When you're watching "Jersey Shore," you know exactly what you're going to get:
Wild. Crazy. Outrageous.
And then it'll go all soft and gooey in the center, and it makes you think the "Jersey Shore" Eight are more than just caricatures.
The show doesn't wear poignancy well; it's more comfortable in electric blue hot pants and a giant sombrero. But it's not unprecedented to see a softer side emerge.
The first time that comes to mind involves the revelation about Snooki's eating disorder, which came last season. Then there are the continuing, messy travails of Sammi and Ronnie's relationship. It's maddening, watching this thing unfold. But the feelings - intense, raw, ever-fluctuating - ring at least a little true to anyone who's been in a relationship that wouldn't, couldn't die easily.
We have a new entry into "Jersey Shore's" realistic drama wing, thanks to Vinny.
(Look at this episode; from start to finish, it seems to have been the Vinny showcase episode... Can he keep it up? Unknown...)
Already this week, Vinny has hooked up with Angelina. He's welcomed family. And then he fell in love. The crew is at a club when he meets the lovely Ramona, the most beautiful woman in Miami in Vinny's eyes. He makes small talk, he says she's beautiful. She's flattered. He gets her number, says he'll call her.
Pauly, meanwhile, has found a woman he likes as well. They decide to go on a double date. Not sure we've ever seen anyone other than Ronnie and Sammi in a date-like setting on the show.
You know these two are serious as Vinny and Pauly get haircuts and shop for new outfits (which also renews my question from a few weeks ago: Exactly who are the chicks and who are the dudes in this house?)
And then they buy flowers. Whoa... Could we be watching Cupid's arrow piercing a couple of "Jersey Shore" hearts?
Alas, it is not to be. While Pauly's date is true, the lovely Ramona backs out of her date with Vinny. You can hear her stumbling on the phone, stammering, as if what's going on in her head Is: Listen, you're cute and all, and don't get me wrong, I like the cameras that follow you, but I'm not ready to hit that... That's right, it's not you. It's me...
Vinny is despondent.
"If somebody hands you a Bentley," Vinny has just finished saying, "you're gonna keep driving it, and that's how I feel about this girl."
He mopes, but he will not be denied. He calls her again. He practically begs the lovely Ramona to go out with him. Bad move. Desperation is not becoming. She stumbles on the phone, stammers, but relents. Yes, I will go out with you.
Are you buying or selling that statement? Vinny's buying. Pauly's impressed "You finagled it? You got skillz, kid."
Or not. While Pauly and her date are getting to know one another, Vinny sits at home. The lovely Ramona is no where in sight. It is sad, almost painful to watch. Imagine being the guy stood up on national television. Now Vinny knows what it's like to be on the short end of a "Bachelor"-esque rose ceremony.
"I treat some girls like I treat my mother, you know what I mean? Like gold," Vinny says. "And the fact that this was one of them, it hurts a little bit."
You know, it's easy to make fun of "Jersey Shore." I mean, REALLY easy, almost too easy to be fair. But then they throw you an episode like this, where someone like Vinny looks and sounds just like anyone who's had their hearts shrink wrapped and tossed in the garbage.
Almost makes you forget about his hookup with Angelina. Almost. Maybe the lovely Ramona has watched the show before. Not that that will be any consolation for Vinny.
Well, there you have it: The "Jersey Shore" recap in three parts. And STILL there is more to talk about. Come back tomorrow for a few leftover thoughts about the episode, including whether it was good or bad we got an almost entirely Sammi/Ronnie/Snooki/Jenni/Mike-free hour.