Jersey Shore: Blood on the Cobblestones

In the latest dispatch from the eight guidos in the most important sociological experiment of our time, there was an arrival and a departure, a reunion and break up, a prank and a fight, and one woman tottering around on high heels over the cobblestones. Shit got absolutely Shakespearean.

Finally it was the long-heralded arrival of Snooki's boyfriend Jionni, a trained monkey that Snooki has taught to do her bidding but rebelled and ripped off the face of everyone around him. It was Murder in the Rue Morgue but in Italy and it ended with warm tears dropping on cold stones. Oh, the emotional devastation.

Before we can get to that, let's look at the guido's language, so that we won't have to footnote this Elizabethan drama while we read it.

  • Wildebeest: In the great guido tradition of naming classifications of people after animals (see hippos, gorillas, etc) here is a new one. A wildebeest is a girl who is not only unattractive but also completely insane. While this really bares no resemblance to the animal in nature, it is a label that has more to do with the name, which, to the guido, is a combination of "wild" and "beast."
  • Feet Up: The guidos also love an ironic reversal. Idiomatically to have ones "feet up" means to relax, but to the guido it means to be on guard against an impeding attack. This comes from their propensity to engage with the enemy using ancient eastern forms of martial arts. While a boxer will put up his dukes before sparring, the guido puts up his feet, letting his attacker know that an attempted kick to the head is in the offing. It more often than not misses.
  • Manduca: One of the creatively named clubs of Florence. This one is an outdoor venue meant to channel a beachy vibe. The guidos believe that it is named after a euphemism for the male primary sex characteristics. It is actually named after a poisonous moth.
  • Balls: A synonym for the woman's breasts, but not on all occasions. Breasts are only referred to as balls when a woman is especially drunk and aggressive, therefore behaving like a man. Her breasts then take on the characteristics of testicles, which is what makes them sloppy and pushy.
  • Wankster: A portmanteau that combines "wank" and "gangster." This shouldn't be taken to be a synonym for the more common aspersion "jerk-off." No. The guidos hate nothing more than inauthenticity, so this is meant to describe someone who is trying to behave like a gangster but isn't. It is someone who is living a fake lifestyle or somehow pretending to be bigger and badder than he really is.

Last week when we left Snooki and the Gang (New Jersey's best Cool and the Gang cover band) she was being hauled off to jail for hitting a cop car and driving without a license. The guidos were all like, "Yo, we're gonna get kicked out of Italy." That didn't happen. Snooki just got her license taken away and fined and sent home to wallow in her own misery. When she calls her boyfriend Jionni to tell him about what happened, his first question is, "Were you drunk?" instead of "Are you OK?" which just shows you where Jionni's head is.

We find out from Jionni that he was supposed to travel with Roger, the Mayor of Seaside Heights and JWOWW's boyfriend, but that Roger can't come. Snooki tells JWOWW and she immediately dials Seaside City Hall and gets Roger on the phone. Jionni is right. There is a huge fiscal crisis in Seaside and some mook ran off with all the money they raised to build a new band shell in the park and Roger, as the mayor, has to solve the crisis. He even had to go down to the park and take all the red out of the fund raising thermometer that has been on public display for months. Months! JWOWW had a good cry, but she knew what she was getting into when she became a politician's wife. She put on her pillbox hat and rounded up the girls for a night out.

Snooki, still shaken up from the accident, stayed home for a change to calm her nerves. This is perfect because it set up one of the best guido pranks of all time.

Snooki is talking on the phone to Jionni and everyone is out at the club when the doorbell rings. Snooki finds out it is Busted Brittani, the nasty skank that The Situation has been carrying on a Situation with during their stay in Florence. That she just stops by the house drunk, disorderly, and uninvited just goes to prove that the housemates' assumption that she is crazy is correct. Seriously Danielle the Agent of Mossad, the international spy that has been trying to kidnap a guido for years, could learn something from this girl. With a bit of persistence and daffiness, Danielle also could have infiltrated the guido's inner sanctum.

Anyway, Snooki decides that, instead of telling Brittani that Sitch isn't around, she's going to invite her in and put her in Sitch's bed so that when he gets home with another girl, she'll ruin his whole night. A brilliant scheme. The guidos love a good prank and it is really the only form of acceptable retribution in their culture. Snooki feels like Sitch has done her wrong by talking about how they cheated together and to get him back, she is going to do something mean to him. While this will certainly upset him, he will have to acknowledge the genius of the plot and either pull an equally devious stunt on Snooki or bow down to her and let their feud drop.

Everything goes according to plan, and The Situation brings home a nice Australian girl, who looks far too nice and wholesome to be hanging with this clan. Do they not have this experiment in Melbourne? When he gets her into his room, up pops Busted Brittani from under the duvet. The Aussie (her name must be Kylie, because that's what all Australian girls are named) is naturally horrified that there is already a skank in the bed. At first Sitch tries to pass it off like she lives there, but Kylie isn't buying it. Brittani, never one to be bashful, whips her top off basically announcing that she needs to be smushed upon immediately. Mike changes tactics, kicks Kylie out and takes Brittani to the familiar environs of the smush room.

Damn, Snooki, your plot failed. While it was a sound gag, she underestimated both the sluttiness of Brittani and the skeeziness of The Situation. You can't embarrass someone like Brittani who has no shame and only one objective. Also, she's crazy. Sure, the Australian girl left, but The Situation still got to have sex, and that's all he cares about—proving that he is virile enough to mate. That he could still manage to get it in even with Snooki's interference is all the retribution he needs.

But don't worry, as soon as Jionni shows up, The Situation will assert his authority.

The Situation has been on a quest all season to break up Snooki and Jionni. Once Jionni arrives in the house, Sitch's gambit is to pretend like Jionni is trying to start beef with him, hoping that in some sort of fight Snooki will break up with Jionni or he'll have to confront the Snooki/Situation cheating rumors. I don't know what the objective is.

Either that is the objective or The Situation is so simultaneously narcissistic and insecure that he thinks that everything is about him and everything is a slight. Everyone has that friend who always misinterprets interactions thinking that a person is being mean to him or slighting him for some mysterious reason when it really isn't happening.

When he confronts Snooki about Jionni's behavior, she tells him the truth, that Jionni couldn't give a fuck about him. It's true, he could care less, as we all know. Strangely, The Situation takes this at face value and backs down. Sorry, Sitch, you're not going to bust these two up that easily, but it seems like they are doing a fine job of it all by themselves.

Jionni arrives and Snooki is very excited not only to see her man, but also to have sex with him, because she has been very faithful and she needs something inside her immediately. She immediately takes Jionni to the smush room where there is much smushing happening. Then they go out to the club.

Apparently at the club everyone got more wasted than usual and Snooki resorted to her normal outlandish inebriated behavior. She saw a stage and got on it, dancing seductively and pulling up her dress, showing off her blurred naughty bits for her man. She thinks that she's doing something sexy and romantic and showing off for him. He thinks she's being embarrassing and slutty. I can see an argument for both camps. He gets upset at her for behaving like a drunken fool and storms out of the club. Snooki waits behind until she realizes he's gone. Then she takes off in hot pursuit amid the streets of Florence.

OK, this is possibly my favorite sequence ever in the history of Jersey Shore because it was like something right out of Shakespeare. There are all these hapless creatures under the influence of various substances and motivations and they're just clanking around on the cobblestones in different groups and configurations waiting to pump into each other and further the plot. There's Deena and Sammi, standing outside the club going, "There goes Jionni. There goes JWOWW. There goes Snooki. There goes Ronnie," and just watching the action unfold.

Yes, Jionni takes off quickly and Snooki is immediately behind him, tottering on her insanely high heels on an uneven surface. She quickly loses him. Ronnie comes up from behind her and sends her to JWOWW's warm and ample bosom while he takes off for Jionni. While Snooki is hanging with JWOWW, the fight above ensues.

Man, this was a great fight. Snooki seems to have a severe case of the "beer tears" where she is experiencing extreme emotions and doesn't know how to control them. JWOWW, the alpha female and maternal figure, is a bit more sober and trying to speak the truth to Snooki, who is way too drunk to say anything but "Get away! Don't touch me!" JWOWW tries to stay with Snooki as long as she can to comfort her, but that isn't happening. She leaves Snooki in a heap in the gutter to sob and moan, like a crying dog turd. JWOWW goes looking for Jionni while Deena and Sammi take Snooki home.

Meanwhile, Ronnie caught up with Jionni, and he is the worst possible person to run into him. Jionni appeals to Ronnie as a man and says, "What if Sammi was doing that on stage?" and Ronnie thought, "Yeah, I'd freak the fuck out too and we'd have a giant fight that involves everyone in the house. Yeah. Girls suck. OK, man, see you at the house." Ronnie just leaves Jionni. He just leaves this guy who is wasted and angry to wander around the streets of a foreign city that he's never been to before. Ronnie just gives up and goes home and is like, "What? He has a point!"

JWOWW, as Snooki's best friend, tries way harder. She is also wearing astronomically difficult footwear and soon gives up on them, taking her shoes off so she can navigate the difficult terrain of Florence. This is a picture of what friendship looks like: this brave dame, six inches shorter than usual, holding her shoes in her hand and soiling her soles for her friend. "Jionni. Jionni!" she screams around the streets, like he's a puppy dog that got off the lease while she paused to clean up his mess. Her cries echo against the houses, cracking against the stones as her tender feet chafe and bleed from the stress. And still she doesn't give up.

Finally JWOWW returns home, where Snooki wants to be left alone and is sobbing in her bed. This whole night has gone afoul. But this is only Act 4. For the climax of this theatrical event, Jionni must return.

Jionni finally returns to the house after his great sojourn through the empty Italian alleys. He doesn't know where he's going, but eventually he sees little crimson specks lining the street and starts to follow them, one by one, back to the giant door that guards the guido fortress. Yes, the blood for JWOWW's feet lead him back to Snooki.

He rings the buzzer and she runs down to meet him, but he doesn't to talk to her. He zooms past her and runs into the most sacred room in the guido household: the bathroom. He wants a bit of privacy and he needs to get in touch with his gods. Snooki will not leave him alone and barges in for a strangely nonsensical fight.

For her part, Snooki can't see how her actions caused any of this. Naturally she was drunk and messy and her face was coated with a strange film of tears, mascara, and half-expired self-tanning dew so she wasn't entirely making sense. Not only does she lie about showing off her pixelated netherbits to the whole world, she can't see why this would make Jionni mad. That's a little bit crazy. She keeps saying, "Why are you doing this to me?" like she is a victim, like she didn't have something to do with the fight, like there aren't two people in this relationship.

Jionni, as several of the guidos mentioned, knew what he was getting into when he started dating Snooki. They met on a drunken hookup in Seaside for Criminey's sake. If he was going to be embarrassed by her drunken antics (which, let's be honest, are her profession) then he never should have gone out with her. He should have just smushed her and moved on. Should Snooki tone it down a bit when he's around if he asks? Yes. Is he a fool if he expect her to wear a burqa and stay sober and not misbehave? Yes. They're both wrong here.

The best part of this whole fight is that this is what it took for Sammi to realize how awful she'd been to all the roommates. She saw that the bystanders can't just stand by, that they are incredibly involved in the drama and there is nothing they can do about it. It took seeing herself from the outside to realize how awful she'd been. With that, she apologized to each and every roommate (and the world) for her continuous bombastic love ballad with Ronnie. May this forever be the end of it.

While she is having a rational moment, both Snooki and Jionni are behaving like crazy people. Jionni says that he is breaking up with Snooki and leaving. He's leaving after only six hours in Italy because his girlfriend reenacted her favorite scene from Showgirls in the club. I figured that Snooki or one of the other housemates would try to talk him down and smooth it over and wait for everyone to sober up before any decisions are made. But no, they just watch him walk out of the house and get into a cab. He left. He actually left. Amazing.

Snooki had all the fight sapped out of her. Her mind still cloudy with all the booze, she returned to her debris-strewn bed. She kicked off the two mismatched shoes and the makeup bag. She rolled over into her satin comforter, hoping it would live up to its name, the soft fabric pushing against her skin. She coiled up with her giant stuffed crocodile, staining his felt head with her tears. Heaving and sobbing in that uncontrollable way that's not about anything and that is about everything. It's not about sadness or longing, it's about crying. It's an act that is a means onto itself. She's not thinking anything and she has lost control of her body as it is wracked with sobs, each making the next one worse like a wave pulling on its successor, raising it up before it comes beating into the sand and petering out. There was no petering for Snooki, no trailing off, as the sighs and whimpers continued through the night, chasing out after the moon, chasing after Jionni in his cab to an unknown destination, echoing off the unpaved streets, being flung akimbo by the off-kilter cobblestones that are so treacherous at night they can literally kill you.