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10 Things That Were Not Real On Jersey Shore (And 10 Things That Were)

With its cast members donned in fake tans and over-the-top hairstyles, the young partying cast of Jersey Shore managed to capture the interest of fans across the world and became an instant hit. Fans were drawn in by the controversy, obnoxious behaviors, and unforgettable catchphrases. The cast managed to bring havoc and chaos to not only NJ but Florence, Italy as well. The series gained many negative critiques over the year, stemming from the casts’ bad behaviors and a poor representation of Italian-Americans. Between the devoted fans and harsh critics, the show’s infamy grew even more.

Since its airing in 2009, the series lasted for six seasons until its conclusion in 2012. The show spawned numerous spinoff series and made its cast members very famous overnight. In addition, several reunion shows have brought some of the most popular cast members back together for Reunion Road Trip: Return to the Jersey Shore and Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. The series also inspired similar series in other countries including the long-running MTV UK show, Geordie Shore.

Like many reality shows, the show portrayed a mix of genuine moments and forged drama. Despite numerous accusations of faked moments, the series and the cast members actually faced some real-life controversies that they could not avoid. Ranging from real-life arrests and backlash, Jersey Shore created some unforgettable moments both on screen and in real life. In this article, we will explore several notable moments from the series and highlight the events that were staged for tv and too real to be made up. Here are 10 Things That Were Fake On Jersey Shore (And 10 Things That Were Real).

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20 Fake: The Deck of the Jersey Shore House

Fans of the series could never forget how integral the hot tub became for the show. Throughout the show, it became the focal point for many of the parties held at the house. It also served as the get together spot for several of the housemates supposedly, including Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. However, Jersey Shore fans may be alarmed to know that the infamous rooftop hotspot above the house was actually faked. The rental used for the series did not have a place for a hot tub nor was one installed. So where did all of these infamous moments take place? The hot tub was, in fact, on the roof the Shore Store where the cast worked. Eagle-eyed fans spotted the true location early on during the filming of the series. Oops.

19 Real: The duck phone was a genuine surprise for the house

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro talking on the duck phone in Jersey Shore

Like many cult tv shows, famous elements found within the episodes usually become iconic for fans. Jersey Shore was no expectation given its over-the-top fashion, hairstyles, and attitudes of its cast members. In stark contrast to the “guido and guidette” lifestyle, cast members were often depicted using the now-famous duck phone. The art director for the series found the device in a local thrift store called Don Found It in Toms River. Production placed the device in the home as a joke prior to filming. However, once the series began filming for the upcoming episodes, the duck phone was all but forgotten until it was too late. The unusual device became synonymous with the series after its first appearance.

18 Fake: The Situation Did Not Create The Famous "GTL" Acronym

Pauly D, Mike The Situation and Ronnie in Seaside Heights in Jersey Shore

Since its debut back in 2009, Jersey Shore slowly because of one of the most popular tv shows of that year and beyond. Not only did the cast members become household names but so did their trademark phrases and behaviors, as well. One of the most famous catchphrases from the show was "GTL" which stood for “Gym, Tan, Laundry.” The Situation became the first member to use the phrase on the series, and it became synonymous with the series long after it was introduced. Surprisingly, however, The Situation did not actually coin the phrase. The production team for the series accidentally created the phrase while reviewing footage of the four guys of the show. Instead of repeatedly writing “Gym, Tan, Laundry” each time the ritual occurred (and it happened a lot), they created the shorthand version of “GTL.”

17 Real: Abercrombie and Fitch Offered to Pay The Situation To Stop Wearing Its Clothes

No one could argue that The Situation became one of the more popular male cast members of the series over the years. His unique style and attitude made him very recognizable and imitable. Fans will recall that one of his defining qualities was his deep love for the Abercrombie and Fitch clothing line. He was often seen wearing the fashion from the retailer the majority of the time. Considering the popularity of the series, you would assume the retailer would take advantage and offer an endorsement deal. In reality, the company actually requested that he stop wearing the brand on the series. Back in 2011, the company released a statement expressing their “deep concern “over him wearing their clothes on the show and even offered “substantial payment” if he would wear another brand altogether.

16 Fake: The O’Vesuvio Pizzeria Jobs and Most Of The Customers

FLORENCE, ITALY - MAY 19: (L to R) Sammi "Sweetheart" Gianicola, Deena Nicole Cortese, Ronnie Ortiz Magro, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Jenny "JWoww" Farley and Vinny Guadagnino attend "Jersey Shore" photocall at Hotel Brunelleschi on May 19, 2011 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

The fourth season of Jersey Shore depicted the cast getting back to their roots during a six-week-long trip to Italy. However, their time spent overseas came with the same stipulations, as per their agreement back home: they had to work to earn money. The cast then became employees of the O’Vesuvio Pizzeria during their stay. However, their entire employment turned out to be a lie. The Daily Beast revealed that not only did MTV rent out the pizzeria for the series but the customers as well. Most of the people that entered the shop was actually an extra for the show. Also, any real customers of the pizzeria had to be questioned about their age and their reasons for visiting the establishment.

15 Real: The Mayor Of Florence Banned The Cast From Visiting Historical Sites

Although their notorious behavior made the cast of the Jersey Shore celebrities overnight, many people found those same extravagant actions to be a turn-off. In fact, their past actions and antics became a concern for the city of Florence. CBS News reported that prior to their booked visit, Florence city officials were asked for their “seal of approval” from producers of the show. However, upon review of their previous episodes, they found the cast members’ actions to be too intense for the historic city. Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi actually forbade them from visiting any of the famous historical sites in the city during their stay. His additional restrictions included not portraying Florence as a drinking town and prohibiting the cast from being seen on camera drinking in public.

14 Fake: Impromptu Visits To The Beach

For anyone looking to gain popularity by being on a reality show needs to realize how controlling these shows tend to be. Not only are you giving up your privacy for fame but your freedom as well. Despite the many times that fans may have seen cast members of the show storm off or leave the rental casually, all aspects of their departure were actually planned out. Cast members were not allowed to leave home whenever they felt like it. They had to inform the production team at least an hour in advance before they made any plans to go anywhere. Even just walking outside of the home required the assembly of a film crew to capture these moments.

13 Real: The Cast Had To Sign A Closeness Clause In Their Contracts

Viewers have come to expect fights, drama, excessive drinking, and get-togethers when they tune into a series depicting “real people” living together. As such, producers must be prepared to capture all of the activities on camera to craft the most appealing episodes. However, producers for Jersey Shore also kept the safety of both cast members and their guests in mind in preparation for the series. According to Seth Kaufman, TVGuide.com's former editorial director, the series included a clause in their contracts specifically for illness. This clause supposedly stated: “Producer hereby informs me, and I acknowledge and accept, that the other participants have not been screened for any diseases, sicknesses or other health conditions (and specifically have not been tested for any transmittable diseases) and I assume all risks of interacting with the other participants, including any consensual contact.”

12 Fake: Working at The Shirt Shop

Jersey Shore Cast Police Escort

Given the cast members’ terrible partying and drinking habits, you can imagine they were not the ideal employees for the Shore Store. Owner Danny Merk lent not only his home for the cast members to use as their home but allowed them to work at his store as well.  He even named The Situation as the laziest member of the household. Not only was their employment faked but also the customers as well. Local residents and fans of the series had to sign up to be able to visit the shop. “Customers” would be in line for hours just for the chance to see the cast members. When it came to their turn to “shop” in the store, they were instructed to act naturally as if a famous reality star wasn't assisting them.

11 Real: NJ Governor Chris Christie disliked the series

Jersey Shore Vast Reunion Chris Christie

Similar to the displeasure they received from the mayor of Florence, their own local political representative did not take kindly to the show nor the cast. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not support the show because of its negative depiction of his state. The outspoken governor often expressed his disdain for the series in numerous interviews. He once stated that "They parachute these New Yorkers into Seaside Heights, New Jersey, and they try to make the whole country think this is New Jersey. It's not. It's bad for New Jersey. It's bad ... because it's a mischaracterization of who the people are here in New Jersey and so I've said all along that I think ‘Jersey Shore’ is bad." Despite even visiting the set during filming back in 2013, he never wavered on his dislike for the series.

10 Fake: Snooki and JWoww Being Italian-American

A large focus of the show’s themes was surrounding the depiction of young Italian-Americans living it up in New Jersey. The cast members referred to themselves as guidos and guidettes and were proud to represent their heritage. Even the garage of their rental depicted a huge flag of Italy. However, the truth was that some of the cast members weren’t even Italian-American, a fact the surprised many viewers of the series. Back in 2012, US Magazine reported that cast member Jenni "JWoww" Farley revealed that she was not of Italian descent and neither was Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. Farley explained that she was of Spanish and Irish descent and Polizzi was actually Chilean. Despite not technically being guidettes, the two cast members still became very popular on the show.

9 Real: Deena Nicole Cortese's Arrest in 2012

Jersey Shore Deena Cortese Leaves Jail

Fans witnessed the cast of Jersey Shore constantly partying and drinking on the series. Their actions often led to regrettable get-togethers, all-out arguments, and a few physical confrontations. Despite how terribly the cast members would act in public, it was rare that they were shown getting into any formal trouble. However, there have been some authentic instances of the cast members breaking the law Back in 2012, cast member Deena Nicole Cortese was arrested for disorderly conduct. She explained, "I decided to have a meatball day, and ... I was just drinking all day, all night into all day… I was just trying to dance on the street. Clearly, you can't do that, and I actually got in trouble for not using sidewalks. ... That was my charge. So now I know: Don't dance in the street."

8 Fake: Snooki's Nickname

Snooki became one of the standouts members of the tv series. Not only was she one of the most popular members of the series but her fame lived on well after the series concluded. Along with being recognized by face, her unique nickname added to her fame too. Given that so many aspects of the series have been proven to be false, it should be no surprise that her nickname was one of them. Snooki was not a name that Polizzi had often used before the series. She said, “Before the show, no one really called me ‘Snooki.’ They were looking for nicknames on the application. One of my girlfriends used to call me that, just to be funny, so I wrote that down.”

7 Real: Snooki lived alone during her pregnancy in The Final Season

Snooki Reality TV Sweetheart

The hardcore party lifestyle of the Jersey Shore cast made them infamously popular. Between their clubbing adventures to their hot tub parties, the cast seemed to never have a dull moment. However, for one cast member, the partying ended when adulthood became the priority. Snooki spent the final season of the series pregnant. As expected, her days of partying hard came to an end fairly quickly. She decided to continue being a part of the show, however, she had to spend that time on her own. According to an article by The Hollywood Reporter, she moved into a separate home nearby to distance herself from the other cast members’ partying lifestyle and focus on her pregnancy. Although she admitted to feeling “left out,” she took becoming a mom very seriously.

6 Fake: The Series Was 100% Genuine

Although some series promise to show the “real lives” of its participants, the fact remains that reality shows must keep a steady audience to be profitable. Of course, the best way to maintain an audience for these type of shows has been to create tension, drama, and scandals for the cast members. On occasion, these occurrences happen naturally in the course of filming. In the case of Jersey Shore, fans have actually witnessed the creation of certain scenes of the series. In watching the series being filmed in person, they have seen some scenes being filmed multiple times to get the best reaction shots. In addition, some witnessed claimed to have heard instructions being given to the cast members to direct their “performances.”

5 Real: Snooki charged with conduct issues

Drinking behaviors during the filming of the series often went unnoticed by the law. Whether it was fighting in the streets of Italy or heated arguments at their home, most occurrences did not result in much backlash. However, the local police of Jersey Shore did not take kindly to the cast members being disruptive on their watch. In 2010, Snooki found herself at the center of controversy when she was arrested for disorderly conduct. According to reports, she was disturbing other visitors at the shore after having had too much. She was taken into police custody and formally charged. However, she didn’t commit any other crimes.

4 Fake: Snooki Hit A Police Car In Italy

Jersey Shore Snooki Italy Accident

Despite the rules given to them by the mayor of Florence, the cast still managed to get into trouble during their stay in Italy. Not only did their partying still happen but they managed to outdo themselves with a now infamous vehicular accident. Snooki found herself in the headlines once again after she got into a car accident and hit an Italian police officer’s vehicle. Although the crime being played up in the tabloids, the truth was that she did not hit a police officer. She actually got into an accident with a member of their own security detail.  The victim may have been falsified, but the severity of her crime still remained true. She lost her international driver’s license over the incident.

3 Real: The Situation Is Currently In Prison

Although the cast members of the series had a few minor run-ins with the law during the course of the show, nothing compared the severity of the charges brought against The Situation. In 2018, Sorrentino and his brother Marc Sorrentino pleaded guilty to violating federal tax laws. The charges stemmed from false tax records that had been filed from 2010 through 2012. In the end, the brothers faced actual prison time for their crimes. Mike Sorrentino’s charge of one count of tax evasion led to an eight-month prison sentence. Marc Sorrentino pleaded guilty to “pleaded guilty to one count of aiding in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return” and will face a 24-month prison sentence. The Situation began his prison term in January 2019.

2 Fake: The Infamous Note Incident

In Season 2 of the series, one of the most memorable moments of the series occurred when Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola found an anonymous noting revealing the truth of her wandering boyfriend, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro. Not only did she get into a huge fight with Magro but Snooki and JWoww too. Although they were the ones behind the note’s creation. The show’s producers actually stepped in and contributed to the drama. In an interview with Vulture, Snooki revealed: “We figured Sam would never know it was us because we didn’t have access to phones or computers or printers. We were hoping if she found it, she would think a producer was giving her a heads up. But the producers made sure to tell her, ‘No, it wasn’t us. It was one of your roommates.’”

1 Real: Snooki Getting Hit

Despite the many stages fights and confrontations, one of the most real and scariest moments on the series happened between Snooki and former gym teacher Brad Ferro. During season 1, Snooki confronted him when he took drinks that were intended for her and her group. He lashed out and punched her at the bar. He was later charged with simple assault and sentenced to 6 months of probation and mandatory anger management classes. It was later reported that Ferro had joined the army due to the backlash of the incident. Although the event was very intense, it actually helped the cast overall. Snooki revealed that her clash with Ferro “brought the cast closer together” when they rallied to defend and support her.

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