Monday, 14 February 2011
So, anyone who's watched this week's Jersey Shore episode is bound to have come out of it with high, mostly negative emotions. Sammi and Ronnie, the show's bickering couple, finally hit rock bottom, having one of the most violent fights ever seen on reality TV, leaving their relationship and Sammi's stuff (not to mention heart and self esteem) broken. See the video of it up above.
These two have been stuck in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship since season 1. Time has only made it worse. In first season, Sammi was way too insecure and applied a double standard to their relationship (she can flirt with a guy casually, but he must never dance or talk to another girl) - more likely than not, she was young, in her first serious relationship, and didn't know how to handle her insecurities and fears. For his part, Ron was ever the faithful boyfriend, never cheating on her and almost always having her back. The only signs of violence he showed were towards other people. Pushing Sammi away from him was the extent of the abuse on his side.
Come season 2, these two were broken up, and Ronnie used that as an excuse to continuously go out, get drunk, hook up with girls, and then come home and have sex with Sammi, who was in the dark about his "extra-curricular" activities. When the truth (sort of) came out in a round-about way, she directed her anger towards the people who told her, got mad at everyone, and eventually ended up going back to Ronnie, who by this time had just started to introduce the words "psycho, bitch" into their conversations and defended his actions with the age old excuse: "I was single!" (though Ross was more adorable, and much less offensive saying it). Sammi's games this season were minimal, and nothing serious.
Somehow, after all of that lying and cheating (apparently he didn't fess up to anything until he absolutely had to), they somehow were still together coming into the house in season 3, but as the Miami episodes started airing, throwing Ronnie's cheating ways back into Sam's face, coupled with some serious "beef" she had with her ex-friends over Ron, their fights got worse. This time around, it seems, Ronnie was not holding back with the words, calling her the most horrendous names in the book. She finally snapped one night and punched him in the face. SOMEHOW, they still got back together after she asked him for a second chance... "after I've given you so many", in her words.
But lo and behold, they ended up breaking up the next episode, and verbal abuse reached its height this week when Sammi acted out, Ronnie left no stone unturned, and ended up destroying ALL of her things. I have to tell you, as someone who's been in screaming fights like that - where you just want to keep on going, screaming, not really knowing why, just to make yourself heard, but also want it to all stop and get better at the same time - I sympathise, mostly with Sammi. Besides the first season, she has been pretty good to Ronnie, who started treating her like shit sometime after the reunion episode in the first season.
Sure, she can be petty and a little bitchy, but that's what Jersey Shore is about - everyone there is an ass in some way or another. However, their relationship had become too codependent - isolating yourself is never a good idea and adds stress to the relationship - been there, done that. Not to mention, Sammi has self-esteem issues, and being as young as she was when they started dating (21), she probably had no idea that being "you're nothing without me" is abusive.
Insulting? Sure. Abusive? Most girls that age wouldn't automatically make that connection. I've seen my own relationship go from bad to worse with someone who I thought was the love of my life. When you love someone so deeply and it's your first love - nothing makes sense when it goes awry. You say and do some really messed up things and go to lengths you never thought you would in your right mind. This is what has happened to Sam and Ron.
I can give Ronnie a free pass for acting in the moment - sometimes, rationality escapes you when you feel like your whole world is crashing down. But then, what do we make of the "After Hours" and "Hook-Up" interviews? In the latter, Ronnie explicitly states that he doesn't at all regret trashing Sammi's stuff and saying all of those things to her. His words? "She deserved it!". What's even more appalling is that his cast mates, and even MTV, seem to be tolerating... even approving of this and enabling his behaviour.
When everyone in the house knows what happened was wrong, and clearly a sign of domestic abuse, not one of them said "boo" to Ronnie either on the show, or later in the interview when they were asked if they thought Ronnie had done something wrong. Their response? "I don't know, man. ". Everyone seems to be afraid of the abuser, and MTV has done nothing to reprimand him. This is especially hypocritical coming from a network that ran PSAs after Snooki got punched in the face. Where's the PSA now, MTV? Are you really not going to bother telling your YOUNG viewers that being in relationships like this is "wrong" and if you need help, to call the kids helpline?
Shockingly, their after-show specials seem to make Ronnie out to be the martyr who only did what he did because of Sammi, essentially relieving him of any responsibility. The tolerance of Ronnie's behaviour (and even Sammi's because they never ran a PSA when she punched him in the face, either!) is what alarms me, his lack of remorse being the other thing. Sammi has publicly apologised for hitting Ronnie. He has yet to show any signs of regret, much less an apology to the woman he claims to love "more than anything".
One thing's for sure, though: I never thought Jersey Shore would become an educational PSA about domestic abuse! What a long way we've come.
What do you think, readers? What would you do if your friends was in a situation like this (or yourself)? Have you ever been in a relationship similar to his? Is MTV justified in lauding Ronnie as a hero for "having to deal with a crazy girlfriend?"