'Jersey Shore' season premiere recap: Cartoons over Miami

ronnie-kissingIf you’re looking for a metaphor to describe tonight’s second-season premiere of Jersey Shore, how about the SUV that The Situation and Pauly D drove into a South Carolina corn field during their road-trip to Miami? Tires spinning, covered in filth, and sinking under its own unfeasible weight, the vehicle needed not one, but two tow-trucks to drag it back to a functioning position. I’m not sure if there’s a similar service available for overexposed reality-show participants, but oh what I wouldn’t have given to see a character named Triple A round up Snooki, JWoww, Angelina, The Situation, Ronnie, Pauly D, and the super boring dude with the carefully sculpted eyebrows for either a badly needed tuneup or a trip to the scrap heap.

Yeah, I’m being harsh, but do Jersey Shore‘s pack of self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes really deserve better? My problem with tonight’s episode wasn’t the fact that every word and action from the cast was a total contrivance — that’d be like going to McDonald’s and being outraged that your Big Mac didn’t come served on fine china — but that said contrivances were so thoroughly and exhaustingly void of humor, originality, or even genuine outlandishness.

Such a short way into their celebrity life-cycle, you can practically feel the Jersey Shore kids buying into their own hype, believing they needn’t do anything beyond just showing up, of going through the motions of what they think the show’s producers think their lives should look like: “Eyebrows” declares his “60 girls in 60 days” policy with all the sexual fervor of a movie-theater concessions clerk telling you that you can upgrade to a medium combo for only fifty cents more. Angelina (who even in her dreams isn’t an eighth as bawdy-hilarious as Khloe Kardashian) goes to a salon to get a Brazilian wax, but can’t think of anything more clever to say than “The bitch of Staten Island is back and ready to f****** party!” And oh, how about Ronnie and Sammi? He calls her an unspeakable insult — hint: it rhymes with grunt — and she goes home and films a confessional saying she still loves and cares about him because, well, without a will-they-won’t-they story arc to perpetuate, she’ll just be a third banana to Snooki and JWoww. (Spoiler alert: She still is anyway!)

But I’m supposed to be writing a jaunty recap, not a self-help manual for young women with severe self-esteem issues or a screed against what’s wrong with pretty much everything ever. So let’s do an alphabetical rundown of our players and what they got up to this week:

Angelina: “I feel like in the world, everybody deserves a second shot,” she declared at the top of the show, though whether she was talking about Patrón, Jägermeister, or redemption is anyone’s guess. Our Lady of Misunderstood Intentions/Achingly Unselfaware Blathering then “surprised” her estranged cast-mates by flying to Miami and foisting herself on them for a second season. Angelina was allowed to bunk with Pauly D and The Situation on the off chance that they experienced a “slow night” with “no chicks” and a rainy forecast. (Silly me, and here I thought that’s why God invented the Wii.) Angelina, who spent most of the episode in shorts so skimpy that the pockets hung below her cuffs like sad, drooping tongues, found herself getting the icy cold shoulder from Snooki and JWoww — that is until she got into a cab with them, participated in an unintelligible but very loud verbal altercation, and then announced in her confessional: “I’m tryin’ to be classy right now.” Someone raise a “mission accomplished” banner in that young woman’s honor!

Eyebrows: Coined the word “obliviated” to describe Ronnie’s alarmingly drunken state. Otherwise seemed to exist merely to offer expository sound bites for the show’s editing team.

JWoww: Road-tripped it to Miami with Snooki, and somehow found time to change into an elegant pink sequined dress before entering the cast’s shared apartment at Metropole Hotel Apartments. (Newsflash: The hottub is gonna need a few more years before it’s safe again.) I loved the way JWoww got all puffed up when she realized Angelina was in the house, declaring “I’m not gonna let a girl be catty and get away with it and live in my house without getting her ass beat.” (Wait, if the girl is in your house and going to get her ass beat, then how come you’re also implying she got away with it? Discuss!) I couldn’t understand half of what JWoww said while attempting to scramble over the back seat of the rental car and apply a coat of smackdown to Angelina — a steady succession of bleeps will do that to one’s listening comprehension — but it sure made Sammi and Snooki laugh.

Pauly D: Implied he drunkenly hooked up with Angelina in L.A. during the Jersey Shore offseason. I’d like to see a polygraph, Mr. D.

Ronnie: I nominate Ronnie for ABC’s next Bachelor. Just think about the unique attributes he brings to the game: Able to make out with two women at the same time (handy during two-on-one dates); doesn’t discriminate against strippers (allowing for a wider casting net of bachelorettes); states the obvious with wit and panache (“I’m in Miami, bitch!” he shouted to no one in particular); and did we mention his expressive use of the c-word? But don’t take my testimonial for it, take Sammi’s: “I love him and still care about him.” Wait, is she saying she would absolutely accept his rose? But here’s my burning question about Ronnie: Why in the name of all that’s Jersey would all those unidentified women make out with the lumbering lummox — in plain view of MTV’s cameras? People aren’t that desperate to be on TV, right? Discuss!

Sammi: Oh enough about this one and her issues, already! (At least till she has a physical altercation with JWoww.)

Snooki: Okay, I know I was pushing Ronnie for Bachelor, but with the way Snooki described her relationship with her “amazing gorilla juicehead” boyfriend, it sounded like she was advocating the launch of Bumpit of Love on VH1 in the not-so-distant future. “I really don’t wanna cheat. Like seriously, I don’t want to. But y’know, if you’re gonna hand me a bottle of freakin’ SoCo [translation: Southern Comfort?], something just comes over me, and like I just go crazy,” Snooki said. Later, she got political: “I don’t go tanning-tanning anymore. Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. And I feel like he did that intentionally to us. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning because he’s pale and he would probably wanna be tan. Obama doesn’t have that problem, obviously.” What more is there to say than that, really? Actually, I should observe that Snooki’s thrice-daily bronzer looks like it comes in a container of diner syrup.

The Situation: While the late Princess Diana spent a lot of her adult life trying to raise awareness of land mines, I’m not sure she’d be exactly flattered to find that Sitchu is attempting to make the phrase happen as a code word for “thin ugly chick,” or that he’s using the term “grenade” to label “bigger ugly chicks.” Sigh. But let’s not waste the pretty and instead part ways reviewing this overly long, but truly poetic sound bite, from the Sitchu himself: “It was a crazy amount of tension. I mean, it was so thick you could probably like slice it down the middle in the air. That’s how thick it was.” Alrighty then!

What did you think of the second-season premiere of Jersey Shore? Will it be as much of a phenomenon as it was during season 1? Share your thoughts below, and to get all my pop-culture news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

Comments (110 total) Add your comment
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  • Steve

    First!!!!

    • victoria

      Loser.

      • William

        Get back in the kitchen!

      • AcaseofGeo

        At first I was soooo excited to see Snooki and company again, then I saw a blip and was letdown. When I saw the whole thing, I just felt like “Wow, The magic IS STILL THERE”.

    • Mike

      I am not sure I understand why you are reviewing this Slezak. No offense, but based on your other recaps you get pretty offended easily. The person reviewing JS should be someone that laughs at this kind of stuff. The first episode was virtually everything you would expect from this crew, as I am sure the rest of the season will be as well.

      • Ally

        I was thinking the same thing…we all know Jersey Shore is a joke, nobody takes it seriously it’s just fun trash. Why couldn’t we get someone who would have fun with this recap? And I thought SoCo was a widely known term for Southern Comfort..SoCo & Lime shots?? Stop being a hater Slezak!

      • Bob

        Totally agree. Slezak is the wrong person for this, and the review sounds as forced as the banter on the show.

      • Mick

        100% agree. What a crappy, cranky review. Clearly he doesn’t see the irony and humor in the show, and all its ridiculousness. I think the best part of the show is that these kids AREN’T acting – this is how they really are! All the stuff he b*tched about I was laughing at. I’m a 43-year-old mom of three, and though I don’t hail from the Northeast and was never a guidette, I don’t get all twisted in a moral knot over a bunch of kids getting drunk in a beach town, making out in bars and being idiots in general. I did the summer beach house thing way back when, and anyone that has knows it’s not much different than what you saw last night! A blast. Find someone that’s more chilled out and ironic to review this show – sorry, Slezak, but you need to go review some serious TV dramas or something…

      • mccliza

        Slezak is the greatest observer of pop culture of all time. He has a GREAT sense of humor about all things trashy, and I appreciate this stuff as much as anyone. But I sampled this show last night because of all the hype, and I couldn’t get through five minutes of it. These people are just trashy, stupid, classless, and humorless beyond any measure that’s entertaining (and I enjoy “The Hills” and “Toddlers and Tiaras,” in case you think I’m a cranky old grinch). I think Slezak assessed it EXACTLY right when he said they’re all buying into their own press releases and playing to the cameras the “roles” they think they’re supposed to be. Thanks, Michael, for saving me from this garbage.

      • Ty

        I was totally thinking the same thing. Recaps are better when the recaper enjoys the show.

      • Caryn

        I vote for Emily–she rips the hills apart week after week–and her NJ Housewives reviews–spot on!

      • denver darling

        he hates everything that is not Crystal Bowersox and that Alison chick. Maybe Big Mike will make an appearance and then Sleazy will stop watching…..

      • m

        hahaha @denverdarling for the win

      • James

        Yeah, Slezak, your review was way off base in that you seem to be expecting way too much out of these kids.

      • V

        ANNIE! ANNIE! ANNIE! Or, when is Kristen Baldwin back from baby making leave? Someone with a sense of humor, PLEASE.

      • Elizabeth

        You want a serious recap of Jersey Shore?

        WTF?!

      • lindsey

        Totally Agree about the fact that the guy reviewing this stuff needs to get over himself if he is going to try to review JS.

    • etm

      It was so gross how Angelina threw herself at Pauly D and the Situation when she first got there. They clearly did not want to hug her. Also, does her hair even move? Yuck, with those bangs plastered to her head. Sammi is really, really boring, and Snooki’s “wahhhh” was really irritating. This episode was nowhere near as good as last season’s premier, but it was funny when they cut from the girls fighting in their cab to the guys silent cab ride,and then back to the girls in their cab. I’ll watch though. Some of the upcoming fights look entertaining.

      • liss

        I laughed during the entire taxi ride!
        It all started because Angelina forgot that last season her housemates weren’t mad at her for loving her boyfriend; it was that her boyfriend was married! (come on, how ‘classy’ is that?!)
        Then the screaming between the girls and a quick shot to the guys sitting all quite was just awesome!
        I don’t know why, but I loved the final moment. Snookie said that Angelina needed to tan, Angelina saying that Snookie tanned too much. Then Snookie defended her tan, got out of the cab, ran (in heels with her short legs) to catch up with JWow. Screaming her name – seriously, I could not stop laughing!

  • Hoboken Shore Guy

    I was anxiously awaiting my return to the Jersey Shore, but was mildly disappointed by the premiere:
    Angelina: Still annoying and wanting her to go already. Where does she get the ego that people like her? Try harder, witch.
    J-WoWW: Just seemed angrier than ever. Definitely someone I would not want to meet in a dark alley. Has gigantic baby feeders just so you know she ain’t a dude.
    Snooki: Comedy doesn’t get much better than Snooki. Blissfully dingy and just wants to be loved. How can you not like Snickers.
    Vinny: Went from momma’s boy to tough guy. Still a distant third wheel to PD and The Sitch. 60 girls in 60 days. Time for an ego check, nerd.
    Ronnie: Right back to acting like a hairy cat. Already bringing the drama with Sammi. His brothers are already making fun of him for crying over his feeling for her on Day 1. Overcompensate much?
    Sammi: Looking better than ever, but the definition of nightmare girlfriend. Having a BF season 1 made her so not interesting. Hope Sitch hits that.
    Situation: His and Paulie D’s friendship is the basis of the show. His ego was unchecked before and now it is going to be even worse. Still a funny guy, but stop trying to coin terms already.
    Paulie D: Still the man. Just there to have fun and get mad respect, while spinnin the 1′s and 2′s. Good luck in Miami, Paulie!!

    • Ceballos

      I agree with you.

      I enjoy this show a ton, but the season premiere basically decided to heavily focus on my two least favorite things about “Jersey Shore”: 1.) Angelina 2.) The Ronnie/Sammi drama.

      Hopefully, they’ll focus a bit more on the exploits of The Situation and Pauly D from here on out. It also never hurts to give us a good amount of Snooki (who absolutely delivered a brilliant, Jim Halpert-esque look into the camera when that redneck guy was hitting on her).

    • Vicki

      Hoboken Shore Guy, can you recap this show? Funny stuff.

      They seem somehow less desperate when you describe them.

      • Kate

        Agreed, Hoboken is awesome! Calling Vinny a nerd is perfect.

  • Lori R

    I have never watched this show…until tonight. I had the misfortune of watching a few minutes while on my break. They are disgusting, filthy pigs. New Jersey should be ashamed that MTV would pretend that they are representing their state. Between this and Housewives of New Jersey, I feel sorry for that state.

    • Jaymii

      It’s comedy, man.

      • ana

        “Comedy” requires level of expertise not apparent anywhere here. No, this is low-brow entertainment aimed at mouth-droolers who the producers pray will run out and buy the low-brow crap advertised during the commercials so they can keep themselves rolling in the dough. Crap can be funny, but let’s not pretend that its anything other than crap.

    • NJ

      Don’t blame an entire state for this show. Everyone knows only 2 of the cast members are even from NJ! It’s a comedy at this point.

      And as far as the Real Housewives, they are 4 women from a state that has a population of 8 million.

      Don’t feel sorry for our state, it’s doing just fine!

    • mccliza

      Right on, sistah’.

  • JD

    Dear reviewer…
    Relax.
    Its not nor ever shall it be masterpiece theatre.
    Its stupid summer TV
    GUARANTEED HUGE RATINGS
    Snooks will you marry me!!!!

  • April

    @JD

    Too true. It’s summer TV. Relax. I LOVE this show and thought I would hate this season but I love the gang. But I can do without Eyebrows who’s clearly trying to hard, and Angelina just because.

  • heather

    It’s over. It’s gone. I won’t be watching anymore.

    • Terry

      so why are you googling for recaps of the JS?

  • iheartcoachtaylor

    I thought it was hilarious. Take it for what it is….fun summer TV. Don’t be a hater!

  • AV

    Dude, calm down. It’s supposed to be mindless TV. If you don’t like it, go watch some Crystal Bowersox clips on YouTube and leave the rest of us to enjoy it. Thanks.

    • irb

      hahaha, love it.

    • jas886

      Hey, there’s nothing wrong with watching Crystal Bowersox clips on youtube. It is a very acceptable and extremely enjoyable way to pass the time and take your mind off the rigors of daily life.
      However, I do agree that Slezak “get with the spirit” and embrace the trash absurdity of this show more. He has the capacity to write brilliant, hilarious recaps (as we’ve seen with Idol) and I’m confident he will get past his convictions and start writing better recaps as time goes on.

  • Melinda

    True it was a much different first episode that in the first season. But it was also super trashy and pretty funny like we all expected it to be. And of course it will be contrived. They gave America their “true” selves last year and it made them famous so they wanna keep being famous so they’re gonna be even more outrageous.

  • banan

    I thought your review was hilarious Slezak! Those kids have me equally enthralled and appalled but when Snooki walked into that bar in SC wearing that cowboy hat I knew I would die happy. That’s all.

  • maeve

    Slezak, did you even watch the first season? These people are nowhere near as bad as you think they are.

  • Jen

    I shamefully loved the episode last night. Welcome back Jersey Shore!

  • D

    …I am so over this show. Boring.

    • Terry

      So why are you googling to find a recap D?

  • Damon

    I was trying to think which of these people could function in the real world like the rest of us. And I came up with Vinnie and Ronnie.

    I could see Vinnie possibly running his own business and Ronnie could function as a beer delivery guy.

    • lefty

      or Pauly could be a DJ…

      • Ceballos

        I love how he gave the cab company his name as “DJ Pauly D”, and the person on the phone was like, “What?! Slow down!”

  • gtrgrl

    I read the review without reading who wrote it, and couldn’t figure out why someone who hated this show was even bothering… then I saw it was Slezak!

    Normally LOVE his writing, however, in this case… yeah, they’re not winning a noble prize for anything and nobody expects them to. I have a graduate degree, spend my days working on international public health issues, and you know what? I LOVE THESE GUYS! They make me laugh, they’re fun to watch and that’s all I want in my summer night-time tv. Everything doesn’t have to be Mad Men.

    • dee

      We’re on the same page, gtrgrl! I love Mad Men…and couldn’t wait for Jersey Shore. Sometimes, I just wanna have some fun. :)

    • Ceballos

      It’s especially weird to see the guy who openly enjoys “Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami” thumbing his nose at “Jersey Shore.”

      • AT

        Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami? Really Slezak? At least the kids on The Jersey Shore are entertaining.

      • Mick

        Seriously? All of the Kardashian shows are so openly scripted they shouldn’t even be categorized as reality. And he’s b*tching about the contrivances in THIS show??

      • nervousnelly

        Lol – great point.

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