Return to Jersey Shore

Members of the Jersey Shore cast having a meal at their home in Miami Beach.
Members of the Jersey Shore cast having a meal at their home in Miami Beach.PHOTO: NYTIMES

MTV has revived Jersey Shore Family Vacation although it is unclear if there is still staying power in the franchise

MIAMI BEACH • Two weeks into their month-long stay here, the reunited roommates of MTV's Jersey Shore Family Vacation had settled into a comfortable routine. On this warm February evening, Vinny, Ronnie, Pauly D and the Situation were in town buying groceries.

On the upper level of their Spanish colonial waterfront home, Snooki was showering.

Downstairs, JWoww and Deena were preparing a meal of chicken parmigiana and splitting a bottle of wine.

There would be dining and conversation later that night, before the seven friends went out to a burlesque nightclub.

At present, though, JWoww was predicting that it would take her and Deena "about seven glasses of wine each" to finish cooking.

As Deena said: "We're trying to keep it classy. We're older now."

It has been just over five years since the curtain came down on Jersey Shore, the reality series that tracked a group of lovably loutish young men and women at their Seaside Heights, New Jersey, vacation house and in the bars, gyms and tanning salons of the world beyond.

In the six seasons from 2009 to 2012, Jersey Shore was a genuine phenomenon, drawing up to nine million viewers an episode, giving MTV much-needed cachet and making unlikely cultural icons of its proudly unrefined leads.

Since then, life has changed for this bronze-hued crew.

Jenni Farley (JWoww), Nicole Polizzi (Snooki) and Deena Cortese all found husbands.

Farley and Polizzi are each the mother of two young children, while Paul DelVecchio (Pauly D) is the father of a young daughter.

Michael Sorrentino (also known as The Situation) got sober and, in January, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of tax evasion, for which he faces sentencing this spring.

MTV has had its own drama, turning over executives and never finding another show to match the viewership or influence of Jersey Shore at its peak.

Now, the network is readying the resuscitated Jersey Shore Family Vacation - which will make its debut on Thursday, and for which it has already ordered a second season - when it is unclear if there is still staying power in the franchise or if it was just a fun cultural fluke.

SallyAnn Salsano, creator and executive producer of the Jersey Shore series, said she had been baffled by the show's cancellation.

"I always felt like it ended before its time," she added. In its last season, it was drawing about two to three million viewers an episode and top executives assumed that it had run its course.

The cast members were growing older and growing out of their party-all-the-time ethos.

But Salsano has another take: "I understood that their lives were changing and the show can change with it."

MTV tried a spin-off reality series, Snooki & JWoww, which ran from 2012 to 2015, and gave Vinny Guadagnino his own offbeat talk programme, The Show With Vinny, which ran for one season in 2013.

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro and DelVecchio did stints on E! channel's Famously Single, while Cortese appeared on VH1's Couples Therapy.

Sorrentino was featured on Food Network's Worst Cooks In America and Polizzi was a short-lived contestant on NBC's The New Celebrity Apprentice (in the season hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger).

All the while, the housemates said no other opportunity felt like the right fit. "We basically were begging MTV to bring us back," Polizzi said. "We were begging everyone to bring us back."

But coming back to the Jersey Shore series has brought up a range of anxious and existential feelings for its cast, who wonder if viewers will still want to see them settle their differences with calm consideration and less head-butting and fisticuffs.

"I'm basically the only single one in the house," DelVecchio said. "I'm like, how's this going to work? Who's going to be my wingman?"

Polizzi said she worried about being away from her young children for long stretches of time and how her husband would feel about taking on more household duties.

"He was like, 'Go, babe, have fun'," she said. "'Make that money. Enjoy yourself.'"

And she did.

"I had to keep telling myself, yes, you miss the kids, but you can be a bad mum for a little bit.

"Go drink. Go blackout. Do what you've got to do."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2018, with the headline 'Return to Jersey Shore'. Print Edition | Subscribe