"Is Vinny back yet? NO...wah!" As we adolescently whined this in the general direction of our MTV picture box, Pauly D trudged to Karma by his lonesome to break the bad news to the rest of the housemates that Vinny had, in fact, fled the castle. One by one, the girls make faces which lead us to believe they're having strokes, but really, they're just in various states of shock, disappointment, and tears with a lot of makeup and false eyelashes on. JWOWW winds up babysitting a subsequently sobbing and dramatic Deena, while managing to judge Pauly's take-home smush of choice with a wry "Well, aren't you pretty?" God, we love this girl.
Vinny arrives home in Staten Island, where his mom welcomes him with the warm, open arms of an Italian mama. That's all we'll see of him...for now.
Snooki and Deena vow to turn their Vinny-related frowns upside down with some early morning day-drinking. Deena finds a pack of gays and discovers the joy of non-sexual male attention. The Meatballs dance like nobody's watching, but, of course, the entire Boardwalk is. They fall down a lot. Deena remains "the sober one." Snooki has to get escorted home by some juicy gays.
But the girls have bigger problems. Like the rat's nest Deena has Jersey Turnpiked her weave into. Yes, little Deena whipped her hair back and forth until she required the assistance of Pauly D to detangle her knots. Snooki could only recommend full-on Britney Spears-in-her-crazy-phase head-shaving at that point, while JWOWW feebly suggested deep conditioning.
In honor of Vinny, Ronnie dedicates his pantswear to his fallen comrade to hit the clubs. No, we aren't talking about a resurgence of the purple pants. He, instead, dons skinny jeans. A fight breaks out at Karma between who really cares. The Unit is there and what? He gets kicked out? Oh noooo—the end.
Pauly D brings home a girl Vinny would like and smushes her in Vinny's bed, in Vinny's honor, as well. These guys sure have a funny way of memorializing their buds.
Back to his old self, Pauly kicks out the tattooed chick immediately post-smush after a warm conversation with the cabbie. The next morning, Ronnie, JWOWW, and The Situation go to work hungover as all get out, but it's totally worth it to watch Danny vuvuzela Jenni in the ear. Some Bosnian chick rolls up at the Shore Store and rouses Mike from his stupor to get The Situation booty shorts, along with putting in a request for grilled cheese in the morning, hold the crust, please. We kind of respect this girl for knowing what she wants, when she wants it, and cutting through the creepy club BS. Is that wrong of us? It will be.
That night, the gang heads to Aztec for Pauly D's 31st Birthday, which he's pseudo-sharing with Mike's 30th Birthday. Yes, for those of you counting, he is one year older than Mike, who appears to be...older. Deena runs into the twin of someone she tongue-wrestled last summer and takes him home. Mike passes the no-nonsense Bosnian off to Pauly so that he can 1 — take credit for getting him smushed on his birthday and 2 — stand around like a skeeze, letting Paula use him as her own personal stripper pole. The Bosnian, once back at the house, winds up getting shipped back to her home (country?) by Pauly D, the world's worst immigration officer, because she wanted to talk at 4am. The nerve of those foreign chicks. He successfully deports her from Shorelandia via cab, but she re-enters to try and get back with Mike! Sammi questions her taste, while Mike sticks with tried and true Paula on his birthday, and reveals he may be going soft for her. And by that we mean the opposite of going soft. Is Sitch ready for a girlfriend?
Paula reveals the extent of just how disturbed she is by announcing that not caring about anything is the way she avoids getting hurt. It's not even a little bit fun to mock. Deena, meanwhile, convinces us that she really is a good girl, even though she looks like a nutcase. Everyone knows a good girl saves her back door virginity for a boyfriend. Duh.
The next morning, Pauly's mom brings the entire state of Rhode Island to the Shore House for Pauly's daytime birthday party. His present is a visit from his home barber. Mike is sad that his family is MIA for his birthday, but SOMETIMES IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU, MIKE.
The girls try to throw the birthday boys a party with some strippers, so they call a pimp? Or some transsexuals? Or possibly the Jersey Turnpike, which Deena apparently has on speed dial? Unclear.
Pauly's famiglia heads to Rivoli’s for a big ol' Eye-talian feast, which Mike leaves early because he's sad this isn't about him. So, to be polite, he passes out on some benches outside the party dining room. Unfortunately, he snores up a storm because he's a classy fella, so the Delvecchios grab some cake frosting and prank away.
Back at home, the girls whip up a cake for Pauly, complete with his likeness drawn on in icing decorations, but, of course, Mike is still sad, because this STILL isn't about him. As his roommates accurately point out, maybe if he hadn't been such a toolshed for four seasons, his birthday would have been celebrated with the same kind of fanfare. Instead, he pouts. JWOWW's eyes almost roll out of her head. The rest of the roommates are royally, epically, officially over it.
And honestly, so are we. Oh, except he did use a condom at one point during the episode, so props to whatever girl taught him how to put one on, because, unfortunately, we're keenly aware of his aversion to them.
No, Vinny's still not back yet, guys. There's always next week. Till then, dear readers.
Watch Jersey Shore on Thursday, January 26 at 10pm ET/PT on MTV.