Screenshot: MTV

In Jersey Shore, Abridged, Jezebel will be recapping the first season, and maybe the entire series, of Jersey Shore in 3 to 5 sentences followed by viewing comprehension questions and therapeutic prompts. This series is in honor of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation and me, for my decision to watch and appreciate Jersey Shore for the first time. Please enjoy.

Season 1, Episode 8

A bad smell haunts the shore house, the product of another of the Situation’s pranks. The offending mix of cheese and milk is eventually removed from under Vinny’s bed, but there remains something rotten in the house. (It is their relationships.) An emotional climax comes as Ronnie, Vinny, and the Situation air out grievances. “You don’t know me, you don’t know me,” the Situation tells them, voice tight, inching close to something true without quite realizing it. “Neither does he know me neither.” Despite all of their claims of family, he says, it has only been 27 days. This deeper estrangement that masquerades as intimacy is the problem of the house. And so much of life, of course. Ron is arrested after assaulting a man on the boardwalk.

Comprehension questions: What does it mean to know someone? What does it mean to be known? How does it feel to be unknowable?


Season 1, Episode 9

Rejection fuels the season finale: Staring down his last nights at the shore, the Situation moves through a rolodex of women who have largely forgotten him. This is treated as a joke, but it is a rebuke of his abhorrent misogyny. Snooki is rejected by Keith, the dumb man in the tank top. She goes to the boardwalk to dance, only to be rejected again by an ex-boyfriend who treats her with disdain. Increasingly isolated from those around them, the housemates draw deeper into one another. On the final night, they reminisce, recounting fights and traumas with a laugh. “I want this thing forever, this right here,” the Situation says, to the agreement of the group. This is bunker mentality, an aggrieved kind of identification, and it is the foundation upon which five more seasons will be built.

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Comprehension questions: What ideas and self-conceptions protect you? What stories have you told yourself to preserve them?