Jersey Shore: The Greatest American Tragedy

Like the finale of one of Tennessee Williams's lesser plays, the scenes of Jersey Shore, played out like a delirious tragedy rather than the greatest sociological experiment of our time. Naturally it all had to do with Sammi and Ronnie and their continued violent love battle.

Man, are we ever sick of talking about Sammi and Ronnie. After last week's transmission, we thought they were done for good. Not "done" like they always threaten to be with their relationship, but but actually finished with each other. Sadly, we were not so lucky. Ostensibly, they were broken up, but they continued to fight, as is there wont. But before we can discuss their final battles, let us look at a few guido terms so we can better understand their wacky ways.

  • Spider Monkey: Guidos often tend to name people after certain animals (gorillas, hippos, zoo animals, etc), but this is a new one. A spider monkey is someone in a precarious position utilizing almost supernatural speed, agility, and balance. It is like they have the dexterity of a monkey and the speed of the spider. Since the guido thinks if they two "smushed" they could actually have a baby together, they invented this hybrid creature just to describe these individuals.
  • Pitbull Lock: When a person has a very strong hold on something, like when a pitbull has something trapped in their jaws. This is usually a good thing, unless someone has a pitbull lock on their virginity, sobriety, or decency.
  • At first, after their break up, Sammi and Ronnie tried to stay away from each other. Ronnie went off with DJ Paulie Distraction and Sammi went off with Deena and they had fun separately on the boardwalk. But when they got together Sammi wanted to talk, as she always does, and Ronnie wanted to fight, as he always does. But Ronnie had a different target in mind: The Situation. He overheard Sitch talking to Sammi about Ronnie's behavior in Miami and telling her how he was wrong. Ronnie accuses Sitch of being "fake" for supporting Sam and supporting him, and accuses him of the worst guido infraction—breaking "guy code."

    Ronnie then accuses Sitch of getting in his business. Hello, Ronnie, the two of you fight in front of everyone and you share a room with The Situation. How can he not be in your business? You are constantly making your business everyone else's business. If you want people to butt out of your life, go build yourself a fort out of garbage under the boardwalk and go live with Bubba, the homeless man who has been living off of pizza crusts and spilled beer for more than 27 years under the planks. Anyway, The Situation apologizes, not because he thinks he was wrong, but because he didn't want to fight. He is the master of diffusing a situation (maybe that's where his name comes from?) and that comes in handy when Sammi and Ronnie's big blowout fight occurs.

    We have seen our guidos in all sorts of fights, but there has never been anything like this. This was not the fast and furious throw down of momentary anger, no this was something different. This was like a kettle of water that has been sitting on the burner, working its way up to boil. The kettle starting to shake and rumble as the temperature got hotter and hotter until finally, finally the steam started gushing through the spout in a loud whistle. Now they weren't just done, they were over—and the rage was unleashed.

    This was an actual dangerous confrontation where blind rage replaced any sort of reason, where all the ills and slights and petty grievances came together in an inexpressible thunderclap of physical emotion. The sort of anger where your legs tingle and your arms flail with no target. They just want to connect, to hit something, to feel. This fight made even less sense than Sam and Ron's usual fights because it wasn't about anything, it was about everything.

    But what was everyone else in the house doing when the battle royale began? Vinny and DJ Paulie Distracted were doing what they do best—sitting downstairs and bitching about it. These two are like the Statler and Waldorf of the Jersey Shore, watching the action and offering their humorous interpretation of it. If you think we're sick of witnessing the disruptive fighting of Sammi and Ronnie, imagine how it must be living with it? What an exhausting scenario!

    When things began to escalate, Mike tried to get Ronnie away from Sammi, because he knew what was about to happen. When he failed he was smart enough to call everyone from downstairs just to keep Sammi and Ronnie from clawing each others' eyes out like cannibalistic scorpions. That night, The Situation saved a life.

    Finally they relented and all the steam was let out of the kettle. All the water was gone and they were just empty vessels, sapped husks spent of their violent energy. The boys took Ronnie out of the house to go to the bar so there wouldn't be another blowup. Smart move.

    Luckily Snooki and Deena were around for cleanup. The Meatballs, as these two are known, aren't good in a confrontation. They are a fun-loving people who would much rather go to a party than to a fight. That's why you need to be friends with some Meatballs as well as a brawler like JWOWW, who will really have your back when the earrings come off and shit gets real.

    Actually, Snooki and Deena aren't even very good at the cleanup. During Sam's huge fight with Ron, he threw all of her clothing and such out on the balcony, but everyone knows that to really hurt a guidette, to really ruin her, you have to go after her bed.

    A guidette needs to spend ample amount of time just lying in her bed. It's how she recharges and how she works up the vast stores of energy required for teetering around on enormous heels while wearing tight skirts and low-cut dresses. You think that doesn't require a ton of strength? You're wrong. Because of the amount of time that a guidette spends in her bed, it is imbued with her very essence. To really get a guidette out of your house, to really rid her spirit from the domicile, her bed must be eliminated. That's why when the great monster known as Trash Bags left, the first thing they did was dismantle her bed.

    Ronnie, symbolically, goes after Sammi's bed, trying to get it—and by extension, her—out of his life. When he leaves the house, her bed is in shambles and Snooki and Deena try to take it downstairs to show that they have reembraced Sammi and will keep her safe from Ronnie. However, they hilarious failed at their mission. They don't have the strength or wherewithal to save Sammi but, symbolically, they showed they were on her side. (And don't you just love how Snooki gets in a joke about how Deena sucks ass and how big Vinny's dick is into the proceedings?)

    Then, to show how much they love Sammi, they take her out to the club and encourage her to get revenge on Ronnie by macking on another guy, right in front of Ronnie. See, this is probably a excellent plan, except they have to go to the same club as the boys? What, there isn't another place with alcohol and guidos in Seaside Heights for them to terrorize? This doesn't start a fight necessarily, but Ronnie's rage starts boiling over again, and The Situation, always good at keeping things at a cool simmer, gets Ronnie out of the club. He doesn't stop Ronnie from destroying all of Sammi's possessions when he gets home, but you can only ask so much of one guy.

    JWOWW is completely unfazed by all of the continued Sam and Ron drama. Her new man, Roger, is mysteriously going away for a few weeks and she wants to give him a proper send off. See Roger is actually the Mayor of Seaside Heights, so when they go out in public, he has to talk to all of his supporters and constituents, and that makes JWOWW jealous. She decides to take him to the club because it's good for the people to see their leader partying with them, and in the group setting with loud music and tons of other people, it's surprisingly easy to get some alone time with your intended.

    But the real fun starts when she takes him back to the house. JWOWW isn't just going to smush with him. No, she's going to unleash her secret identity. When there is a man who is in serious need of getting laid, she turns herself into Titaria, Amazonian Super Hero. Her outfit consists of a lace-up bra, some tight boy shorts, and some low-slung chaps. She also has a utility belt that includes handcuffs, condoms, lube in seven different flavors, two changes of edible underwear, and some poppers (they're not just for gays anymore!). The thing about Titaria is that she can make any man desire her, even those known as "confirmed bachelors." Yes, her wood-inducing powers are so potent that she can turn any man from limp to stiff in about 7 seconds. Unfortunately Titaria has a tendency to rip men's heads off after smushing them, but a truly strong guido—a real gorilla—can withstand her attack. Mayor Roger is big, he should be fine.

    While Titaria was using her magical suction powers in the smush room, things were getting very dramatic when Sammi came back from the club and saw her possessions destroyed. She sat down amongst the rubble and pulled out her glasses. Ronnie had shattered them. They are a very personal item, something she needs, something not only expensive, but necessary, and Ron destroyed them. And for the first time, without her glasses, Sammi could see clearly.

    She went upstairs to confront Ronnie and this thing was seriously like a scene out of a play. She just stands there, holding her glasses out at him, the perfect objective correlative (as Eliot would say) of their relationship. Instead of their usual fights, it was a calm(ish) discussion about the state of their relationship. Each word was full of impact and hidden meaning, every sentiment just bubbling below the surface. It was like when George and Martha finally settle down to sleep in the dawn of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe or when Harper finally leaves Joe Pitt at the end of Angels in America. The only difference is that in the middle of her big, meaningful speech, Sammi lets out a belch. Always undercutting the meaningful that Sammi.

    It was here that Sammi finally realized that Ronnie had no respect for her, that her behavior wasn't healthy, and there was no way she could stay. "This is not OK," she says, in summation. It took all of that—the cheating, the great caper with The Note, the constant fighting, the abuse, the destruction of all her worldly goods, the utter humiliation in front of everyone watching this little experiment—it took all of that for her to finally understand she was in an inescapable predicament. And as she there, fiddling with her broken glasses, picking shards out of the frame, she realized there was only one thing left to do. Sammi had to leave.

    Sammi gathered the few belongings that weren't ruined in a bag and called all the girls together. But the dictates of the Guido Code, she must get the approval of all the women in the house before leaving. And she did. They all understood, and they were all grateful, because this meant there was no more fighting. For some strange reason it is nearly impossible for four women to last a whole season in this experiment, and Sammi was the latest to fall.

    Then she called in Mike, Vinny, and DJ Paulie Destination Unknown and informed them. This time they knew it was different. None tried to convince her to stay. Vinny said the oddest thing, that he was sad that if she left, she would never come back. He didn't mean that summer. He knew the summer was ruined. He meant for good. He meant forever. He meant the promise of a carefree life that was promised them when they all enlisted for this experiment would never be fulfilled. Those happy days were gone, the family was forever torn apart, and this sadness was the inevitable result of the way they live. They had been duped into enlisting for a tragedy.

    Finally Ronnie gets wind of what is going on and goes upstairs to talk to her. Ironically, Ronnie is wearing a "Kill Your TV" T-shirt and he says to Sammi, "You're going to walk away from all of this." And he doesn't mean the house or the Jersey Shore. He doesn't mean the T-Shirt shop where they work or Karma where they go to do battle. He doesn't mean the beach and the boardwalk and the fried pickles. He doesn't even mean him. No, he means reality television. He means, "You're going to walk away from making shitloads of money for doing little work, from getting paid thousands of dollars just to show up at a club, from doing this year after year until the ratings go down and they finally put us out to pasture for another reality show about kids behaving badly, from everyone knowing all of our business and taking pictures of us whereever we go? You're going to walk away from fame and fortune all because of me?"

    And she says, "Yes." She dries her eyes and Sammi says Yes, for the first time in her life. She doesn't fight. Sammi is through with fighting. After living in the negative for a year, Sammi is finally saying Yes. DJ Paulie Delightful yells up the stairs, in his cavalier way that the "Cabs Are HERE!" trying to pretend like everything is normal, like it's just some other night out at the club. But it's changed. There won't be another carefree night like that. Nope, never again.

    Sammi gets into the cab and as it pulls away she looks out the window, the deserted street of Seaside Heights unwinding like a lumpy ribbon. The same place she drove up to a year ago expecting everything, expecting a whole lot fun. Now she's leaving—and she's leaving like this. "Where to?" the driver asks? "I don't know yet," she says. "Take me back. Just take me back."

    Upstairs on the balcony, Ronnie clutches at the rail and watches her car pull away, still shocked that it's happened. Feeling like he's won and that he's lost all at the same time. The night is getting thick, the humidity turning into something that will be rain the next day, and he can feel the damp air brushing against his skin. The first drops of what will become the dew are forming on the railing, beading up on the furniture as he drops into the chair, still and motionless, trying to figure out what he's going to do next. How his life is going to fill in the days that are left of the summer. Trying to grasp the hollow he sees before him. His brain is thinking a million thoughts, but really it's just saying the same word over and over again, trying to turn the throbbing ache into a dullness. It's just that word, again and again, faster and faster. Just that word: Done.