Who knew in 2009 that a show about a bunch of bros and spray-tanned babes going out and fist pumping to house music would become one of the best shows to ever grace MTV? It would have been easy for Jersey Shore to be a nihilistic look at a group of young Italian American’s penchant for getting drunk and going HAM, but the series, which ran for six seasons, proved to be both highly entertaining and legitimately emotional. Stories about making Jersey Shore are just as intriguing. They show the volatile nature of the cast and the carnival-like atmosphere that existed around everyone making the show.
These Jersey Shore behind-the-scenes stories provide insight into a world no one outside of the cast members were ever able to live. Contract breakdowns, Snooki getting punched, and even the VD contract that everyone had to sign are just the tip of the iceberg.
Snooki explained she initially auditioned for a show called Guidos and Guidettes. She told Vulture, "I went there drunk because it was at a bar, and the rest is history."
The show's casting director, Doron Ofir, said Snooki's audition was "extraordinary." Even though she was drunk, she managed to show off. While chatting with him, she, "literally did cartwheels and flips."
On top of that, some of her signature makeup rubbed off on the casting director. "Her application was smudged with fingerprints from her bronzer to the point that I was like, 'What happened to her application? What spilled on it?'"
One of the most memorable things about Jersey Shore is just how much everyone smooshed on that show; the producers even had a room for all of their smooshing. Because the cast was so sexually active, they had to sign a contract that would protect MTV in case they caught an STI while filming.
The contract allegedly stated the cast would:
...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.
The narrative surrounding the cast of Jersey Shore is that they became millionaires after the show became a sensation, but during the first season, most of them were straight-up broke. Vinny told Vulture the cast did the first season for free, and they almost bailed on the production because of their lack of funds:
Me and Ronnie, the first week, we told production, 'Listen, I think we have to leave. We don’t have any money.' I’d just graduated college, I didn’t have a job. Ronnie was doing real estate at the time, so he was making real estate calls on the duck phone.
On top of Ronnie's duck phone-based real estate work, the cast was also paid for their work at the t-shirt store. The show's producer, SallyAnn Salsano, said she wanted to give viewers the real experience of what it would be like if they were watching people work on the shore. According to the owner of the store, the cast made $20 an hour by the end of filming.
Everyone in the house says they were all a disparate group of people during their first weeks in the house. Snooki and people in the production said none of the roommates liked her - until she took a punch to the face. Doron Ofir told Vulture, "What brought the house together, unfortunately, was the attack on Snooki at that bar - because suddenly, they protected her. At that moment, they became a family."
Snooki said she was trying to endear herself to the cast by buying shots for everyone and some drunk guy kept stealing her drinks. When she yelled at him, he just punched her in the face. She remembers thinking, "Oh, that’s cool. I think I just died."