overnights

Jersey Shore Family Vacation Season Finale Recap: Welcome to the Family

Jersey Shore Family Vacation

Ronnie Magro’s Series of Unfortunate Events
Season 2 Episode 17
Editor’s Rating *****

Jersey Shore Family Vacation

Ronnie Magro’s Series of Unfortunate Events
Season 2 Episode 17
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: MTV

Last week’s fight ends exactly as it began: Amid extreme confusion. The house has been successfully defended, with no casualties. The gang’s collective good mood gets even sunnier when they watch Chrissy beat on Wajionni herself as they drive away. And as has been the case since the earliest summer days of Jersey Shore and the “Snooki punch,” violence begets, well, bonding. In the car, Angelina apologizes for her part in the rumble. “I defend people I like and I love, and I’m sorry it did happen, but …” Nicole cuts her off: “Welcome to the family!”

Back home, Ronnie invokes Moses in describing how he led everyone in the club outside, and the single dumbest theological debate in recorded history ensues. Angelina corrects him: Moses was the one who had all the animals. Uh, no, Nicole chimes in, Adam and Eve had all the animals. Well, Ronnie reminds us, Jesus came before all of them. “Adam and Eve banged each other to make more people,” Angelina begins her explanation, a monologue that concludes with this truly baffling word-picture: “Jesus came and rode on his boat.” Nicole counters that Jesus “flew in.” Okay, but how do cavemen fit into the whole thing, Angelina wants to know? There’s nothing quite like a faith-affirming, 4 a.m. Bible study with the spiral squad.

The next morning, Ronnie awakens to a series of alarming texts: Jen (whom he hasn’t spoken to since their last fight) reports that a burglar broke into her house while she was home with the baby. The other roommates are unanimously suspicious of her story, which features a number of eyebrow-raising details. A bag of bullets was found in the backyard? And she still hasn’t left the house? Could this be an “inside job,” if not an outright lie? Is Jen the girl who cried wolf, or the girl who dragged her baby’s father behind a car?

“Your life is a fucking movie,” Deena says to Ron.

“It’s a television show,” he corrects her, smiling at the camera

“No,” she doubles down. “Like, it’s a bad movie lately.”

The dudes take Ronnie out for lunch, where they can’t restrain themselves from warning him to take Jen’s account not with a grain of salt, but with an entire margarita glass rim’s worth. Pauly gently suggests she “conjured up” this “big story.” At this, Mike takes an Untucked Lounge-worthy dramatic sip of his drink. “She wouldn’t do that,” Ronnie says, though the data suggests otherwise. Instead, he blames the people she chooses to surround herself with. (Who, I wonder, was surrounding her in the driver’s seat that fateful night?) Nevertheless, Ron convinces Jen to take the baby to stay at his place. He’ll fly out to join them tomorrow. First, he has some important charity work to do.

In honor of her beloved late father, who died of leukemia, Deena has recruited her pals for a fundraiser to benefit the Be the Match bone marrow transplant registry. At Point Pleasant’s own Jenks, each cast member eagerly solicits donations from boardwalk strollers. (You, too, can donate here, or join the Be the Match registry as a potential marrow donor online — they’ll send you a free cheek-swab kit in the mail. Do it! I signed up last year after Kathie Lee did a Today segment on Be the Match that made me cry!)

This is a very sweet and wholesome occasion. Danny from the Shore Store made everyone matching T-shirts. Ron whips up a massive batch of Ron Ron Juice, using the elixir’s powers for good, for once. Nicole’s kids, Vinny’s mom and Uncle Nino, and Roger are on hand, as are both Chrises. (Even Pauly’s number-one supporter Vanessa is there!)

DJ Pauly D spins for a rambunctious crowd during the evening’s dance-a-thon-slash-live auction. Several young women chip in $875 for the unheard-of privilege of touching Pauly’s blowout. (One girl’s delighted review, interpreted via lip-reading: “It doesn’t move!”) Nine big-hearted, wet-livered philanthropists contribute a total of $2,400 (!) to each take a shot with Nicole. That’s right: nine shots. The auction winners line up on stage and she gamely knocks back drink after drink. It is truly an athletic feat, and I look forward to the 30 for 30 that will one day be made about Nicole’s great achievement. It’s $850 to drop it like it’s hot with JWoww (Uncle Nino, apparently, included free with purchase), $725 to trash-bag race Angelina, $900 to arm wrestle with Ronnie, and $1,200 to compete in a meatball-eating contest with Big Daddy Sitch (the meatballs were presumably free, though, so I’d call that one a steal).

Before the night is through, emcee-slash-auctioneer-slash-shit-stirrer in chief Vinny summons Staten Island Chris to the stage and leads the entire crowd in a chant of “Angelina ain’t got pounded out in a long time.” About this and approximately 1 million other things, Chris continues to distinguish himself as an unreasonably good sport. (At first, I accidentally misspelled his name as “Christ” in this sentence, which is a telling Freudian slip.)

In total, they raise more than $40,000! Deena cries happy tears and kisses the same photo of her dad she pinned to her bouquet on her wedding day. Angelina crowd-surfs. (And provides one last Freudian slip opportunity of the season for me and my keyboard: “crowd-suffers.”)

I’ll see you and our beloved macaroni rascals in 2019, when Jersey Shore: Family Vacation returns for a third season! Until then, I, for one, will be staring at this image of Pauly sans hair gel. It is the only sustenance I require.

Jersey Shore Family Vacation Recap: Welcome to the Family