Sammi: Maybe Vinny’s not the one for you, but somebody out there is. I’ll cuddle with you.
Snooki: He brought somebody home.
Sammi: Gawd, she looked like a fuckin’ rodent.
Like any wildly successful reality television show, Jersey Shore has its fair share of enthusiastic fans and scathing critics. I don’t think this is the great exemplar of reality TV that we’ve been waiting for throughout the last decade, but it’s far from being a total wash. Last night’s episode illustrated one of the high points of this season through its depiction of female friendship.
The ladies of Jersey Shore have been through some rough times together, but ultimately they’re all capable of forgiveness and empathy, even HBIC (that’s “head bitch in charge” for all the grown-ups reading) and self-professed man-eater J WOWW. In this scene, an inebriated Snooki has retired to her leopard-patterned boudoir to lament her spurned affections for Vinny. Former frenemy Sammi (they’ve since reconciled) crawls into bed with Snooki to discuss Vinny’s poor choice of hook-up.
This is the hilarious and frequently under-appreciated Sammi that I love; the Sammi who will unleash her inner Jersey girl to make a friend feel better about an unpleasant situation. Sammi and Snooki are not the closest women in the house, a distinction that probably belongs to Snooki and J WOWW, but Sammi is still willing to console Snooki and offer the kind of moral support that only female friends can provide as they verbally eviscerate your competition.
When we’re constantly accosted by media depictions of women as rivals or frenemies, from the brilliant classics (All About Eve, 1950) to the modern and mundane (Bride Wars, 2009), it’s unexpected and refreshing to see genuine relationships between women. I know that Jersey Shore, like all reality television, is far from being a realistic portrayal of modern society, but even if it’s all artifice, at least its female protagonists are friends. When J WOWW and Sammi finally end their mutual silence in a crowded dance club in Seaside Heights, it feels real. This is what real women do: we fight and gossip about each other until we grow-up and talk it out. We don’t usually stage elaborate revenge plots or reject our friends because their ideas and ambitions are different from ours.
I’m sick of seeing women behave so despicably towards other women, and it’s pretty disheartening that I have to turn to shows like Jersey Shore for depictions of close female friendship. This may, however, present more of an issue in movies than in television since I can think of a few examples of close TV friendships (Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy, Leslie and Ann on Parks and Recreation). Even so, I feel as though a greater effort could be made to incorporate friendships that don’t involve back-stabbing and social-climbing into non-reality shows. Stay tuned!
Just a quick note: many of the shows I’ve been writing about are on spring hiatus for the next few weeks, so most entries during this time will likely be about sitcoms or reality shows that I don’t intend to follow regularly. Who knows, maybe we could even get a nice little film review up in here? XOXO TeleRevision