Jersey Shore is never going to go down as one of the great reality series of all time or anything remotely resembling "high art." For a fair bit of time in the early 2010's though, the MTV reality series was nothing short of a pop culture phenomenon. While it was on from 2009 to 2012, Jersey Shore was almost inescapable.
The spray-tanned adventures of Snooki, JWoww, The Situation, Vinnie, Ronnie, Sammi and Paulie D (among others) gave the world not only the acronym GTL but a treasure trove of hours of gloriously trashy TV. Even if you absolutely hated Jersey Shore, the way the show pervaded pop culture has to be admired, or at least acknowledged.
For all the popularity of Jersey Shore, which has lasted so long that reunion is happening in 2018, there are some secrets about the show that have remain hidden or at least little known. Like Jersey Shore itself, the information surrounding the show and its production are messy and so unreal sounding that they're seemingly soaked in an alcohol-infused fugue state.
Still there some of the stories and information behind Jersey Shore are nearly as interesting, if not more so, than the show itself.
Here are the 16 Dark Secrets You Never Knew About Jersey Shore!
16 It Started Life as a Competition Series About the "Best Guido"
Jersey Shore supposedly embraced the “Guido” lifestyle, focusing in on a certain and very orange-y segment of Italian-Americans. However, the show was originally designed to be less of a slice-of-life reality show and more of a competition series.
The original concept for Jersey Shore, even before it received its name, was going to be in style of other MTV reality competitions. The show would have a group of all-male contestants compete in challenges to determine which among them was the “best Guido.”
It’s not until Jersey Shore’s eventual executive producer, SallyAnn Salsano, stepped in that things changed. SallyAnn decided to specifically focus the series on the Jersey shore, based on her own experience and that the show should function more like The Real World than Road Rules Challenge.
15 The Second Season Almost Had a Whole New Cast
Jersey Shore became about the cast, their wild personalities and tasteless misadventures. The show wasn’t always intended to be the story of the one group. Once Jersey Shore was decided on being a lifestyle reality series, the plan was for every season to introduce a new cast of “characters.”
Jersey Shore was meant to be more of an anthology series, rather than following the same group over several years. Jersey Shore was supposed to be a Real World clone but set in the culture and “world” of the first season.
Yet once the first season premiered and the group became so popular, the plan quickly shifted. Rather than trying to find a new cast, Jersey Shore stuck completely to the original group and wanted to keep the original seven (and Deena) together as long as possible.
14 The Cast Could Have One Private Phone Call A Week While Filming
Like most reality show casts, privacy wasn’t exactly an option for the Jersey Shore cast while filming. Almost everything the cast did and said was captured by cameras and that resulted in a fair share of embarrassing drunken escapades.
The cast was, however, allowed some small measure of modesty. Once a week the cast could have one phone conversation, in private, without being recorded in any way. Any other conversation, no matter the topic, had to be filmed and that’s where the show’s infamous duck phone came into the picture.
The many humiliating phone conversations that the cast had on the duck phone weren’t exactly their choice. It was because, for the most part, the only way to talk to someone outside the house had to be on camera and with the duck.
13 The Show Ended Because Snooki Wanted a Baby
When Jersey Shore ended in season 6 the show was very much on top, at least when it came to the ratings. The show was on MTV’s most popular and profitable shows back in 2012 and from a purely business standpoint it didn’t make a lot of sense to cancel it.
Still, Jersey Shore came to an end relatively early in its run because producer, SallyAnn Salsano, wanted the show to go out on top and because the cast wanted to “grow up.”
Snooki became pregnant in the sixth and final season. The show couldn’t rightly continue its party all-the-time mentality with one of its key stars becoming a mother. Snooki, meanwhile, wanted to move on and start a family, and a couple of her cast members agreed that it was time to end it.
Rather than just continuing with new casts or mix of old and new cast members, Jersey Shore decided to end on a “high.”
12 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie HATED the Show
While Jersey Shore became a bit of trashy phenomena, it was far from universally beloved. Many local New Jersey residents was less than pleased with their state’s portrayal on the show, especially since most of the cast didn’t even live in the state. The biggest critic of Jersey Shore ended up being the state's governor, Chris Christie.
Christie who was elected to office in the middle of Jersey Shore’s run, often and publicly denounced the series. Christie believed that the show made New Jersey and its residents look uneducated and trashy, resenting the show’s popularity and the cast’s fame.
Christie did everything his power to make the filming of the show as hard as possible. Christie even vetoed a 420,000 tax incentive that the show was given because he so disagreed with the way it portrayed New Jersey.
11 One of the Original Cast Members Left to Start a (Failed) Singing Career
Angelina Pivarnick's stint on Jersey Shore was as brief as it was tumultuous. Angelina was one of the original cast members but was booted from the show early in season 1 because she refused to work at a t-shirt shop with the rest of her cast members.
Still, Angelina was brought back for season 2… only to quickly leave once again because of prolonged feuding with cast members, Snooki and The Situation.
Angelina still tried to ride her brush with fame for all it was worth. Shortly after the second season, she tried to launch a singing career. It’s a career that went nowhere, Angelina’s first single was an autotuned mess ironically titled “I’m Hot", gaining next to no fans.
After failing to be a singer, Angelina tried to appear on several other reality show before finally becoming an EMT in New York City. Yes, that's (terrifyingly) true.
10 Deena, Angelina's Replacement, Auditioned for Season 1
When Angelina left Jersey Shore for the second time, the show wanted to round out the cast and searched for her replacement. So in season 2, Jersey Shore cast Deena, who continued with the show until its end. While Deena was brought on as Snooki’s friend, she actually had auditioned for season 1 and was rejected.
Deena and Snooki were friends outside of the show. However once Snooki was cast during season 1, Deena followed suit and tried to get on the show. The producers weren’t interested in Deena at the time and rejected her audition, mostly because they wanted all strangers in the house.
Once Snooki became one of the undeniable stars of the series and Angelina left in disgrace (again), Jersey Shore decided that it was time to bring Deena on to the cast.
9 JWoww Has A Degree in Computer Programming and Graphic Design
Like most of her co-stars, Jenni “JWoww” Farley emphasized her party girl side on the show. Unlike most of her co-stars, JWoww had a career and sizable education to fall back on if Jersey Shore had proven to be a complete flop.
JWoww has two college degrees. JWoww has a degrees in computer programming and graphic design. She graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with a BFA in fine arts and animation. JWoww used both of these degrees to launch design company which she ran before being cast on Jersey Shore.
That career has since been abandoned. JWoww now makes money with public and TV appearances and is occupied with being a mother to two small children. Programming and design are still within her skillset.
8 Ronnie's Criminal Past
It was well documented on the show when Ronnie Ortiz-Magro ended up in legal hot water after punching someone out cold while filming Jersey Shore season 1. After Ronnie got into that fight, which was filmed, he was arrested and later released. However, it wasn’t Ronnie’s only brush with the law or brief time behind bars.
Ronnie had several (minor) legal troubles before being cast on the show and even afterwards. One of the big ones was that he was arrested for a DUI and for drug possession while driving drunk in his parent’s home of Bensalem, PA back in 2005. Ronnie was only 19-years-old at the time.
Ronnie was also arrested in 2010, when the show was in full swing, for outstanding and unpaid parking tickets.
7 The Situation's Legal Situation
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, for better or worse, became one of the most recognizable faces from Jersey Shore, thanks to appearances on Dancing with the Stars and other reality shows. The Situation was everywhere for a relatively long period of time and it’s during that extended time in the spotlight that he ran into some real legal troubles.
In 2014, shortly after Jersey Shore ended, Mike and his brother were charged with tax fraud by the government. The two were accused of falsifying records, evading taxes and all manner of dubious illegal practices with financials dealing with their family's tanning salon.
It’s a case that’s still developing and ongoing. The latest charges brought against Mike and his brother happened as recently as April 2017. The Situation could face as long as 15 years in prison, if and when he’s finally convicted.
6 The House Is Available for Renters
Though it’s unclear who would exactly want to do it because the smell of cheap alcohol and fake tanners is probably still not fully sterilized out of the home, the Jersey Shore home is available for renters.
Super fans, who also want to stay at the shore, can rent out the same house that the cast stayed in during their time on the show. In addition, the house is also available for private tours in case anyone can’t afford it or doesn’t want to spend a week with the ghosts of GTL past. People can even get their picture taken with the duck phone.
It’s all still set up circa 2012 when the show was last filmed. The tacky Italian flag painted on the garage is intact and everything.
5 Snooki Convinced The Show to Add Women to the Cast
Snooki became the female face of Jersey Shore and that’s really fitting given the show’s history. When the show shifted from a competition series to a more lifestyle exploration show, they were still imagining an all-male cast.
After Snooki auditioned, however, the producers became convinced that the cast needed to be split evenly between male and female contestants. The show became tentatively titled Guidos and Guidettes before settling on Jersey Shore.
Snooki was such a force of personality in her audition that it completely turned the direction of casting. In fact, one of the casting producers said that Snooki had so much fake tan on that it left a literal mark.
When Snooki signed some of the paperwork necessary at the audition, she left orange fingerprints behind. The rest is drunken and fake tan history.
4 The Cast Had No Access to the Outside World While Filming
The filming of each Jersey Shore season wasn’t very long. It only lasted a few weeks and no more than a couple months but during that time the cast had certain restrictions.
While filming the cast had no access to the outside world. There was no TV in the house, no one had free access to their phones and there was no surfing the internet for news or other human interaction. The cast probably weren’t the most informed individuals to begin with but they were utterly isolated whilst filming.
The only activities open to the cast were drinking, partying or whatever situations the producers introduced for them. This explains, in part, why the cast got so drunk and so out of hand so often. It was the only way to keep themselves from being entirely bored.
3 It Has Spawned International Spin-Offs
Jersey Shore might have ended with six seasons. However, it did spawn a fair bit of spin-offs with the cast. While most of theses failed for MTV, Jersey Shore’s reach has extended outside of MTV and America.
Jersey Shore has inspired several international reality series, all of which have become success stories. Jersey Shore has seen spin-offs in Russia, Spain, Mexico and Poland.
However, the most famous of them might be the United Kingdom version, entitled Geordie Shore. The name refers to a nickname given to the people of Tyneside, which just happens to sound eerily similar to Jersey.
The show has run from fifteen seasons and counting, seeing a revolving door of cast members, unlike Jersey Shore which made an effort to keep the core group intact.
2 They're Not All Italian
The Jersey Shore cast relentlessly and constantly talked about their Italian-American background. This tracked as most of the cast was, in fact, Italian-American. Yet with two of the biggest stars, the connection to the Guido lifestyle and “being Italian” was much more about cultural adoption than anything biological.
Neither JWoww or Snooki are, biologically at least, Italian. Snooki is actually Chilean. Yet when she was young, Snooki was adopted by an Italian family. JWoww, meanwhile, has almost no familial connection to Italy. JWoww is of Irish and Spanish descent.
However, JWoww later explained that she still saw herself as a member of the community. Her connection to the Guido was more about her relation to the party scene, than anything having to do with her familial make-up.
1 There Was a Clause in Everyone's Contract About STDs
Since one of the tenants of Jersey Shore was the cast hooking up as much as possible, usually in the drunkest manner possible, it’s not surprising that MTV had their bases covered in the contracts.
While the show encouraged the cast to casually sleep with one another, the contracts made it clear that the network was in no way responsible for anything that occurred after the encounters. Specifically, MTV was not to blame if any cast member on Jersey Shore contracted an STD during filming.
The contract that everyone signed spelled out that any potential STD the cast contracted was completely their responsibility. The network could not be blamed, or more importantly sued, for anything having to do with transmitted diseases.
While the contracts did “protect” the cast in other ways in this one arena they were very much in favor of the network.
Did you know any of this about Jersey Shore? Which secrets, if any, did we miss? Sound off in the comments below!