Jersey Shore Review: “Toxic Shots Syndrome/Blues, Balls And Brawls” (Season 6, Episodes 3&4)

A lot of last week’s episodes dealt with The Situation’s sobriety, his struggles and his triumphs. This was a surprising turn for the show, giving Jersey Shore the much needed human aspect it needed. It’s hard to be sympathetic for machines that drink, fight, screw and repeat, but this season has turned out differently so far. With Snooki pregnant, Mike recovering, and everybody else growing up, it’s surprisingly easier to care about the cast, and not ironically.

The first of tonight’s two episodes (what’s up with all the double billings?) gives us a glimpse of Snooki’s new shore house, nestled right up against the original one. Mike goes to the doctor to receive a shot to help his recovery, but it makes him walk like a turtle who had a stroke. Since it’s his first day at work, it means he’s even more useless than usual, even with Danny busting his chops the whole shift. The jokes get to him, and he goes back to the shore house before his shift ends,  but Vinny talks him down and saves the day yet again.

Deena gets ready for a date night with her boyfriend, who happens to actually be a nice guy (despite her creepy obsession with him). Back at the house, Mike is waiting for Paula to arrive, and Jenni questions him on whether they’re dating or not. Good question, since nobody really knows. It seems like they really do love each other, but Mike stubbornly refuses to go off the market for her.

The next day at work, Deena is looking miserable and throwing up everywhere. Pregnancy jokes abound, but since Snooki proved it’s a lot easier than it looks, it’s not quite as funny. She thinks she might have Toxic Shot Syndrome (which is just a mouthful for her to say….Toxshic Shockzyndroms), and Jenni helps to freak her out about it. When she calls home to talk to her mom, Deena has a meltdown about Chris, and despite her mother’s sound advice, she continues to freak out about nothing in particular. Sam jumps in to help, and she agrees to try and take Snooki’s place as Meatball #2.

But while Sam is helping Deena out, Ron is pacing around getting pissed about being late to dinner with Sam. Same fight, different day for the loving couple. At the restaurant, they discuss Deena’s creepy obsession with Chris. And for having reservations, that place is dead empty. Meanwhile, Jionni comes to visit Snooki and takes her out to dinner as well. Wedding plans and births are discussed, and their new found semi-maturity comes out as they just enjoy each others company (cue cheesy montage).

The rest of the group heads to the bar for a more relaxed night, which leads to karaoke night and Mike’s rendition of Amy Winehouse’sRehab. Everybody’s worried about how touchy he’ll be about it, but he takes it like a champ and everybody has a great time, ending with one of those corny “friends being friends” montages. There have been a lot of those lately, but they do fit the new tone pretty perfectly.

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