50 Undeniably Iconic Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About 'Jersey Shore'

celebrity sighting in miami april 9, 2010
50 Iconic BTS Facts About 'Jersey Shore'Larry Marano - Getty Images

MTV has blessed us with many absolute classics over the years: The Ashlee Simpson Show, The Hills, Laguna Beach, Date My Mom, Newlyweds. Basically, if it came out in the 2000s and was completely unhinged, chances are, it aired on MTV. But not even the wildest episodes of Date My Mom can top the gift to humanity that is Jersey Shore, a social experiment that involved shoving a bunch of tanned and bronzed strangers into a house together with nothing to do but GTL and just...seeing what happened.

What happened was, naturally, absolute chaos and we got a handful of one-liners that haunt us to this very day. Like, I, for one, am unable to jump into an Uber without screaming, "Cabs are here!" And it's almost impossible for me to be physically near the ocean without asking one of life's most profound questions: "Where is the beach?"

Anyway, check out 50 little-known behind-the-scenes secrets from Jersey Shore. But before we get into it, a quick note to everyone named Sam: "The first night at bed when you left, Ron made out with 2 girls and put his head between a waitress's breasts." Oh and also, "When you left crying at klutch, Ron was holding hands and dancing with a female and took down her number. Multiple people in the house know, therefore you should know the truth."

K bye.


The Situation Took His Shirt Off Immediately During His Audition

Executive producer SallyAnn Salsano told Vulture during an incredible must-read oral history of Jersey Shore that Mike walked into his interview and said, "Okay, let me just take my shirt off first." He then went ahead and added, "Enough said, right?"

I mean, yep.

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Snooki Did Her Audition Drunk

As she revealed on Live With Kelly and Ryan in 2018, "I saw a thing on Facebook. I always wanted to go on Real World, I always wanted to be a reality star. Then I saw Guidos and Guidettes, and was like, 'That's me!' I went to the audition wasted. I needed liquid courage, so I did it."

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They Almost Cast a Dude Named 'Joey Fist Pumps'

Casting director Doron Ofir told Vulture, "At one point, there was a guy named 'Joey Fist Pumps' in the mix." Tragically, he couldn't be hired due to being "a union contractor."

As for how he got his nickname, I mean duh: He was known for his fist pumps, to the point where "girls wore Joey Fist Pumps T-shirts when they walked around him."

*To be clear, Joey Fist Pumps is not Goofy, there just isn't a photo of this legend (which is a CRIME).

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The Show Was Nearly Recast After the First Season

Did you gasp when you read that? Because I did.

According to the New York Post, production assembled an entirely new cast ahead of the show's second season. Luckily, they ultimately chose to stick with the originals (with Deena joining towards the end of season two), and every bone in my body is so grateful for that decision.

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It Was Supposed to Be a Competition Show

According to The Hollywood Reporter, SallyAnn was originally hired to develop an all-male competition show called Guidos. Truly feels like a crime to even imagine this show without Snooki and JWoww.

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Angelina Legitimately Showed Up With Her Stuff in Garbage Bags

To be fair, she didn't have any notice, so she "literally just took [her] stuff and threw all of it in garbage bags" before driving to Seaside.

"I'll never live that one down, but hey," she told Vulture.

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The Show Almost Got Cancelled??

While the cast eventually got so famous that they were starring in commercials of their own (I respect the hustle), some companies reportedly wanted nothing to do with the show—especially when it was still titled Guidos—for fear of alienating Italian-American groups. "[We were afraid the] show was going to get pulled," SallyAnn told the New York Post." Advertisers were pulling out. Domino's [Pizza] pulled out. It wasn't like we were out to ruin the guido. We're celebrating it."

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Pauly D ~Committed~ in His Casting Tape

In a twist that absolutely everyone saw coming, Pauly D sent in a "self-produced" casting tape that was oozing with nods to New Jersey's finest. It was so detailed that he had Rocky playing in the background on the TV set. He had the Italian flag and a picture of a Ferrari and Tony Soprano on the wall," Doron told the New York Post. "Once we saw that, it was like: 'What do we do with this guy?'"

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But Then He Almost Didn't Do the Show

During the casting process, Pauly D said producers filmed a "day in the life" video with him and then essentially ghosted him for six months—until they didn't. "I get a phone call and they're like, 'Can you pack for 30 days?'" he said on the Full Send podcast. "I didn't want to do it because I didn't want to lose my DJ gigs. I was DJing six nights a week at these local Rhode Island bars." He also added that once filming was over, he didn't hear anything about the show's status until he heard his own voice on a commercial while he was doing his hair. Of course.

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The House Had 42 Cameras Inside

"The transparent amount of footage we shot on this show is unprecedented," SallyAnn told Vulture.

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They Also Lined the Boardwalk With Cameras

SallyAnn's not kidding. On top of the house and Shore Store being filled with cameras, producers placed recording devices "up and down the boardwalk"and "wired the entire town."

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Production Had a Back-Up House Next Door

Viewers might remember a pregnant Snooki moving into a house next door during the show's final season. Turns out production always maintained a second home for the cast. Why? SallyAnn told Entertainment Weekly that the back-up house was reserved for "meltdowns" that required cast members to be separated from each other.

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Snooki Got Bronzer All Over Her Paperwork

According to Doron, Snooki's penchant for bronzer was well underway during the casting process. "She had bronzer all over herself," he told the New York Post. "When she filled out the release, it was covered in orange fingerprints."

If someone hasn't framed this paperwork and put it in MTV's headquarters, idek what to say.

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There Is No Script Whatsoever

I mean, who needs a script when people are this naturally entertaining? As Pauly D confirmed to Bustle, "We don't have a script. Never had a script for 10 years, not even a little bit… not even a little bit."

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But They Do Have ~The Book~

Pauly added, "The only thing we have is a book that tells us the places that we're allowed to film. We tell the producers where we wanna go, we can't go alone, that's it."

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The Duck Phone Wasn't Planned

SallyAnn told Vulture that she didn't want to leave the iconic phone in the show, but it accidentally stayed in the house. As she put it, "The show started and I'm like, 'Oh my God, we left that duck phone in there.' Now the duck phone is the national symbol of Jersey Shore."I have no complaints...

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A Season Films in Just Under Two Months...

In case you were wondering, The Hollywood Reporter reports (heh) that Jersey Shore's shoots run 30 to 50 days per season.

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And They Film 600 Hours for Every Hour Shown

Pauly also confirmed this nugget of info, telling Bustle, "People go home, sometimes they relax on the couch and watch TV. We do that, but they're not gonna show that, it's not good television... They film 600 hours for an hour of TV time." Umm...

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Vinny Did Not Think He Was a Guido

"The application called for the biggest, muscly, orange-skin, spiky-hair guidos in the area. I took offense to that. I look nothing like that," he told the New York Post. "So I filled out the application almost as a joke." According to SallyAnn, though, the joke was on him. "Vinny's casting tape was like, 'I’m not a guido'— and I'm like, 'You're the biggest guido.' There are different types."

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Deena Was Almost an OG

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Deena was one of a dozen final candidates production was considering for the first season of the show. She ultimately decided to drop out of the audition process when she learned her grandmother was sick.

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Snooki's Interview Involved Gymnastics

Doron also told Vulture that Snooki "showed up in a miniskirt and she literally did cartwheels and flips" during her audition. Just a note for your future job interviews!

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They Actually Didn't Have a Hot Tub on the Roof

While it seemed like the cast's beloved hot tub was on the roof of their house, Jezebel reported that it instead was located on top of the T-shirt shop. How's that for work-life balance?

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The Cast Didn't Make Money, Except at the Shore Store

...at least in season one. Meaning, everyone basically signed onto this show for free.

"We would get $200 a week from the Shore Store," Snooki told InStyle (per People). "I had never gotten that much in a week, like, every single week, because you usually get paid every two weeks. That was crazy for me."

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They Had to Work at the Shore Store Even When They Were Famous

JWoww told Vulture that the store staff would literally tell customers, "These guys are still working. Can't talk about the show. Be normal.”

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Their Living Situation Was Disgusting

The Hollywood Reporter took a set visit to Jersey Shore's Italy location (truly iconic) and had this to say: "The cast still lives in complete squalor. The Situation and Ronnie’s bathroom had half-eaten food tucked into corners, and a completely blocked sink during THR's visit."

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They Only Get One Private Call a Week

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "The rest of the time, their phone calls are filmed for the show."

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They Couldn't Even Write Notes

"We limited personal phone calls to once a week. There was no television, no cell phones, no computers, no writing notes, no going off anywhere in private without a producer," one anon producer said during a Reddit AMA. "Partying was their only form of entertainment. They didn't have technology, but they always had a fridge stocked with alcohol. You know what that means. PARTAY."

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Bobby Bank - Getty Images

The Scarface Poster Couldn't Be More Authentic

SallyAnn told New Jersey dot com (amazing) that the poster "was in every single cast member's house that we went to" and is "very true to who they are."

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The Cast Had to Sign an STD Clause

According to Today, their contract states: "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 sexually transmitted diseases) and I assume all risks of interacting with the other participants, including any consensual contact.”

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Snooki's Nickname Came From a Movie

"I was in middle school, I think it was like eighth grade, and I was the first girl in my girlfriends to make out with a guy," she told Rachael Ray in 2010. "So you know Save the Last Dance, Snooki the cootchie crook? It was the DJ. Anyway, my girls started calling me 'Snooki,' so it just stuck ever since."

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Leonardo DiCaprio Reportedly Quoted Lines From the Show

"The first night we went out in Los Angeles, we met Leonardo DiCaprio," Vinny told the New York Post. "Not only did we meet him, he was reciting lines from the show back to us. I remember he was hooking me up with girls. He raised his glass and tipped it to me like he does in The Great Gatsby." I have never needed something to be true so badly in my life.

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They Tried to Make 'Jolie' Happen

Remember when Angelina was briefly going by "Jolie?" Me neither, because it definitely didn't stick, but according to the aforementioned producer on Reddit, "Producers didn't make up that nickname. That is the nickname she told casting. Everyone was asked if they had a nickname and what their nickname was. She said hers was Jolie."

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No, Really, There Was Like...Zero Privacy

As Pauly D told the New York Post, "I thought there was no way girls [would] wanna hook up on camera — they had to give producers their phones, sign paperwork. But they didn't care."

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Larry Marano - Getty Images

Snooki Was Delivering Cows in Her Free Time

Yep, she told Vulture that she was training to be a veterinary technician when she got cast, and "would help deliver cows." Need to see this spin-off.

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Troy Rizzo - Getty Images

Behold: The Origin of GTL

No, it was not a cast original. Instead, it came straight from the minds of producers. "We started summarizing the day's shoots on whiteboards and just started writing GTL for short [instead of Gym Tan Laundry]," SallyAnn told Complex. "Pauly was in front of the camera like, 'GTL? What's that?'" And thus, one of the world's best catchphrases was born.

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And Speaking of Tanning, It Was a Daily Occurrence

Lori Vogel, a.k.a. the owner of Simply Sun Tanning, told Vulture, "We would have somebody in, I would say, almost every day. Typically they'd tan like 10, 12 minutes. Luckily, when they were filming, it was summer, and summer is always a bit slower for a tanning salon." LOL...

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Producers Lived With the Cast in Italy

SallyAnn told Vulture that they'd "treat the cameras like baby monitors," meaning, "If it was quiet, you ran upstairs and went to sleep. The minute you heard them chirping, you ran back downstairs."

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Some People Think Snooki's Italy Car Accident Was Staged

During the ~very eventful~ Italy trip, Snooki famously hit a police car. According to The Daily Beast, the car actually belonged to security detail hired by MTV. The perfectly placed cameras raised eyebrows. "They were traveling at a very slow speed and it looked like the car intentionally hit the police escort and then kept moving forward for no reason," an Italian police officer said. Snooki's international license was revoked following the incident though...

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The Pizza Shop in Italy Was Rented Out By MTV

The gang went from shilling T-shirts at the Shore Store in Jersey to slinging pies at O'Vesuvio, an Italian pizzeria. In reality, MTV rented out the pizza shop for the entire six-week trip and recruited camera-ready customers to dine at the shop. "They told us in advance that the pizzeria would be closed to regular business for six weeks," an Italian local told The Daily Beast. "The owners are making a killing on this."

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Yes, They Really Drank That Much

Storytime with JWoww real quick: "Back in the day, I would drink, like, four Long Island Iced Teas and be cross-eyed, and then five or six shots on top, lemon drops. I'd just be completely nauseous and hugging the toilet for eight hours."

Genuinely feel hungover just reading this.

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Production Didn't Let Drunk Guests in the House

On the Bachelor Party podcast, SallyAnn revealed that guests had to go through vigorous screenings to get into the house. "We checked their IDs with an outside service, just like a bar with all of the machines and field sobriety [tests]. We don't want inebriated people because that's just not fun."

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The Crew Created a Production Hub in a Parking Lot

According to Jezebel, production rented all the property across the street from the Shore house and turned a nearby parking lot into their HQ—with a tent for security, two tents for equipment, a Porta-Potty, and a trailer for crew.

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Production Basically Ran the Beach

Jezebel also reported that production set a tent up on the boardwalk where everyone had to show ID and sign a release form. Which, WILD! Oh, and according to this bystander, "A production assistant came up to us — multiple times — and gave us instructions on how to 'act' for the 'reality' show."

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The Cast Held Literally Nothing Back

Snooki told Rolling Stone: "Even emotionally, I let it out. I feel people relate to us because we're real. And everything that I went through the first season, that happens to people. You get drunk and then you wake up the next day and are like, 'Oh shit.' That happens to a lot of girls, and I got a lot of fan mail from that, being like, 'Oh my God, I do the same thing, I feel you.'"

We love a relatable queen.

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Buuuuuut Sometimes They Got Bored

"It's funny, sometimes we'd sit in there and say, 'This is boring,'" Snooki told Rolling Stone. "We could never comprehend what the mass audience was going to see about the show; we were just living our life. Once in a while you'd picture, 'Am I going to have fans?'


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They Weren't Allowed to Know About Current Events

While we've already touched on the fact that they weren't allowed to watch TV or read, the cast was also shielded from literally every single thing that was going on in the world. As Snooki told Rolling Stone, "If the president died, we wouldn't know."

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MTV Had to Cough Up Some Cash to Get Permission to Film in Italy

The Italy season was positioned as a chance for the cast to get in touch with their ancestors. (Are all of them Italian? No, but just go with it.)

Per The Daily Beast, MTV's requests for permission to film in some of Florence's historic locales were denied until the network reportedly made a donation to a "Florentine cultural fund."

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The Cast Didn't Get a Break Between Seasons

SallyAnn revealed that season five had been green-lit while they were filming season four in Italy, with production slated to begin immediately when they touched back down in Seaside Heights. The cast learned they wouldn't get a break in between seasons just minutes before the season give announcement went public. "They're going to hate me," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Watching the Episodes Stirred Up Old Drama

While filming the show's third season, producers made the cast watch the season two episodes that were currently airing, a move that often reignited old drama in the house. Deena told the New York Post that she began having panic attacks. "I was crying a lot," she said.

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Production Thought They Were Going to Get Kicked Out of Italy

"After Mike ran his head into the wall, I remember calling MTV and being like, 'OK, I don't want to be crazy, but I feel like we should get the Shore house ready to go. If something happens here, and we literally get thrown out of the country, we have to be ready to just go back to Jersey,'" she told Bustle.

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