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Last night’s Jersey Shore episode was aptly titled by the network “Free Vinny.” Not even 30 seconds into the episode and I can’t get Micheal Jackson’s “Free Willy” soundtrack song out of my head, only my mind is singing, “Hold me, like the roommate Vinny, and I will say to thee, you are my friend.” Pathetic, right? Right. I hope it sticks with you as it has with me. :)

So right off the bat, we all know it’s NEVER a good sign if the Shore Store boss shows up at the house. He knows his hair blends in all too well with the house’s “quaint” wood paneling, so usually he tries to stay as far away as possible from that set. It must be dire. It is… with Vinny at home and Mike MIA, there are shifts that need to be covered. Crude words aren’t ironed on to scanty boy shorts all by themselves, dear readers! Boss man Danny is not happy with their work ethic and he threatens to increase his employee base. That means potential new roommates for the gang. Because this show has all of a sudden turned into the Real World.

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A very swollen Mike returns, devastated that his roommates were so callous about his birthday. Admittedly every year he retreats on his big day to see who will make the extra effort to show him love on his special day. In essence, he does exactly what every 13 year old girl 30+ year old man does when his birth’s anniversary rolls around. Snooki is disgusted… doesn’t he know they are planning a huge surprise party for him and Pauly? Oh wait, no he doesn’t. Because it’s — wait for it — a surprise.

Pauly doesn’t like to be lumped in with his roommates as a slack Shore Store employee. He’s working with the meatballs and is genuinely impressed with their sales skills. I guess that is what happens when you don’t nap at work — t-shirts get purchased. After work, the trio goes to get some airbrushed tattoos. Klassy! Back at the house, Deena calls Vinny to see if he’s going to come to the birthday shindig. He’s not coming and Deena fills him in on the fact he’ll be replaced by Danny if he doesn’t come back pronto. The ladies converse with him, but know he’s where he needs to be right now.

The meatballs want Pauly D to teach them how to “walk hard” but duh, you can’t teach swagger. Thanks for the life lesson, Pauly! The girls are going to find strippers to perform at the party. So basically, the girls want Mike and Pauly D handcuffed to wheelchairs while being lap danced on (is that a verb conjugation? No. No, it’s not.) by said strippers. Offensive much?

Jenni arrives for work, punctual as ever (and awake!) but Mike and Ronnie are running late. Danny dramatically staple guns pieces of copy paper with the words “Help Wanted. See Manager!!!” written in 48 point Times New Roman over a large boy short display. Holy heck, Danny means business. Within 15 seconds, several fame whores hard working retail aficionados wearing the typical job interview attire of string bikinis, fedoras and a smile apply for the gig. JWoww channels her inner Norma Rae and yanks down the sign, stopping any potential hussies co-workers and roommates from raining on her parade. As punishment, Danny makes Jenni write up a new sign in “After I have sex with I guy I rip their heads off” font. It’s much prettier.

The meatballs are tasked with purchasing favors for the party. There is an awkward scene involving giant bunny heads. I refuse to elaborate. Jenni’s boyfriend arrives for the party and Mike waxes poetic about wanting to bring home a girl after clubbing. A dirty tan Sammi loves that he has no clue he’s going to be walking into a birthday bash. Both guys are genuinely surprised when they walk into the clerb to a surprise party. The cakes are priceless… Pauly’s is a nipple, Mike’s is a thong-wearing a$$. Should the girls maybe get their own party planning show on the WE network?

At the Karma bash, Pauly and Mike are securely handcuffed into their wheelchairs. Stripping ensues. Spanking of those who are stripping ensues. After being released, Mike spends his time being licked up the abs by a stripper while Pauly clearly has beer goggles. He takes home his “hot brunette” as Mike stumbles home with his stripper who blatantly makes fun of the socks he gives her to sleep in — someone remind me again why the stripper needs to sleep in socks?

Deena and Rawn are late night drunk dialing Vinny, which leads to them both late night crying in the confessional booth, and then (because why stop a good thing?) late night crying on the deck. After birthday sex, Pauly sends his lady love out into the night. I’m assuming he called her a cab as we all know he’s quite the gentleman. Mike doesn’t play by the shore smush rules and lets the stripper spend the night, but he promptly calls her a taxi by the light of day.

Deena wants to do a couple’s night. Only problem? She’s not part of a couple. She calls up Rawn’s friend and after an awkward exchange, she’s thrilled to have “a date!” If I had a copy of The Rules, I’d prop it up in front of my television and pray for technology osmosis. Too late, the meatballs have seen my ADD and raised it frightening bunny costumes. Jionni comes over with flowers — long-stemmed so he deserves sex immediately, not just a verbal thank you. Long-stemmed flower arrangements cost more, so that makes total sense. Someone please enlighten me as to where I can mail the plethora of fitted sheets I’ve acquired to the shore house so I no longer have to witness overly tan people hooking up on a bare mattress. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The non-smushing roommates head out, complete with Deena in fairy wings. The group has a drink in honor of Vinny. Within seconds, Pauly is excited to see a chick fight… but oh, wait! It’s Sam. Someone pulled her new weave and she’s ejected from the clerb. Sam was always taught, and I quote, “to self defend myself” and the roommates head home. Sam’s make-up is smeared down her face, but good gosh, she self defended herself and really, at the end of the day, isn’t that all any of us can do?

Deena is smushing with her “date,” but she keeps getting deterred by an overzealous alarm clock. Even unplugged it haunts the couple with its incessant beeping. All she wants is to do is sex people! Is that too much to ask? The following morning, Sitch gets a cab for his sex buddy Paula. He can’t find a thing wrong with her. Can she honestly say the same? He and Snooks have a heart-to-heart about his potential new girlfriend. Dare I say Mike is giddy?

Vin’s absence is affecting the roommates. Solution? Operation kidnap Vinny! Oh man, I’ve waited all episode for this scheme! Goin’ to Staten Island. Oh yeah! Cabs ah heeya! Before embarking on said felony, the roommates must make a quick stop at the Shore Store to make t-shirts emblazoned with Vin-like sayings. GTGVB. Gym, tan, get Vinny back. I’ll buy that shirt. The gang arrives at casa de Vinny, but — shocker! — no one seems to be home. I am assuming someone answered the door, because as the troop traipses through the house there are strange middle-aged women watching from different vantage points. The mob focuses in on Vin’s childhood bedroom. Jackpot! Vinny is super excited and shows off his new and very large and obnoxious “Let Go, Let God” tattoo. It’s one of my go-to phrases, so clearly I’m thinking we’re kindred. Rawn, however, is thinking, um, what does that mean? Vin’s done his soul searching and is ready to be taken back to the beach. All is right with the world.

Next time, Snooks has a pregnancy scare? Maybe? Or maybe she just likes wearing that freakish bunny costume? Mike is on his best behavior which leads his roommates to wonder what he’s up to…as clearly a nice Mike is a manipulative Mike.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE? THOUGHTS ON THE SURPRISE PARTY? ARE YOU AS GROSSED OUT BY THE SMUSH ROOM AS I AM? ARE YOU GLAD VINNY’S BACK? DID YOU SECRETLY WANT SOME NEW ROOMMATES?

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