And just like that, the Jersey Shore trip to Italy was over. If you expected our macaroni rascals take away some sort of lesson from their travels, to gain experiences that would encourage a more enlightened, humble or productive perspective about their roles in the world ... well, you don't watch much of this show do you? They came to Italy determined to "do them," and they "did themselves" so hard that they barely even noticed they'd changed continents. Their biggest souvenirs from the trip will consist of club hand stamps, empty condom wrappers, Deena's negative pregnancy test, empty wine bottles and Snooki's outstanding warrant for the time she hit those cops with her car. Ahhhh, memories
Still, as the group prepares for their final days in the motherland, almost everyone seems at least partially grateful that they got a free vacation in another country. Everyone but Mike, who is so isolated and angry that he's forgotten all about the "where," and focused solely on the "who." Himself. And so the episode is a mix of the group's "lasts" in Italy (first and last art tour, last dinner, last night out, last drunken night at home making bad choices, last mimosa breakfast...), alongside Mike's last-ditch efforts to not become, as Deena says, "lost in the f*cking mist."
When we left Mike, he was babbling to himself like a depressed super villain, angry and lonely but too proud and cold to admit he's been wrong. Ron tries to have a chat with Mike, but their gorilla-heart-to-gorilla-heart is all for naught. Mike wants to feel like a martyr and cries to Ronnie about feeling vilified by the rest of the group, and but instead of sympathy, he gets an ultimatum: Change or leave. LEAVE! LEAVE! LEAVE! People never really
change, anyway. So I vote LEAVE!Last Days, Last Lays, Last Ditch Efforts
It's Sammi, Vinny and Pauly's last day of "work." I feel like I could count the minutes that we saw the group "working" at the pizzeria on both hands, so I'm not quite as torn up about leaving their boss Marco as the Jersey kids are. They spend their last day of work not working at all, and instead goof on the customers and write on the walls. A fitting end to an unfitting fake employment opportunity. Ciao, Marco! Thanks for babysitting!
Meanwhile, Mike still needs to make a choice. He calls his sister (and calls her "boo," which is ... interesting) and says he's "probably not" going to the shore next season. Snooki overhears this and immediately tells Deena.
Across the house, Sammi and Ronni decide to have sex in the middle of the day, and Pauly watches them go into the smush room ... and then emerge five minutes later. You know what THAT means! Pauly laughs at Ronnie's impotence (the 'roids will do that): "The whole house knows it took five minutes for them to get their smush on. No wonder Sam never smiles." He's joking, but it's not an awful theory. That would actually explain a lot.
Back to Mike: He's empty-threatening to leave the show, and now he's frustrated, because Mike knows, just like I know (because I've seen too much Jersey Shore) how this little song and dance is supposed to go. He says he wants to leave, then somebody else convinces him to stay "because they're a family" (because the money is too good), and then everybody hugs and takes a shot! But it's not happening that way this time!
When Mike goes to Snooki and tries tell her his troubles, she just says, "It's your decision." WHAT? He thought she'd tell him to staaay! This is a bad sign. Mike realizes his last options are to apologize, or actually NOT be on this soul-sucking reality show anymore. So he decides to apologize.
On their second to last night out, Deena and Snooki decide to "go hard" since it's one of their final Meatball Nights and, yadda yadda yadda, Snooki ends up fishing Deena's purse out of a wasted Italian girl's crotch, and then wiping it on the girl's dress. The details aren't important! What's important is that she KEPT THE PURSE! Then they get lost on their walk home. Snooki is confused by the changing landmarks: "These just showed up the other day and I never said anything!" she says of some trees in one of Florence's plazas. Last Goodbyes
Before they leave Italy, the crew have one last hurrah with the one person they forged an emotional connection with while they were here: Their "boss," Marco. He asks each of them to bring an item of clothing to add to the clothes line that hangs in his pizzeria. "Apparently it's a tradition to add a piece of clothing to it," a few of them repeat to us. "For, like, memories." Sure, whatever, we get it, just stop trying to explain it. Most of them bring a shirt to add to the line, but Team Meatball just have to be different and disgusting. Deena gives Marco her thong ("I didn't even know Deena wore underwear, to be honest with you," says Ronnie, just SO satisfied with himself for that one) and Snooki brings her leopard print bra.
JWoww's "Boob Shirt" On Display Foreverrrrr!
If you're ever in Florence, make sure to visit Snooki's bra. I'm sure it will be a national landmark in no time.
Later, the boys decide they're tired of the pasta, and make burgers and hot dogs on the grill for their final meal. The grilled meat reminds the group of how much they miss their tanning beds. "I'm embarrassed to go out of the house this pale!" says Pauly, who is still a very vibrant shade of mocha. The group realizes they were so busy partying that they never really went site-seeing. Face-palm! Head-smack! So THAT'S what all those cathedrals and museums are for? LOOKING AT and LEARNING ABOUT? Doy-oy-oy-oyyy! Vinny dials 911 and secures them an EMERGENCY art history tour guide for the following day. The tour guide asks Vinny, "Which do you like better, art or history?" A little-a bit-a both-a, por favor! Last (and First) Site-Seeing Trip
It's time to expose themselves ... to ART!
LOOK! ART! APPRECIATE! ART!
And unlike when she exposes herself to literally everything else
, Snooki is "um, not so excited about it." But then, as the day goes on, she discovers that art can actually be pretty cool. Because there are DICKS in some of it! Snooki takes a moment to appreciate the statue of David's quarter-bouncy ass (though she laments his tiny, "soft" stone junk). Later, she asks their tour guide if "the babies with wings" in the paintings are "real." You know, the CHERUBS. Oh, Snooki. Never change. Not that you could.
The entire tour, Mike pouts like a surly middle schooler who HATES walking, and HATES art, and HATES his stupid jerk-face mom for forcing him to come on this dumb stupid lame-ass walking art tour. At each destination, he makes sure to find a place where sit down and work really hard to look disinterested and annoyed. The harder he pouts, the more he hopes someone will come put their hand on his shoulder and ask what's wrong. And the harder that never happens.
Screaming for help without saying a word.
Unknown statues, ceilings and paintings later (thanks for sparing us from all that boring LEARNING and GROWING, MTV!), the tour is over. At sunset, they all go to a lookout over the city, where they take group photos, and Pauly and Vinny share a beautiful romantic embrace. Then everyone sits down to reminisce about their trip. After they find a way to laugh about that time a couple days ago when Snooki threw a wine bottle at his head, Mike sees his golden opportunity and apologizes: to Snooki for spreading those pesky sex rumors about her, and to the group for causing all that drama. Then he buys them a ROSE!
It's actually pathetic how Mike isolates himself from everyone. Show me on the doll where you you became incapable of love, Michael. More than anything, I'd love to see a post-script paragraph at the end of this episode, like the ones they air at the end of Hoarders
, that says "Mike is currently in therapy, exploring why he always sabotages his relationships and causes unnecessary conflict in order to feel needed."
But ... no. Instead, everyone half-heartedly accepts his apology, while deep down knowing it's complete bull. As Jenni says, "Same sh*t, different country." Last Night Out
The group goes out for one final night of wasted fist-pumping, and Mike immediately proves that he hasn't changed at all. When a tiny kid accidentally offends him, Mike screams "I will f*ck you in the face right now!"
After they get back from the club, Deena and Snooki decide to make their final mark on the house, by bringing all the outdoor plants inside and arranging them on the kitchen table. "It's a secret garden!" Deena cries. "We're making Jersey Shore
history!" Snooki screams. It doesn't make sense, and it doesn't have to. Last Morning
For their final morning in their Italian house, it's a Mimosa Party. Mike volunteers to cook breakfast, but nobody is impressed with his brown-nosing. "He manipulates people," says Snooki to us. "It's like ... we know what you're doing." Mike has a lot more good deeds to do before anyone will trust him. But that doesn't mean they won't let him cook meals.
After they eat, Mike grandly announces that he WILL, in fact, be "goin' to Jersay" next season. Well ... duh. As a celebration (and to break the tension) the girls ask him to show them his six-pack (this feels like their version of an olive branch) and then halfheartedly hoot and holler at his abs. They're less sexy now that we know what a hollow shell they are.
"This isn't real life," Snooki concludes as the gang packs their bags (and she gets her face stuck in the vacuum cleaner). She means that life in Italy isn't real life, and that going back to Jersey will "get things back to normal." She's smirking, and it's hard to tell if that's just her face, or if she realizes the irony of what she's saying. Because, as WE all know, life on reality TV is never "real life." And that's the only life, the unrealistic reality TV life, we've ever seen these people have.
Maybe she means that the show will get "back to normal" in Jersey, and if so, I hope she's right. Though this season in Italy had its moments, mostly thanks to the crazy drunken meatballs, I wouldn't exactly call it a dream vacation. We spent way too much time listening to Mike's lies, rumors and schemes, all of which ended up so repetitive and boring that in the end, even his ROOMMATES decided to shrug them off. Besides Vinny, the only genuine Italian in the group who genuinely appreciated the culture, everyone looks tired and melancholy on their way out of Italy. Maybe they need to get home to their tanning beds, but I'm starting to think they're becoming bored of one another. Hopefully "back to normal" means things will get back to slightly interesting in Jersey next season.
(Images courtesy of MTV)