BANTER WITH BEN AND LISA: Paris, Marathons, and the Olive Garden

Banter with Ben and Lisa is back! We had a little hiatus for various personal scheduling conflicts, but I’m happy to announce that the podcast is back on track. On this week’s episode, we discuss a wide variety of topics, starting with my recent trip to France, Lisa’s training for the LA marathon, and all the scuttlebutt surrounding a giant boulder being shipped into Los Angeles. Plus, we discuss Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty and her Olive Garden review, and we also take on Snooki, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Shia Labeouf, among others. Take a listen!

And remember you can listen to Banter with Ben and Lisa on the Sideshow Network, and you can subscribe on iTunes here.

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JERSEY SHORE PHOTOCAP: Snooki Desperately Seeks Rock Bottom, Not There Yet


I haven’t posted about the Jersey Shore kids in a few weeks, but I can assure you that you’ve missed nothing. Sure, there was a car accident, and sure there were sapphic moments aplenty, but all in all, this season has been a little dull. I think it’s time to send this bunch of hooligans back to Jersey; I can’t imagine that Italy would complain. Over the past two weeks alone, these kids have been so embarrassing that I’m sure right now the Italians are saying, “You know, that Amanda Knox ain’t so bad.”

At the center of all the boozy activity has been Snooki. Two episodes ago, she and Deena went on a brutal bender that had them falling into bushes, dancing out of their britches, flashing their vags, and crawling into bed together for some “Lez-be-honest” activity, as Pauly D would say. They were a total mess, and I couldn’t fault the rest of the cast for being fed up with them. Side note: amidst this drunkenness, I did enjoy Pauly D taking a moment to observe that Ronnie always tries to steal his shtick (swagger jacking, or “swacking”). I’ve noticed this for a while now, and I wondered if I had been the only one. Apparently not. Reason #347 why Ronnie sucks.

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Oh lucky us: we the TV viewers nabbed two episodes of Jersey Shore this week, and guess what? They all centered around the perpetual drama swirling around Ronnie and Sammi. For some reason I thought maybe, just maybe the two idiots wouldn’t knock boots again, but I should have known better / remembered the previews for the season. Yes, the lovebirds managed to enjoy all of about 36 hours in reunited bliss before all hell broke out in Florence. At the end of the day, tears were shed, roses trashed, and ambulances summoned.

Warning: epically long Sam & Ronnie dissection after the jump….

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SPOILER ALERT: Ronnie and Sammi are back together! That’s right: reality TV’s most dysfunctional, unlikable, and messy couple has reunited for the umpteenth time, despite previous proclamations of proud singlehood and steadfast independence. I can’t say I was terribly surprised by these developments on Jersey Shore. After all, Sammi is too decimated in the self-esteem department to move on, and Ronnie… well, I don’t know why Ronnie keeps going back to Sammi. I guess you can chalk it up to love. Or at least co-dependency. Or how about this: outright idiocy.

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JERSEY SHORE PHOTOCAP: Florence and the Drinking Machines


Not much happened on the latest episode of Jersey Shore, and what did happen felt all too familiar. Deena fell over. Ronnie got wasted. Sammi realized she still loved Ronnie. Deena fell over again. Situation got a blowjob. Deena fell a third time. Ronnie fell. Sammi fell. And J-Woww made coffee in the most unconventional of ways.

Along this journey, the kids learned how to make pizza and then erroneously referred to the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore as the Vatican. Tsk tsk. Know your Pope!

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Our favorite gelled up, boob-inflated mooks from Seaside Heights returned late last week with the rousing season premiere of Jersey Shore. This time, the gang headed East to the motherland, Italy, for some back-to-roots boozing and bacchanalia. I wasn’t sure how the rather refined locale of Florence would work on this decidedly low-market show, but so far, it seems to be okay. I mean, I prefer to see the Guidos in their own element, but given that MTV needs to film these kids during the beach off-season, Italy seems like at the very least a fascinating experiment.

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VIDEO: Watch the Official ‘Jersey Shore’ Season 4 Trailer!!

I was afraid the Jersey Shore season four move to Italy would be lame, but if this trailer is any indication, we’ve got plenty of fun drama coming our way. Here’s what we can glean from it:

  • Everyone’s hair is a little different. Not drastically, but enough that it makes you do the Neo-seeing-the-cat-twice-in-the-Matrix look. On that point, Ronnie seems to have had the most drastic change, forgoing his semi-military faux-hawk for… bangs? Yes, somewhere between a bowl cut and a fade lies Ronnie’s new ‘do. Not impressive.
  • Bad hair be damned, Ronnie still can pack a punch. Exhibit A: The Situation lying unconscious on the floor, only to be carted off on a stretcher in the next shot.
  • Ronnie and Sammi are still fighting, still insufferable. We see no hard evidence of this, but based on The Situation’s pre-knockout ranting, he looks like he’s been pushed to the limit with the Rammi dramz. Also, a quick look at the trashed surroundings suggest that Ronnie may have gone Hulk-SMASH on an unwitting bedroom again. Oooh, international ‘roid rage!
  • Snooki is more of a mess than ever. We thought her drunken face-plant on the beaches of Seaside Heights was a low point, but we were wrong. Of course we were wrong: Snooki always finds a new low point. This time around, she’s done something so awful that even her trusty friend J-WOWW has to yell at her.
  • Deena is still a drunken mess, perhaps even more so now
  • Pauly D is still a ham (and the most likable of the bunch).
  • Italy will never have Americans back.

What do you think about the trailer? Are you excited for Jersey Shore to come back?




To quote Snooki: WAAAH! Jersey Shore wrapped up its third season (or is it the second half of the second season?) on Thursday, and I can already feel a void in my life. A year ago, I would have said that sarcastically. Now I say it sincerely. I never thought I’d love this show as much as I do, but quite frankly, without getting my dose of Pauly D hamming it up on TV every week, I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. I guess maybe make real friends, not ones from television.

Needless to say, the season finale ended like any other episode of the season: there was light Vinny drama, plenty of Pauly D screaming, an assortment of Snooki noises, and even a Deena flipout for good measure (they’re rare, but funny). Oh, and Ronnie and Sammi fought. Again. Continue reading

JERSEY SHORE PHOTOCAP: A Not So Dormant Situation



Guess what? Sammi and Ronnie fought on last night’s episode of Jersey Shore! Who would have thunk it? Things had started off so peacefully for the two idiots too. Actually, not really. The show opened with them still arguing over the whole Arvin situation from last week, and in case you forgot, the allegations were that Sammi had hit up The Situation’s friend Arvin and had invited him to Karma. When Ronnie found out, he flipped out (shocking!) and blamed Sammi of being inconsiderate of their love (news flash: they were single). After all, while Ronnie was crying and sending roses, Sammi was arranging her next hookup. Naturally, Sammi was a bitch.

But why was Ronnie crying again? Oh, because he had destroyed all of Sammi’s belongings and essentially scared her out of the house. But again, SHE’S in the wrong for hitting up a guy while she was single. Nevertheless, stupid Sammi wound up apologizing to Ronnie for hitting up Arvin (something that was well within her right as a single woman, mind you) and then admitted that had Ronnie done the same thing to her, she would have been livid. I believe her exact words were “I would have killed hah!” Truth be told, Ronnie has a right to feel burned by Sammi, and Sammi would have had a right to feel the same had the roles been reversed, but these two idiots must remember that they were broken up and that all’s fair in the single life. Continue reading