‘Jersey Shore’ was an American reality television series which aired on MTV, making its debut in December of 2009 and running for six very successful seasons until its conclusion on 20 December 2012. In the few years ‘Jersey Shore’ appeared on television, it became a pop culture phenomenon which intrigued millions of viewers, and even became the subject of several University studies focused on analysing its influence on modern society.
Following the show’s impressive success, numerous similar shows began production in other countries across the globe. The ‘Jersey Shore’ franchise’s popularity allowed it to branch out with a couple of spin-offs, and led to the creation of several reunion specials, the latest – ‘Jersey Shore: Family Vacation’ – airing in 2017. Due to popular exposure, many of the show’s stars gained opportunities after ‘Jersey Shore’ ended, allowing them to star in other reality shows, and some even landing their own dedicated series.
Despite ‘Jersey Shores’ popular reception, the show caused some upsets too. Most of the concerns arose among the Italian-American communities, who claimed that the show was offensive because of the regular use of the derogatory slang term, Guido and Guidettes, applied to working-class Italian people.
They also claimed that the show focused too much on the constant stereotyping of Italian people, which was shameful because at least two cast members were not of Italian ancestry. Aside from this, the show also aggravated some of the New Jersey state locals, who believed that the show misrepresented the beauty of the Jersey Shore beachfront.
‘Jersey Shore’s concept followed the simple yet successful formula used by so several other reality TV shows, such as ‘Real World’, and ‘Bad Girls Club’, which basically documents several strangers living together in one house.
The only difference about ‘Jersey Shore’ was that the series played-off in a vacation home, centred specifically on people of Italian ancestry.
Naturally, a show of ‘Jersey Shore’s format contains endless conflict and drama, but there are many secrets even the most dedicated fans wouldn’t know about, which didn’t exactly make it onto film or receive any kind of mention. As intriguing as the show may have been, the facts uncovered here would certainly be of interest to the loyal followers of the show.
The original concept of the series planned to create a competitive reality game show, and not the fly-on-the-wall reality show viewers came to know. The producer and creator of ‘Jersey Shore’, Sally-Anne Salsano, revealed this information to the gossip website, ‘Vulture’, stating that while the show first went up for consideration, the original network was more interested in creating a game show involving Italian people.
The very first episode of Jersey Shore aired on MTV ten years ago this week. We assume you all still remember what GTL stands for…
Posted by JOE.ie on Monday, December 2, 2019
They called the original concept ‘Guidos’, but after VH1, the initial network considering airing the show withdrew, MTV picked up the idea, hoping to create a series that would appeal more to a younger audience.
As such, MTV began searching for contestants of appropriate age, and eventually the entire concept of the show changed. The original idea to create a game show in which Italians competed to prove who was the best ‘Guido’, turned into a life chronicle documentary about a group of people partying on the Jersey shore, thus changing the name to the title so many are familiar with today.
Another concept of the show that MTV changed radically was the inclusion of female members. As the first name suggested, the cast would have originally been only men, but considering how women would provide conflict and wider audience interest, MTV quickly accepted female participants.
MTV’s intuition seemingly paid off, since the show may not have become the success it turned into, if the original format had stayed.
It certainly wouldn’t have become a cultural phenomenon, especially without the girls.
All The Rules Took Its Toll
While most fans and viewers were under the impression that life at the beach house seemed like one, big, ongoing party, for the stars of the show things were not as laid back. During their stay in the series, all the participants had to follow strict rules, some of which secluded them from the outside world.
According to Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, the residents were never allowed to watch television, read any kind of material, or use any other entertainment devices. They were also only allowed to make one ‘phone call a week, which would remain private and not appear on film.
RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY SALAD 🥗 #revengeprank pic.twitter.com/2iafp80BS4
— Jersey Shore (@JerseyShore) February 5, 2021
While it sounds like a nightmare for modern teens who would undoubtedly suffer from nomophobia, the primary intent behind all the rules was to force the residents to keep socialising, building the potential for conflict.
During an interview with ‘V Magazine’, Snooki admitted that participating in the show often felt like attending a volunteer prison for two months. However, Snooki was not the only member who couldn’t handle the pressure of all the rules. Following their return from Florence, Italy during the fourth season, Vinny Guadagnino had simply had enough, and departed from the show. Vinny later admitted that the pressure of having every part of his life filmed became too much, and he finally decided to pack his bags.
Living Down To Living Large
To most viewers, the appeal of living it large at a beach house while getting paid to do so would seem like a dream come true, but for the stars of ‘Jersey Shore’, their first summer at the beach house wasn’t so lucrative.
According to Vinny – who revealed to the ‘Vulture’ website some of the inside secrets that really happened on the show – for the first season, the participants didn’t receive a salary or any compensation for their involvement. The only money they saw came from their daily shifts at ‘Danny’s Shore Store’, the T-shirt shop where the residents worked during their stay at the Jersey Shore beach house. Considering that most of them sacrificed their jobs, and some even educational opportunities to appear on ‘Jersey Shore’, it seemed a shame that they didn’t receive any money as compensation.
However, once the show’s popularity boomed, and the cast returned for the second season responding to high public demand, the producers agreed to start paying them for their participation.
At the time, some reports claimed that certain stars of the show earned as much as $10,000 per episode, which undoubtedly increased as the ‘Jersey Shore’ became even more popular. In the end, it seems that their sacrifices were at least worth it.
One of the recurring themes of ‘Jersey Shore’ was the constant alcohol consumption of the residents, which led to numerous occasions of silly circumstances arising from their drunken behaviour, and got several house members into a load of trouble.
However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, their drunken antics became a fan-adored feature of the show, and was greatly responsible for ‘Jersey Shore’s impressive popularity. Yet, considering that the show predominantly focused on a group of young people enjoying their summertime on the Jersey beachfront, and that there was little to nothing that could entertain them, excessive drinking would quickly become most participant’s favourite pastime.
Even more surprisingly, despite the strict rules enforced in the house, the producers weren’t against heavy drinking, possibly even encouraged their drinking habits in hopes of promoting conflict, but it wasn’t the only thing the producers instigated.
According to leaked information obtained by ‘The Daily Mail’, cast members were encouraged to partake in promiscuous behaviour, but the producers ensured that they stayed safe during any aftermath. As part of their contracts, the residents of the beach house had to sign a risk clause that prevented them from suing the show if they contracted any STDs, or if anything else may happened as a consequence of their behaviour.
Snooki Was a Natural
Nicole Polizzi became a hit with fans almost instantly, perhaps because she was one of the house members who could put the men to shame when it came to heavy drinking. Considering that the show centred on the drunken antics of the house members, Snooki appeared to be a natural choice from her first interview, and throughout the show she proved just how strong her constitution could be.
Snooki leaving jersey shore!? http://bit.ly/2KARe8O
Posted by Farrah Abraham on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Aside from handing in an application smudge with bronzer, so much so that the producers were confused about what she spilt on it, Snooki showed up intoxicated for her first interview, although later admitting that this was because the interview commenced at a bar. Despite winning the hearts of many fans as well as the consideration of the producers through her ability to drink whole bowls of alcohol, Snooki nonetheless landed in hot water because of her excessive drinking.
In 2010, while out for some leisurely fun in the sun at one of the local beaches, police arrested Snooki for being drunk on the beach, and escorted her away. According to certain reports, Snooki had one too many, and face planted into the sand, but to make things even more embarrassing, people called the police to her.
It’s safe to say that all of the cast members have since cleaned up their acts, even Snooki, who has become the mother of two adorable little ones – long after ‘Jersey Shore’ – and has appeared on several other reality shows.
Aside from incurring the dislike of the local New Jersey State Governor, Chris Christie, who initiated a $420,000 tax incentive against the show and its producers for the negative portrayal of the state depicted in the show, ‘Jersey Shore’ also rubbed a major brand the wrong way.
In many of his early appearances on the show, ‘Jersey Shore’ star Michael ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino sported clothes from the brand, Abercrombie and Fitch, wearing the brand so many times that fans and the marketing department of the clothing line began associating it with the show. Unfortunately, Abercrombie and Fitch didn’t support the show. and disliked the idea of gaining what was regarded as negative exposure.
In an attempt to cease the publicity, Abercrombie and Fitch offered Michael $10,000 to stop wearing their clothes on camera.
Instead of accepting the money, The Situation decided to sue the company, feeling insulted by their disapproval. Following the lawsuit, Abercrombie retracted their offer, but Michael didn’t win his case, but had to stop wearing Abercrombie on the show, and walked away with nothing.
Scripted and Edited
Like most reality television shows, ‘Jersey Shore’ is guilty of producing creative reality. As many fans suspected, the car accident involving Snooki during the fourth season while the cast visited Florence, Italy, was not as accidental as it seemed. According to what appeared on the show, Snooki crashed the car she drove into a police vehicle, but in actuality, the other car was part of their security escort. Secondly, Snooki never drove at high speed, and the collision was not as severe as suggested on the show.
To further confirm the scripted nature of the accident, cameramen already waited in place to film the entire incident.
That was not the only incident in Florence that turned out to be fake. The altercation between Michael and Pauly Delvecchio that took place in Italy, as well as the resulting fight, turned out to be staged for the cameras. In fact, the fight took place in the bright light of a street lamp, specifically chosen so that the cameras could capture every detail.
To make matters even worse, the producers rented the Pizza Parlour where the housemates worked during their stay in Italy, and the customers were all hired extras. On top of this, the producers also put every episode through heavy editing, which frustrated some of the house members who believed that the show portrayed them in the wrong light.
Welp, it's happening! (Literally. All of the things.) See you here next Jerzday for a new #JSFamilyVacation! 👀 pic.twitter.com/EBuogaaEP1
— Jersey Shore (@JerseyShore) February 5, 2021
On Short Notice
One of the show’s funniest moments was when Angelina Pivarnick arrived at the house with her belongings stuffed in black trash bags, which inevitably earned her the nickname ‘Trash Bag’, which she could never shake off. The reason behind it is rather simple and not actually Angelina’s fault or intention. Regardless, many of the other residents found it as hilarious as the viewers did, and poked fun at her during her stay at the beach house.
The final eight members of the cast came in under short notice, receiving word about their acceptance a day before they would arrive. Because of this, Angelina hastily packed her belongings, and because she couldn’t find the proper luggage in time, she had to make do with plastic bags.
The True Setting
Fans of ‘Jersey Shore’ would easily recall the ridiculous ‘duck ‘phone’ that became an iconic feature of the show, but it wasn’t supposed to be part of the original setting.
The producer, Salsano, later revealed in an interview that the art director chose the ‘phone as a silly decoration, but none of the producers cleared it for actual use, thinking it would not mix with the theme of the show. However, the duck ‘phone accidentally remained behind and found its way onto the show, much to the pleasure of viewers and fans.
As iconic as the duck phone was, the jacuzzi played a far greater role in everything that happened on the show. Strangely, though, the famous jacuzzi was never an actual part of the house’s decor. In truth, the rooftop jacuzzi sat on the roof of the T-shirt shop, ‘Danny’s Shore Store’, but thanks to the show’s clever editing, fans were under the illusion that they enjoyed its bubbling water at home.
Once ‘Jersey Shore’s popularity hit the roof, fans poured out in numbers to see the house for themselves, which often led to a few enthusiastic fanatics trying to get in.
Of course, dealing with trespassers became a nuisance, and quite often it hindered filming. As a result, the producers hired stricter security, and even had to build walls around the beach house. At one point, the fans became so imposing and out of hand that police had to keep the ‘Jersey Shore’ beach house under constant protection.
Of course, the producers realised they had a pot of gold on their hands that they could easily exploit to make a fortune. Since fans were so desperate to get in, why not make them pay for admission. So today, anyone interested in spending a night in the ‘Jersey Shore’ beach house would be welcome to rent any of its eleven rooms. Of course, staying at such a popular venue will cost you, and admission is only permitted for patrons 21 and older.
Despite the nature of the facts revealed here, we hope it will not change viewers and fans’ perspective and love for ‘Jersey Shore’, and all will continue to enjoy watching the re-runs and reunion shows.