Sometimes television shows are forced to slow things down a bit with what's commonly referred to as a "place-setting episode."
This is the term for an installment in which not a whole lot happens, but the stage is set for major drama to come.
It's generally a convention of scripted dramas, but occasionally even reality shows have to lull us into a false sense of security before stabbing us in the belly with the guido equivalent of the Red Wedding:
Yes, Angelina Pivarnick made her not-at-all-awaited return to the world of Jersey Shore last night as part of Pauly D's "kamikaze" prank war on his roommates.
You almost have to respect a guy who's willing to ruin his vacation just so he can enjoy the pained expressions on his friends' faces. Almost.
Anyway, Pauly was probably motivated less by his desire to reign supreme as the prank war champion and more by prompts from the show's producers, so "Jolie" is back in the presence of people who can't stand her and are often quick to violence.
Two quick observations about Angelina's return to the show:
1. How hilariously staged and scripted was the scene where she first walks through the door?
Like, Mike's reaction was probably legit, but the version of Angie's swaggy entrance that we wound up was clearly the result of a few dozen takes.
2. Angelina is looking pretty good these days, right?
Sure, she still dresses like she should be serving Tony Soprano a Glenlivet at Bada-Bing, but she seems to have taken care of herself.
Anyway, the timing couldn't have been weirder, as Pauly extended the invitation to Angelina during what was supposed to be a guys-only weekend.
It's almost like the powers that be surveyed the situation, realized that the guys' weekend was just as boring as the girls' visit home and decided to take action.
Yes, you may have noticed that we skipped straight to the last five minutes of the episode in this recap, but what came before the return of Angelina was easily the driest assemblage of loosely-connected scenes Shore has ever offered up.
The girls visited their kids.
The guys yelled about t-shirts and returned to the club where everyone is half their age.
Ronnie didn't cheat on his pregnant girlfriend, and Vinny wasn't overly-friendly with any cocktail waitresses.
Pauly hooked up with a pseud-Sammi-lookalike, and Ron got mildly pissed about it, but that was about it in terms of drama.
Like we said, sometimes a slower episode is needed in order to pave the way for future installments.
But after last night's snail-paced affair, we better be in for an old-school Snooki vs. Angelina throwdown next week.
Watch Jersey Shore online in order to get caught up on this season's slightly uneven offerings.