OK, everyone: before we embark on a journey through the wonder that is Episode 2, I think it would befit us all to re-learn a handy word that most of us probably forgot shortly after showing up drunk for the SATs: "Xenophobia.” Dictionary.com, which William Shakespeare himself used to help write many of his most famous works — including, but not limited to, Season 1 of Jersey Shore — defines xenophobia as "an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange." Remember this word, guidos and guidettes; we'll be seeing it again soon.
Alright! So we pick up right where last we left our heroes: at the fiery gates of
Hell Club Otel, with The Situation rubbing his greasy crotch up against Snooki's legs, and with Deena and Pauly D not-so-gently nibbling on each other's tongues in a disturbing act of clubland intimacy that Pauly later described as "good kissing". Right.
Later in the evening Snooki, having survived countless ill-intentioned grabs and pinches from Greaseball Mike, approached Pauly and politely asked him to "F**k Deena please." Which, I suppose, is what good friends do? — question mark? Anyway, while Pauly seemed mostly game for Snooki's friendly suggestion, there was great hullabaloo about the fact that Deena might have "feelings" — a word that was used with such malice and disgust, I'm surprised it wasn't bleeped out in post-production.
Anyway, after a few more boozy hours, the gang stumbled — quite literally — home. Deena made it a full three feet past the threshold before collapsing into a pile of her own drunken dispair, while JWOWW, bowlegged but resolved, desperately searched for her new apartment's bathroom. See, it was all part of this classy promise that Bowwoww had made to herself to no longer piss on the floors of nightclubs, restaurants, and children's birthday parties; and, so far, she was doing OK. Not great, just OK. And despite Deena's tongue-lust for Pauly, and The Scenario's creep-show machinations on Snooki, each of our beloved guidos settled into his or her separate beds for the night.
The next morning, after being roused by Pauly's can't-get-old-fast-enough Grenade Horn, Deena and Vinny joined their trumpeting friend for a grocery-retrieving excursion in town. As they walked through the lazy, Florentine streets, Vinny couldn't help but marvel at how incredibly picturesque his new home was — "like Beauty and the Beast or some s**t," he thoughtfully observed. The trio eventually found a quaint market, but were quickly discouraged because, unlike at Walmart, Target, or other any of their other favorite, end-of-times box-store wastelands, everything at this Italian grocery store was — shockingly — written in Italian.
After braving the perils of foreign-language dry goods, and suppressing their deepest, darkest xenophobic desires, the gang brought their Sunday shopping home to prepare for that most time-honored of Jersey Shore traditions: Manson Family Dinner. Yes, every Sunday our merry band of misfits ring out their crippling night-before hangovers with a celebratory meal, usually prepared by The Scenario. For this dinner, though (the first on foreign soil), Deena and Sam asked to man the helm — a request that was taken seriously for roughly 13 minutes, until critically-acclaimed Top Chef Sammi Sweatpants mistook a carton of raspberries for "weird strawberry things.” Predictably, the girls soon lost interest in cooking and headed out for an al fresco lunch, and the boys transformed Deena's half-breaded chicken cutlets into the finest Manson Family meal the group had ever eaten.
After dinner Snooki, who had slept until about 7 pm that evening, wobbled over to the telephone to call her Stateside beau, Jionni. Suffice it to say, Snook's fella was less than impressed that the little meatball hadn't bothered calling him the day before. Now, if any of you happened to catch "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel last week, you may have learned that those fearful oceanic predators are able detect even the faintest amount of blood in water — a handy evolutionary skill that enables them to quickly track and kill their vulnerable prey. Like those much-despised man eaters, The Scenario is able to detect the faintest whiff of drama in the air, and exploit it for his own, blood-thirsty means. Hovering over Snooki's international phone call like a black-eyed, hungry Great White, Sitch waited for the perfect opportunity; and, as soon as Snooki put down the telephone receiver, he pounced. Dragging her off to the outdoor patio, Sitch told Snooki that he was glad she came to him for advice (which, uh, she didn't) as he rubbed her knee in the most cringe-worthy way possible. Do you remember when you were a young tot, and your mother warned you to let her know if somebody ever touched you in a way that made you feel at all uncomfortable? Well, the way that Mike rubbed Snooki's leg gave me a sick, run-and-tell-mom feeling in my stomach and honestly, that's really the only way I can describe it.
The next day, Vinny received a completely unexpected, unscripted, and unrehearsed phone call from a man named Marco, who explained that the gang would spend their days in Florence working at his pizza shop. After arriving fashionably late for their orientation, Marco used Snooki to help demonstrate the way to make an authentic Italian pizza, while the rest of the housemates used Snooki to help demonstrate the various ways in which salami and other meaty, phallic pizza toppings can be used to make authentic American sexual innuendos.
After learning the tricks of the pizza trade, the gang retired back their fantastically tasteless home away from home, where Bowwoww attempted to make herself a cup of coffee. If you happened to watch "Monkey Week" on the Primate Channel last week, you may have learned that our distant, jungle-dwelling cousins often use makeshift tools to accomplish menial tasks. Like those simple-minded simians, Bowwoww used anything and everything at her disposal — faux-antique nick-nacks, a garlic press, the Grenade Horn — to accomplish the relatively simple task of grinding coffee beans (hint: go to the grocery store and buy pre-ground, espresso-grade coffee, Einstein). After ultimately settling on a carrot shredder as her preferred method of bean grating, the biggest hurdle standing in Bowwoww's caffeine-craving way was the illusive stove-top espresso maker (the very same espresso maker sold in countless Italian-goods stores in America, and the same one that I can see on my own stove as I type these words) — a mysterious, confounding device that our non-Botoxed beauty xenophobically (see what I did there!) referred to as something from the 1600s. Which like, girl, please — if this was the 17th century, you'd be dead of syphilis, is all I'm sayin'.
Later that night the gang opted out of their usual book-group discussion and, instead, decided to partake in some drunken club-hopping for a change. At a particularly grim establishment called Astor, Mike flirted with a blond Floridian named, naturally, Britney. Meanwhile, Ron wasted no time in getting single-Ron-style intoxicated (like, seriously, "could kill a fleet of healthy elephants"-level intoxicated); and after busting some mad Zumba moves on the dance floor (with, I kid you not, toilet paper stuck to one eyebrow), he started throwing shade at Sam. Which, yay! — it only took 2 episodes for them to fight! Feeling the gale-force winds of a fast-approaching shiz-storm, Sam's gal pals wisely escorted her away from her inebriated ex before things escalated any further. And as the others stumbled home (with gravity making a mockery of the already trip-prone Deena), Mike brought Florida-Britney home for a little what-what. Actually, the "what-what" in question was something that Mike referred to as a "blow-pop;” and though he coyly tried to explain what this entailed, I was too busy puking from the sheer grimness of it all to fully appreciate the sex-act's mechanics — so if you want a detailed blow-pop "how to" guide, you're probably better off just watching that particularly bleak section of the episode for yourself.
Anyway, after throwing Brit out of the apartment in one of his classy, post-coital acts of chivalry, Mike retired to the lanai for a not-so-hard-earned cigarette; there, he was approached by Snooki, who informed him that Florida-Brit was bustaholic which, well, was mostly true. The Scenario somehow misinterpreted Snooki's bitchy female disempowerment as an act of lust, and quickly professed his weird, greasy (and, sorry, totally staged) love for her. Shocked — and yet, not quite horrified enough — Snooki rebuffed Mike's advances. The whole exchange was weird, and grody, and gave me that "run and tell mom" feeling again — times ten.
The next day was pretty low-key: the rest of the housemates wisely begged Sammi Sweatpants to avoid stirring up any Ron-dramz, and Ron and Vinny shared a bro-tastic hot tub together. The next next day, though, Deena awoke to tell her eager housemates how, the night before, Mike tried to jump into bed with her for some late-night smooshing — an unsolicited act which she quickly diffused. Well! — later that day, during a panoramic roof-top brunch (where our cast of travel-savvy brainiacs mistook Florence's Duomo for the Vatican which, by the way, is 180 miles due south), Pauly totally sold Deena out in front of Mike by re-hashing the smoosh-rejection story. Pauly later apologized by giving D a god-awful bracelet, but the whole grizzly affair was just another reminder that the boys of Jersey Shore are about as emotionally evolved as Snooki is tall.
That night, the gang hit up another club where Sam, still high on the fumes of being humiliated by Ron several nights before, confided in Deena that she missed her ex. So, you miss what exactly, Sam? — the way his cheekbone feels against your clenched fist? The way he lovingly destroys all of your personal belongings with the calculated rage of a certified sociopath? Oh, Sammi Sweatpants: you are, and always will be, The Worst. Anyway, Deena desperately tried to talk some sense into Sweatpants, but it was about as successful as Bowwoww's fledgeling barista career. Back at the house, after Mike dialed up BlowPopBritney for another gruesome-twosome tango, Sam slinked up to Ron, who was stuffing his face with a bowl full of balsamic vinegar, and did that Ron-Sam thing that sends this recapper into a Ron-like fit of rage: their patented, whispery baby-talk.
And as the credits began to roll, Sam baby-talk told Ron that she missed him and wanted to cuddle, and Ron's face flushed with a fresh batch of Sam-induced tears. Ron's salty sobs, though, were no match for those of this recapper who, faced with the prospect of another season of Ron/Sam craysanity, finally, officially began to lose his shit.