Jersey Shore Episode 2 Recap: The Outcast
While I was watching episode 2 last night, curled up on my couch eating leftover Pad Thai and wishing I had a Forever Lazy to keep me warm, wondering if I could poossibly loathe a single entity more than I despise Sammi (while maintaining my full cultural anthropologist objectivity, of course), the notion of outcasts kept popping up in my head. Historically, tribes have burned, beaten, or even eaten the flesh of the members they cast out, as a form of rititual (I’m making this up but it sounds accurate so let’s roll with it). Do I wish this fate upon Sammi? No (sometimes). But it did prompt me to view this installment of the tribal life of the guidos in a different light.
We begin where we left off, in the wake of the physical altercation that prompted Snooki, the tribe’s consummate nice guy, to get REALLY REAL, reminding Sammi that SHE was the one tried to tell her that her roided out life partner was tonguing every skank in town “YOU DUMB ASS” (on the tribal insult scale I think this follows well below “fake” yet above “b*tch”). To contexualize, let us remember that Sammi is in fact still angry with J.WOWW and Snooki for telling her that her boyfriend was cheating on her by writing an anonymous letter an an internet cafe. (Excerpt “When you left crying, Ron made out with two girls, and put his head between a cocktail waitress’ breasts”). Denial is a river that runs strong through Sammi’s shriveled prune heart.
Snooki deals with the painful aftermath of the fight by a) making more drinks with Deena b) crawling into her suitcase to see if she can fit, and c) falling out of a hammock.
What we see over the course of the episode is the slow and painful distancing of the tribe from Sammi, and subsequently, from her strongest ally, Ronnie. In heartbreaking scenes we watch as Ronnie tries to maintain his ties with the menfolk, including himself in the rituals of Gym, Tan, and Laundry. But Sammi is fearful, and thus unshakable. She follows Ronnie like a shadow, prompting the other females to coin a new phrase for her.
BACKPACK – bak pak – (Noun): A girlfriend who follows her boyfriend everywhere he goes; akin to a stalker, but more familiar.
Usage – “She’s probably Ronnie’s backpack every where he goes in the club, she’s a female backpack.”
Speaking of GTL, the rest of the episode can pretty much be broken down into:
GYM, TAN, LAUNDRY
Every self-respecting member of the tribe particpates in some combination of these rituals daily. These rituals are sacred. These rituals are holy. Much like the Yanyuwa in Northern Territory of Australia used ochre and clay to paint their faces, the guidos use concentrated UV light to darken their skin. Much like the American Indians used yellow to signify mourning, the guidos use orange to signify party time.
Almost every night, the group heads to heads to the “the club,” a holy ground in which the guidos engage in tribal dance ceremonies and mating rituals. The members of the tribe dress themselves in their sparkliest, brightest costumes to attract the opposite sex; the males often wear sunglasses indoor and the females use tools and sprays to enlarge their hair, much like a peacock spreads out its feathers.
The Club is not without its dangers and pitfalls however. Grenades abound, there is always the possibility of encountering a stalker (see Exhibit A, below) and while heavy drinking is integral to the process, it’s a thin line between drunk and passed out in a bush. (See Exhibit B).(Exhibit A, a Stalker in the wild) (Exhibit B, Snooki in a bush)
The end goal for the men of the tribe is to lure home a girl who is marked as DTF, followed by a hasty early morning expulsion after which all ties are severed. If the girl foolishly tries to call the house or speak to them in another club setting, they are clearly marked at “Stalkers” or even “Stage 5 Clingers” and avoided at all costs. (The girls, however, should not bring home multiple males or else they will be branded as “sluts” or “trash dumps”.)(Exhibit C, Duck Phone)
Upon getting home from the club, the males handle whatever DTF refuge they could find, and the females make drunken phone calls. JWOWW calls her boyfriend, only to realize she has forgotten their anniversary. When Tom hangs up on her, Jenni does the only thing she instinctually can: she tries to beat up the evil Duck Phone, harbinger of bad news, portal to the outside world.(see Exhibit C, above).
It should be noted that Sammi and Ronnie stayed home (probably somehow relating to Sammi being a total bitch), so they could engage in Sammi’s preferred activity, laying in bed silently.
Sunday Dinner is an extremely important ceremony in which the entire tribe gathers and discusses pressing tribal issues over a home-cooked meal. It is during Sunday dinner that alliances are formed, differences are squashed, and much chicken cutlet is eaten. In an unprecedented move, Ronnie and Sammi forego Sunday Dinner. They are already in hot water for selfishly absconding with one of the tribe’s vehicles (to go to church of all places) so their absence speaks volumes to the tribe. As Vinnie puts it “I don’t think we’ve ever been separated for Sunday dinner. This is a profound moment.” they have now isolated themselves in the most obvious way. To add insult to injury, when they finally do return and sweet, sweet Pauly D mentions that they missed Sunday dinner, Sammi’s responds in typical odious Sammi-fashion with “I could care less.” The entire tribe rolls their eyes in unison. The casting out has begun.
We see that Ronnie, not fully ready to foresake his tribe, persuades Sammi to join the whole gang for an evening of fun and laughter down at the boardwalk. In a not shocking turn of events, Sammi, the enemy of fun, the deity of despair, the goddess of gloom, the queen of frowns and sadness, does not enjoy herself. She does not go on any rides. She does not smile, not even once. She stands, arms crosses, mouth pinched, caressing her hair and trying to shame Ronnie with her mind. Instead she only succeeds in pissing off the only person she has still on her side.
A FEW WORDS ON SAMMI
Sammi Sweetheart is the architect of her own misery. By foolishly choosing to turn on the girls for trying to tell her the truth about her boyfriend, she shipwrecked herself on the island of no friends. Her lack of girlfriends causes her to cling to Ronnie, who in turn is growing more and more resentful each day. Her stubborn refusal to make nice with the housemates makes them (and everyone in North America with access to cable television) loathe her. With Ronnie close to turning on her and not a friend in sight, Sammi is dangerously close to becoming the next Angelina, the original tribal outcast.
You ARE the weakest link, Sammi. Soon it will be goodbye.
As Pauly D says, “you can’t come in here with a big banana and expect everything to be peaches.”