Now that Jersey Shore Family Vacation is wrapped up, there are only three words left echoing in the background: Prank War Champion. And you can thank Pauly DelVecchio AKA reality TV’s own DJ Pauly D for my migraine headache, spouting the phrase roughly 40 times an episode. In last night’s season finale, “The Last Supper,” Pauly pat himself on the back for being the ultimate Prank War CHAMPION because he dialed up Angelina Pivarnick for an impromptu visit. And look, I’ve been talking about this extensively in my Jersey Shore recaps week-to-week, but I need to say it one more time for the people in the back: inviting Angelina to the house was not a prank, and I want his title revoked.
Let’s look back on the OG Jersey Shore pranks.
This doesn’t mean that once upon a time he didn’t pull some inspired practical jokes, although when I think about Pauly D’s greatest hits, they’re usually collabs with his life partner and lover, Vinny Guadagnino. No one can forget Operation Inside Out, a scheme in which the boys switched all the inside furniture with the outside furniture. From the moment you see Vinny and Pauly in the kiddie pool donning primary color hued scuba wear, you know how much care and thought was put into this. They could’ve thrown mattresses to the wind in true Ortiz-Magro-esque fashion. Instead, Vinny and Pauly executed the prank delicately, like mischievous elves. Seeing Jenni “JWoww” Farley‘s stilettos lined up meticulously is a comedic power punch, and when Ronnie pulls out a pillow from the hot tub? Genius.
Another one for the books was when Vinny and Pauly decided to replace pictures of Deena Cortese and her boyfriend with their own recreations. “The pictures are all she has of Chris when he’s not in this house, so if we remove those pictures and put our pictures she’s going to be super pissed,” Pauly explained, lightly sadistic about the whole thing. And yet you can’t get angry at him because there a high level of commitment when it comes to recreating those photos. That’s not to say that Vinny and Pauly’s natural romantic chemistry helped the situation, but damn, those poses were on point. These are practical jokes worth of a Prank War Champion, something smart and uncovoluted with attention to detail.
Now compare this with Angelina returning to Jersey Shore Family Vacation.
Cut to, modern day, and Pauly is a little bit worse for wear. Sure, he’s a gazillionaire and DJing all over the country. Yeah, he gets to spend a month in a luxury estate surrounded by his close friends and castmates. But homeboy’s dialogue is limited to three catchphrases (including the new, fresh-the-first-thousand-times “Wake up, Keto Guido“) and his blow-out has been untouched by time. And in the throwback-y named “Umm, Hello” episode, he decides the house is getting way too peaceful and he needs to pull the best prank OF ALL TIME: bring back the series villain Angelina and tell no one. Except for, um, half the house.
So first I need to state what we’re all thinking, which is that there is no way on Earth Pauly D came up with this idea organically. No. F–king. Way. Angelina, Pauly, and just about any of these characters are now being managed by agents or whatever, right? They’ve long been on that weird level of fame where you need to go through Their People to book an appearance at WaWa, let alone a TV show. So I’m sorry, logistically speaking, I don’t think Pauly had Angelina’s phone number at hand, let alone would he able able to just call her up and be like, “Let’s hang!” This was orchestrated probably months in an advance by MTV, and Pauly’s involvement was most likely a producer handing him the duck phone and being like, “You get to be the instigator!”
But let’s say that this show isn’t scripted inch-by-inch and this was earnestly Pauly’s original concept. If it is, then I think I’m even a bit more disappointed, because besides from there being no motive (it’s like secondhand revenge on The Situation, if that) there’s no real artistry or even effort applied. The prank is literally, “Invite someone to our house who shouldn’t be at our house.” And once it does happen, all it breeds is a certain level of discomfort and no easy way to clean up the mess, so to speak. Pauly ends up doing acrobatics and chirping “Awk-ward!” like he’s in a 1980s teen comedy, and it’s really code for, “I didn’t think this through, I didn’t think I would end up pranking myself.”
…which he also pretty much says verbatim. In any case, if Pauly really didn’t think this lazy prank through and consider how to get Angie out in the end, that’s just bad planning.
So yeah, Pauly might want to rethink that “Prank War Champion” claim.
To be fair, this is one of the more harmless offenses the Jersey Shore cast committed this season. I’m still beyond horrified of when Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi gave a college student too much to drink on purpose or when Ronnie did…anything. Some of you may even be willing to argue that Pauly delivered a sizable shockwave when he delivered the Sammi Doll to Miami (to which I’m gonna loop back to the “yeah, but there’s no way that wasn’t scripted” counterargument). Still, it just bears repeating that Pauly isn’t still Prank War Champion just because nobody came up to the plate and challenged him…if he was even Prank War Champion to begin with. And not for anything, but he might want to start planning if he hopes to hold onto that title in Season 2. Vegas is your turf, son, so you better step up your game.