After a rather lackluster fourth season, Jersey Shore is back for round five in their home court, a.k.a. Seaside Heights. Though it's only been two months since the gang said "ciao" to Italy, perhaps absence really does make the heart grow fonder, because we're actually excited about this season. Hopefully, now that the cast is back in their element, we can expect more hot messes and less depressing messes. Plus, it doesn't look like any Ronnie and Sammi drama made it into the spotlight yet... Could this is be a trend of good things to come?

Written by Tanya Ghahremani (@tanyaghahremani)

The Boys (And Girls) Are Back In Town

Though the producers are clearly trying to play off the gang's depature from Italy as bittersweet, we share the cast's sentiment as they rush to grab their business class seats (really, MTV?) on the flight back to the United States: Get them the hell out of there. Luckily, we don't have to wait too long, because everyone is back home a few minutes into the episode and promptly whisked away to the Garden State.

The shore house hasn't changed a bit since we last saw it in Season Three. Well, maybe it's a bit cleaner, which probably cost MTV a fortune since the only effective way we can imagine would clean the place is total fumigation. The room arrangement is the same as last time, meaning Sammi is bunking with Mike again, a fact that she's clearly not happy about. She calls it unfair, but we call it karma for putting us through the Ron-And-Sam show for the past three seasons. Ron does say that if Mike gets on his bad side, he'll put his bed on the porch, launching what we're deeming the most exciting thing about Season Five yet: the countdown until Mike's bed ends up on the porch. Let the office pools begin.

As for everyone else, it's clear they're totally back in their comfort zone: Vinny dry-humps Pauly in their room, Snooki straight-up drinks pickle juice, and Mike smirks creepily in the corner a lot. Jersey Shore truly is back in form!

Since the first thing normal people do once returning from a foreign country is perhaps call their parents and inform them of their arrival, the gang does the opposite and goes to visit their Shore Store boss, Danny, instead. Totally makes sense. After talking for a bit, Danny offers to take them all out for drinks the next day, because he's apparently a millionaire. Bro, do you know how expensive that's going to be?

Surprise! More Drama

One of the most clearly missing Jersey Shore staples last season, other than the jacuzzi (the indoor one they had was severely underused), was the guys' GTL philosophy. We're sure tanning salons and acceptable gyms and laundromats exist in Italy, BUT for some reason the guys let themselves get to their definition of "pale as fuck." By the next morning, Pauly gets desperate to a point of absolutely no shame, running into the nearest fake-and-bake salon to demand service so he can get back to his favorite oompa loompa shade of orange. How much money must those tanning salons in Seaside make every summer?

All tanned, gymed, and laundried up, the group heads over to a seemingly dead bar where Danny requested they meet him for drinks. Though everyone whines about how boring it looks while they're in the parking lot, their collective disappoint quickly turns into astonishment when the get-together is revealed to actually be a surprise party with a welcome from worthy of troops who have just returned from Iraq. But didn't you all know? This cast is America.

Literally everyone they've ever met is at the party, so obviously this means major drama is on the horizon. Plus, there's alcohol, so things could get ugly.

Mike still can't let go of claiming that he and Snooki hooked up a while back when she'd just gotten with Jionni. And now, at this party, he's got his one supposed witness, The Unit (WTF is that name, though?), with him to back up his story. The roommates are still on the fence about whether or not Mike is telling the truth, though Ron admits he believes Snooki is guilty because she's "acting" like she is. Well...he should know. He does have a point,  though; disappearing into the bathroom for 20 minutes when you realize The Unit is hanging out near you and your boyfriend does seem a little sketch, Snooks.

Ryder, the other girl who may or may not have beared witness to the alleged Sitch/Snooks hook-up, is also in attendance, but since she's Snooki's friend the most she does is console the pint-sized guidette as she freaks out and worries that Mike is going to attempt to break her and Jionni apart. Not once does anyone point out that if her relationship with Jionni is hanging by that single thread then perhaps there's a bigger problem, but we can't really expect logical advice to ever come up in this show. Jenni suggests to Snooki that she walk away from all of this because it's not worth threatening her relationship in order to put The Unit in his place. No barfights yet.

"The Unit" Is A Really Stupid Nickname

No, really, it is. "The Situation" we get (a little), but "The Unit"? Unit of what? Does he mean the CBS show? Jersey Shore shouldn't make us question life this much.

Anyway, The Unit (it even typing that) is staying the night at the house, for one of two reasons: either he's too drunk to go home, or, as Sammi theorizes, he's having an affair with Sitch. Considering she shares a room with Mike and now The Unit, she would be the ultimate authority on this tidbit of gossip, but color us a little skeptical.

With The Unit in the house, Snooks decides to take Jenni's advice and ends up hiding out in her room with Jionni to prevent any showdowns. This, obviously, pisses off drama-hungry Mike. Is there rehab for this sort of addiction to causing headaches?

Elsewhere in the house, Ryder is staying over as well, and even though when we previously saw her, she was getting it in with Vinny, this time she seems to have her sights set on his bestie Pauly. This is something that Vinny is all right with; Deena, however, is not. If you all remember correctly, last season Deena tried tirelessly to hook up with Pauly, so seeing Ryder effortlessly get him to make-out with her in a not-gross way must sting. Ryder and Pauly end up going to his room to snuggle in bed, and they're immediately and awkwardly followed by Deena, who proceeds to sit in the room for a good ten minutes participating in a staring contest with them. Clearly, she forgot to pack her dignity before they left Italy.

Snooki and Jionni eventually emerge from their room and are immediately greeted by Mike and The Unit. The two try to spark drama with Snooks, but she keeps giving them the slip until, eventually, deciding to apologize to The Unit for being a bit of a bitch to him back at the bar. Mike theorizes that this is so if he and The Unit do anything shady, they'll look like the bad guys since Snooki apologized, but he ultimately reasons that they have the whole summer to mess with her head. That's healthy.

The next night, the group all goes out to party at Aztec, where Jionni buys drinks for a very confused Mike the whole night. While this makes for an interesting scene (buying drinks for the dude that your girlfriend may have cheated on you with...awkward), how does Jionni not know that Mike is a complete sociopath by now? Does he even watch the show at all? It's not exactly little-known information.

Vinny seems a little depressed at the club, and, after some prodding, he reveals that he's homesick. Not even a hefty paycheck from MTV is enough to make him not consider going home, nor are Pauly's attempts at cheering him up ("We have work tomorrow!"). By the end of the episode, we're left wondering if Vinny really is going to leave (Spoiler Alert, he does). And, if so, will he be back? (Yes.) Oh, the joys of reality TV.

The Episode's Best Quotes

"If he does get involved in my relationship... I will put his bed on the porch." - Ronnie, launching our new favorite countdown

"I'm getting paler by the minute." - Pauly D

"I can breath, like...I can smell the smog, I love it." "Yeah, I love it." - Pauly and Sitch are worldly folk

"You love your boyfriend, right?" "No shit." - Sitch and Snooki, having a heart to heart

"This is Hurricane Situation...and it's headed straight for Snooki Island." - Sitch is such a stand-up comedian

"Got your metrocard?" "What, so everybody could Ryder just like a bus route?" - Vinny and Ronnie, being very respectful towards Ryder

Written by Tanya Ghahremani (@tanyaghahremani)