Last night's episode of Jersey Shore made me seriously question Snooki's lifestyle for the first time since season 1. Which means that even in season 3, by the time Snooki was passing out on the boardwalk, I was unsurprised and still feeling relatively protective of her choices. There's something lovable about Snooki that's totally ineffable, and when you watch her for more than 2 episodes, it's clear that she's America's Sweetheart.
It's a new decade; nobody should presume to know what the 2010 American Sweetheart will look like. Maybe she is meatball-shaped. Maybe she does curse like Joe Pesci and flash people in public. It's the inner traits of our national female character that identify her: boldness, generosity, and an inarguable underdog quality.
Is Snooki bold? Unquestionably yes. It might even be her undoing, after last night's episode. We are a nation that hates regret, and our most agreed-upon regret is inaction. Snooki will never sit at home wondering what if. Snooki gits 'r dun, as they say.
Is Snooki generous? Not on the outside, what with all the blood-curdling screaming and unadulterated gynoxenophobia. But she's generous with her friends to a fault, giving them endless opportunities to show that they're good people. She's especially protective of her friends in club settings, mostly due to her guidette pugnacity, but also due to a fierce loyalty that the American spirit shares. Our allies deserve all the chances in the world to make it better, and wouldn't it be nice to have a friend who feels that way about you?
Finally, is Snooki an underdog? For god's sake, she's 4 feet tall. Tell me you'd throw Danny DeVito away if suddenly he lost his sparkling wit. Of course you wouldn't! This goes double for Snooki. To be brave and fiercely loyal the way she does it can get very lonely. The fact that Snooki seems so proud of her antics is unconscious posturing at its purest - if she didn't at least act like she was fully behind every action, she'd have some serious cognitive dissonance to deal with. And so forth with our great country. A steel-willed dark horse with a heart of gold, God shed his grace on thee!
And so it was with great concern that I watched last night's episode, in which Snooki goes completely out of control in a very public and terribly embarrassing way. The episode begins at work (classic Irish haunt, O'Vesuvius Pizza), where Jwoww and Snooki work verrrrrrrry slowwwwwwly as Ronnie harasses women on the sidewalk with a megaphone. For real, Sallyann, these kids don't really need a job while they're in Italy. Yes, yes, it's policy these days to make the kids work, but here it truly doesn't make sense. No one cares that their break is running too long. I don't understand the international work laws. Are they interns?
The gang heads out to "Ritrono" for the weekend, and it's nowhere to be found on the map. Apparently it's just bursting with nude beaches, but lo and behold, I see none. There is, however, a Situation lookalike at a restaurant nearby. "Team Kooka," or the Vaginal Grouping of Girls Only, get a little too brassy, and Italian men keep taking it upon themselves to tell the girls to be more modest.* Unfortunately, the girls are now compelled to up the ante. Deena dances her bikini bottoms off as Snooki flashes a vacationing Swedish couple in the corner. Eventually the roommates go to dinner, leaving the Meatballs alone on the curb picking their noses with no panties on.
Later on everyone reunites at a club and Deena and Snooki reenact the Terrys, which I just saw for the first time yesterday. Everyone is mortified. Eventually Deena's vagina takes its last look at the dance floor and everyone heads home so that Deena and Snooki can fall asleep making out and wake up beclothed.
The next morning, the entire gang is disturbed and lightly sick. But the issue they pick out to discuss is not how out of control things got for the girls last night, not how unsafe they were being and how unrealistic their expectations were, but how Deena might actually be a lesbian now. Everyone's a nervous wreck that the two grabs for sexual attention belie a deeper lesbian sensibility in Deena, a sensibility which makes everyone nervous and scared. Don't worry about the alcohol poisoning, guys. Just be worried that she's had a lesbian encounter after the one that she said would be her last one.
Snooki drives halfway back to Florence with the parking break on. This is symbolic of something, but what? She calls Jionni and hesitantly recounts the evening, to which Jionni's like "eh, whatevah." That Jionni, what a guy! Right about now I'm noticing what a good job Sammi and Ronnie are doing staying away from each other. I'm proud of that.
Uh oh, Snooki and Deena crash into a parked polizia car. Even though I'm pretty sure Snooki hasn't had a drink since the night before, I'm also pretty sure that her BAC has still got to be like 50 full points above the legal limit. This is not going to make Jionni very happy...although, actually, he might be surprisingly fine with it.
*This isn't the first time the girls get unsolicited "how to be a lady" advice from Italian men. Last week a priest chased them from the outside of a cathedral because of how they were dressed. This is an awkward situation - nobody wants clothing to be an issue anymore (it's annoying to have to wear long sleeves etc in a cathedral, especially if you're just walking past the outside of it), but there's obviously a level of disrespect that just oozes out of our Jersey girls' pores. And in classic guidette fashion, the girls react to their lecturers with more brass than ever.
How does this scenario fit into women's rights? Here we have two extremes: the more "traditional" Italian male (who still feels authorized to dress down a woman when she's out of line) and the more "progressive" Italian-American female (who doesn't appreciate chastisement and who will always bite back, even if what the guy's saying is sort of true). And although it's awkward to try to define the limits of "what's appropriate," it's perfectly fine to consider the fact that other people just don't want to see Meatball Vaginas when they're leaving church. Women of the world, what do you think/would you wear with pink high heels and a cute black top?
all photos courtesy mtv.com