Last night, a special episode of Jersey Shore aired before the VMAs as a special reminder to everyone that despite the pomp and circumstance and moon men, MTV is not about music videos anymore; it’s about watching shameless goons pummel and do each other. Does the ‘M’ technically stand for ‘masochism’ yet?

OK, maybe I’m a little bitter. But, like Ronnie to Sammi, you’ve been playing me like a fool, MTV. You know what I’m talking about. The fight that you’ve been promoting for weeks (think about how sick that is for a second) between Ronnie and The Situation? I trusted you. I expected a brawl; a battle; a blitzkrieg of juiced up pecs and guns. And this whole time, it turns out you were lying by omission. It was never Ronnie’s fist that sent Mike to the hospital that dark and drunken night in Florence. In a moment of unbridled rage, distilled through his constant stupidity, Mike smashed his own head into his own bedroom wall, and that’s how he ended up in the hospital. I would laugh (and laugh and laugh and laaaaugh) if I didn’t feel so betrayed.

Even Mike’s Shakespearean death-scene face can’t cheer me up:

“It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Sure, the “fight” continued after Mike headbutted the red stucco, but it quickly devolved from Ronnie and Mike brawling on the bed (like men) to Ronnie and Mike pinned down separately by two HUGE MTV security guards, because I guess a producer had decided that was enough fight-footage for the day; they’d pick it up again tomorrow. Sammi continued to yell, “STAHHHP! STAHHHHP!” which only aggravated the men, and me, more, but they’d been stalemated. Ronnie helplessly bellowed spiteful threats at Mike while being hugged to death by the big, burly guard. Mike celebrated that there was “no scrap” [sic] on his “pretty face.”

After the guards left to shower off, each boy was banished to a separate room of the house, from which they yelled the same uncreative insults at each other, back and forth, seemingly forever. All in all, it was a decidedly anticlimactic, vaguely homoerotic affair that began in misdirected spite and ended with no lesson whatsoever, unless “Mike’s vanity supercedes all” is some sort of lesson.

And speaking of learning nothing: Sammi still thinks the best way to help Ronnie cool off after a fight is to get her tortured, pinched, mascara-streaked face up in his and scream, “WHY ARE YOU MAD AT ME? STAAHHHAHHHHAHHHHHHPPPPPP IIIIIIT!” Jenni tried to tell her to leave the bull alone and stop poking at him with her Neediness Stick, but all that did was give Sammi more motivation to prove that she singlehandedly could calm down Ronnie — because everyone knows the best way to relax a raged-up guido is to get in his personal space, accuse him of emotional betrayal and refuse even his most simple requests, like, “STOP TALKING TO ME. GET OUT OF MY FACE.” He finally gets her to leave by giving her the insult she’s been begging for: “You’re not worth anything to me! I’ve been calling girls since I’ve been here!”

After that pathetic display, Pauly concludes that neither guy can actually fight, and that Mike “tried to commit suicide by hitting his head against the wall because he was sick of dealing with the Ron and Sam bullsh*t.” If we’re sick of them and their castmates are sick of them, why have these two not been fired yet? Oh right, because the world makes no sense (as further evidenced by everything that happened at the VMAs last night).

Mike feels more disoriented than usual, so they convince him to go to the hospital to get his head checked. Unfortunately, he might have a concussion. On the plus side, he can now cite brain damage when he does something stupid (that he would have done anyway).

Sammi “Sh*t-Stirrer”

Sammi gets upset that Jenni is successfully talking to Ron when she couldn’t. All she ever wanted was to be the Ron Whisperer. Jenni literally begs and pleads for Sammi to leave them alone, so of course Sammi goes on a crying, screaming tirade about how Ronnie is constantly abusing her. Like a newborn, she cries until she exhausts herself and then goes to sleep.

Ronnie finally realizes that he may have overdone it, but he and Jenni agree that if anyone deserved to get concussed, it was Mike.

Ronnie goes on apology rounds to the rest of the roommates while Mike is at the hospital. He claims that he loves Sammi “more than he loves himself,” which is why they can’t go two days without ripping each other’s souls apart. Sammi demands to know about “the girl” he’s been calling. “Everything he says is complete bullsh*t” and she’s done with him forever, Sammi proclaims for the 500th time.

Ronnie decides the best thing he can do now is to go home. YES. PLEASE. LEAVE. FOREVER! That’s me talking. Unfortunately, Ronnie can’t hear me. He can only hear Vinny, who convinces Ronnie to stay despite the fact that (or because?) he is the cause of so much conflict and pain. In real life, that would be a great reason to give up and get out. In reality TV, that’s called making yourself indispensable.

A Pain in the Neck

Mike comes back from the hospital in a neck brace and tells the group his diagnosis: “A little head trauma, a little sprain, a little of this, a little of that.” He’s upset that the injury will keep him from his “GTL” for the next few days.

It’s too bad that milking it doesn’t count as a workout.

The next day, after apologizing to Mike by violently shaking his shoulder (which is attached to his injured neck…) Ronnie leaves to spend the day alone with his “thoughts.” At the gym. The haven for all deep thinking.

The other roommates unite in how much they hate Ronnie and Sammi’s disgusting relationship. “What comes to mind when I think about Ronnie and Sam is, like, me throwing up,” says Pauly. They meet up with Ron (minus Sam and Mike) and talk about the fight some more. They try their best to make Ron see that he and Sam should never be in a relationship again. But he can’t help himself! “You really can’t help who you love,” he says. Everyone just rolls their eyes and shrugs. There’s a fine line between romantic and psychotic, and Ron crossed that line about two seasons ago.

Sammi goes in and wakes up Mike to apologize to him. Poke. “I apologize.” Poke, poke. “Did you hear me? Are you OK? I’m sorry.” He doesn’t want her apology, but he does wish that the other roommates would show more compassion for him and his self-inflicted injury. “I feel alienated a little bit.” He sits down, all alone in the house while everyone else is out G’ing and T’ing and L’ing without him, and cries into his daytime sunglasses.

mike-crying-jsep5.jpgHe decides to lay it on extra-thick when everyone gets home, and Jenni says, “I feel like he’s doing an insurance claim right now.” Not like he needs to — he probably made about $20,000 just by being on camera during the fight.

Everyone else gets ready to go out for the night, and Mike, probably high on painkillers, admits to Ronnie that he slammed his head into the wall to avoid getting punched in the face. That’s Mike’s way of breaking the ice, so once they’re laughing about how stupid he is, he apologizes to Ron and everything seems resolved between them. At least on the surface.

Girls’ Night Out Vs. Boys’ Night Out

Snooki, Jenni, Deena and Sammi take a break from the testosterone and go out on their own. The other girls give Sammi a pep talk and she decides to “work on herself.” They bond over drinks at a quiet restaurant, the very picture of feminine reason and restraint.

Meanwhile, Ronnie’s out with the boys (minus Mike) working on HIMself, by getting black-out drunk at the club. Pauly inadvertently starts what seems like the 8th fight of the episode, this one with a random Italian guy who thinks Pauly’s dancing with his girl. “You’re in the streets of Florence!” the guy screams at him. But they’re not in the streets, they’re in the club, so the bouncers diffuse the confrontation before it goes too far.

And I was just kidding about the whole “feminine restraint” thing. The girls come back wasted from their dinner and Jenni screams, “Who wants to get naked and spraytanned?” Deena: “I’ve been naked this whole trip!”

Snooki goes to Mike and makes amends. She was mad at him for spreading rumors that they did it, but when she saw him on the stretcher, she realized how much she cared. She couldn’t find the sentiment on a greeting card, so she just comes out and says it in person: “I thought you were dying. A**hole.” Then she gives him good advice: Go to the club in the neck brace and work the Florence Nightingale angle. But he should maybe come up with a better story for the injury first.

Every Rose Has Its Scorn

Drunk Ronnie almost brings home a grenade, but at the last minute he decides he’d rather surprise Sammi with roses … that he hopes will MAKE HER FEEL LIKE SH*T! “Let me be an adult, and show her: you’re the a**hole, I’m not the a**hole anymore,” he says, clearly with no idea how spiteful and childish that sounds. Very adult.

He gives her the flowers and she asks, “Are these for somebody else? Did you bring home another girl?” because his way of “giving someone flowers” is to hand them to her and then sulk off. Sammi’s pissed that Ronnie managed to turn flowers into an insult; Ronnie’s pissed that Sammi is ungrateful for another one of his manipulative, guilt-soaked “gifts.” He takes them back and throws them away; she picks them up out of the garbage and puts them in a pasta pot.

So we’re right back where we started, except slightly worse and more literally so: Sam and Ron are engaged in a war of the roses, Mike’s a pain in the neck and everyone else is sick of them hogging all the airtime causing so much DRAH-muh.

If they’re never going to go out and take advantage of the sites and fun side of Florence, it seems like MTV could have saved on airfare and just locked up the whole lot of them in prison together. Maybe go for a sort of a “scared straight!” angle. The storylines would probably have ended up the same in prison, anyway. The walls are concrete and the people are angry and miserable there, too.

(Images courtesy of MTV)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.