It seems inconceivable that the Jersey Shore cast could possibly hate Florence so much. Sure, none of them really speak Italian. Sure, it's impossible to get a decent tan. Sure, Snooki killed a cop. But we have to keep some perspective here, viewers. These people were flown out to one of the great old cities of the Western World, were given a lavish villa with a fizzy hot tub and a pigeon-friendly smoker's porch, were expressly instructed by their MTV overseers to do nothing but have fun, fun, fun, fun. And yet, as we consider the penultimate episode of this season, we have to reach one simple, scientific conclusion: Fun is what they are not having.
After some early luck with the Low Self-Esteem Twins, the local population has proven immune to the cast's smushworthy charms. The housemates have, slowly but surely, turned away from the outside world. Like an aging family of aristocrats fearful of the changing world outside, they've been forced to huddle together in semi-incestuous pansexuality. Deena and Snooki tried to strangle each other with their tongues. Pauly and Vinny have declared their eternal love-bond. J-Woww and Sammi have become friends, and Sammi and Ronnie have somehow maintained a healthy relationship for weeks now. When you consider the general animosity between those three people in season 3, the only possible conclusion is that they have decided to make peace before the world comes to an end.
This whole weird fourth season doesn't seem to have been too fun for the viewers, either. Ratings have declined pretty steadily since the anti-climactic Sitch/Ronnie scuffle. MTV appears to be cutting their losses, ending the season with next week's 12th episode. (Seasons 2 and 3 both had 13 episodes.) When the gang celebrated their last Sunday dinner on last night's episode, Pauly D tried gamely to put a happy spin on their Florentine misadventure: "I had some of the best days of my life out here." Absolutely no one agreed with those sentiments. Vinny summed up the general feeling: "I'm glad we're leaving."
There's a real sense that the cast of Jersey Shore tried to defeat Florence. And they lost. Just look at how Deena and Snooki decided to spend their last Saturday morning in the city: Dancing on the top of an empty bar at 11 AM. Deena taught a local girl how to Jersey Turnpike. The local girl looked terrified. It was like watching the last survivor of a dying alien race try to teach a human captive how to speak the alien language, except that all of the alien language's vowel sounds involved cuca flashing. "We're not gonna half-ass this!" screamed the Meatballs. "We're gonna drink all day, we're gonna drink all night!"
That turned out to be a conservative estimate. Team Meatball was on a tear; when everyone else wanted to go home, they insisted on keeping the party going at Central. But the natives were restless. Some young Italian lads started dancing all up on Shnookums, which she didn't appreciate. "Back up! Don't touch me!" she screamed. The Meatballs fled to the bar seeking sanctuary. The bartender threw ice at them. "Oh, cause that was mature!" said Snooki, who proceeded to maturely push every bottle off the bar. She to be carried away by a man in a black T-shirt, her four orange limbs writhing in the air, like an orange overturned turtle.
NEXT: A family recipe for an old-fashioned Cuca Burn