: give up, leave it be, and try to pretend for as long as possible that you don’t notice the mess. Out on the deck, Nicole runs away from a mosquito. “Don’t touch me,” she screams. “You’re going to sting me and then I’m going to itch for years.” This is better than any way I could think of to sum up Vinny’s feelings towards Angelina.
Fortunately, we can cleanse our spirits with the soothing and grounding ritual that is the enormous burger challenge at Headliner. Mike, alternately Pauly and Vinny’s “thoroughbred” and “fat Rocky,” has been training his whole life for this moment. Raging Beef will have 10 minutes to polish off what looks like 10 patties, half a dozen strips of bacon, and four or five onion rings toothpicked on top, plus fries. It’s never been done.
And yet, once the countdown begins, Mike refuses to adopt the hyper-efficient, buns-dunking mania of an actual competitive eater. He can’t help savoring the monster dish, hailing it as “perfectly cooked” and “a 10.” The fact that he finishes more than half of the burger in a leisurely fashion, never not enjoying himself, is somehow more impressive than if he’d consumed it all within the time limit.
Oddly enough, it is Nicole, not Mike, who ends up barfing. This would be an unremarkable behavior for a human being who has been continually consuming alcohol for 96 hours except for the fact that Nicole never, ever pukes—and she and Jionni have been trying for another baby… While the others head for the club, Jenni takes Nicole to a pharmacy for a pregnancy test. She is not pregnant, to her disappointment, which almost certainly would have not been the case during a hypothetical pregnancy scare on an early season of the original Jersey Shore. How far we’ve come!
Hanging with the group at Headliner (yes, we’re back) is Angelina’s friend Lindsay, who prefers to be known as Jewish Barbie. Ron spends much of the evening staring angrily at his phone. Jen has been sending him photos of Sammi with her new boyfriend, saying that this is how happy she, too, will be once she finds a new guy to raise their daughter. The CIA should hire Jen as a consultant to kick around some new enhanced interrogation techniques. “This is my friend Single Ronnie,” Pauly tells Lindsay. “Just kidding! I mean, I don’t know.”
Pauly and Vinny have been competing all night for JB’s affections, but when she joins the group in heading back to the house, a dark horse emerges. Ronnie climbs into the girls’ cab, an act of sexual espionage. He wastes no time in deploying his trademark aggressive, irresistible brand of flirting.
RON: “You want swimming?”
RON: “Go swimming?”
LINDSAY: “Is it heated?”
RON: “Yes, it is. All right, so you go swimming?”
LINDSAY: “All right. Let’s do it.”
Nicole texts the boys a photo of Ron and JB sitting together. Her caption: “Another French fry.”
In a confessional, Ronnie says he knows everyone thinks he’s about to reheat those fries. “I’m not spiraling like that, yet,” he protests. But in the kitchen, Ronnie takes a swig of liquor, then a swig of cherry juice. Who even drinks cherry juice? Not people who are not spiraling, I’ll tell you that much.
Angelina asks JB who she thinks the cutest of “the three” is, and when she demurs, prompts her to play “eff, marry, get rid of..” Get rid of? Mike. (Mike was not part of “the three” and you know it, woman.) Marry? Pauly. Fuck? Let’s just say his name rhymes with Yanni. Hearing this, Nicole buries her face in her blanket. It’s over.
Ron mutters to himself, “I think I should go to bed,” then begins panting. He does not go to bed. At the sight of JB in her bikini, he rolls face-down on the floor, as if mourning the bad decisions he knows he’s about to make. Nicole asks who’s getting in the hot tub. “I’ll go,” Ron answers immediately, then tacks on a half-hearted “I guess.” It’s one thing to make a terrible decision and then repeat it. It’s another thing to make a terrible decision, have that decision air on national television, and then still repeat it.
Peering through a window, Vinny offers Richard Attenborough-inflected color commentary as Ron and JB dip their legs into the pool. It’s only now that I notice the house’s very sparkly pool toys are in the shape of an extremely phallic log and extremely yonic ring.
“So you’re still not single yet,” opens Jewish Barbie, but Ron’s only response is lighting a cigarette. By now Vinny, Pauly, Mike, and Nicole are all standing at the windows, mystified, horrified, and utterly transfixed by this psychosexual car wreck.
Ron removes his shirt. They move from the pool to the jacuzzi. Oh god, oh no. As Vinny explains, “The jacuzzi is, like, ratchet time.” That’s where Ron’s hand first became acquainted with the original French fry’s ass. JB removes her robe. “She’s inching in, she’s inching in—she’s in! She’s in the hottub,” Vinny exclaims, with gooooooooooal enthusiasm. For now, at least, they remain a respectful five feet away from each other.
Inside, Jenni gets a text from Jen: She can’t get a hold of Ron. A hush falls over the peanut gallery. In a confessional, Jenni and Nicole pronounce their a friend a great guy, but a “bag of fucking dicks” as a boyfriend.
Jewish Barbie compliments one of Ronnie’s tattoos, then all of them. Now they’re only about three feet away from one another. Watching from the window is no longer enough, so the roomies take it upon themselves to upgrade their seats, crawling out onto the balcony. Mike has even made popcorn for the occasion.
They get out of the jacuzzi, but the night is young. Jewish Barbie asks to borrow a shirt. Ron tells her she can sleep in his bed. She scoots under the blanket.
“And there goes my life,” he says in the dark.