Screenshot: MTV

In Jersey Shore, Abridged, Jezebel planned to recap the first season, and maybe the entire series, of Jersey Shore in 3 to 5 sentences followed by viewing comprehension questions and therapeutic prompts. An editorial decision was made to jump ahead to the latest season because rewatching the entire series was bad for my brain and heart. 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.

Season 1, Episode 12

Marriage and the contradictions of family weigh heavy on the housemates this week. The easy affection shared between the Situation and his partner is an unfamiliar spectacle in the house, which leaves some of the roommates eager to turn against it, like the body might attack a virus. For Jenni, this manifests as her growing resentment of Mike, who she believes is not showing sufficient gratitude for the work she has put into his pending engagement. “I’m about to ruin someone’s proposal,” Jenni says at dinner, within earshot of both the Situation and Lauren.

For Ronnie, whose self-loathing has come to surpass violent aggression as his defining quality this season, it is fear and jealousy that puts him at a remove from Mike. “I’m a little jealous of Mike’s relationship with Lauren, honestly,” he tells the camera, candid and sober. Later, candid and intoxicated, he weeps openly: “It’s just me. Who the fuck is the right person at this point? I have no idea. I don’t know.”

Paula, Vinny’s mother, comforts Ron, but a warning lies just beneath the surface of her reassurances. “I don’t really believe in getting married,” she says, sagely. “Take your time, nobody is going anywhere.” This is meant to soothe Ron’s anxiety about his relationship with Jen and the challenges fatherhood, but it feels more like a prophecy. Ron, as he no doubt realizes by now, is not going anywhere. He is himself, the same self all these seasons, all these years. “The same crying ass bitch Ronnie,” he tells the camera, still weeping. He stands, hugs a large rubber duck to his chest, and puts himself to bed.

A separate but not unrelated thought: Uncle Nino is the Jacob Marley figure for the men of the house, but it is a lesson most of them will likely not learn in time.

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Comprehension questions: Repeat Ron’s words to yourself: “It’s just me.” Does this feel true to you? Why or why not? Are these words frightening or liberating?