‘Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino Shares What Turned the ‘Jersey Shore’ Cast From Roommates to Family

MTV’s Jersey Shore introduced the world to the “GTL” lifestyle — gym, tan, laundry, that is. Aside from giving viewers a slew of new catchphrases to use, the reality series also emphasized the importance of family. Find out what allowed a group of strangers to become a family at the Jersey Shore. 

'Jersey Shore' family
Cast of MTV’s ‘Jersey Shore’ Season 1 | Photo by Gregg DeGuire/MTV/FilmMagic

Some of the ‘Jersey Shore’ roommates got off to a rocky start 

When Jersey Shore started, there was some friction in the house. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was the last roommate to arrive, but the first to make a name for herself. “Party’s here!” Polizzi exclaimed as she entered the now-famous shore house. “She was like a miniature Chihuahua painted with some spray paint,” Sorrentino commented, referring to Polizzi’s bubbly personality. “You guys drinking, or what?” Polizzi said, ready to start taking shots with her new roommates. 

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After a night of drunken antics, Polizzi felt a twinge of guilt the next day. She apologized to her roommates for making the wrong first impression, but things didn’t feel quite right in the house until something horrific happened. 

‘Snooki’s punch to the face united the ‘Jersey Shore’ roommates

During the first season of Jersey Shore, the roommates attracted a lot of trouble in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. “When drunk people saw the cameras, it was a very hostile experience,” Vinny Guadagnino recalled to Vulture. “We almost got into fights every single night we went out.” Often, the crowds of people at the bars and nightclubs they frequented would try to instigate a fight. One fateful night at the Beachcomber Bar and Grill, Polizzi was punched in the face by a drunk patron. 

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“[There was] a verbal altercation after which [Brad Ferro] struck her in the face,” Seaside Heights Det. Steve Korman told the New York Post. “[Nicole] sustained an injury to the inside of her mouth due to the punch.” Ferro was arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct, but not before being chased out of the bar by Polizzi’s roommates. Guadagnino, Pauly DelVecchio, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro followed Ferro and the cops, screaming and questioning why he would ever “hit a girl.” Back inside, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola and Jenni “JWoww” Farley rallied around Polizzi to make sure she was alright. 

Sunday dinners transformed the roommates from friends to family

Polizzi taking a punch to the face may have united the Jersey Shore roommates, but Sunday dinners allowed them to become a family. Sunday family dinner was very important because it brought us together,” Sorrentino told Vulture. “Someone would set the table, and someone would make the salad, and we would all eat together and say grace.” Regardless of how many fights the roommates would get into or with whom, they always came together at the end of the week as a family. “We came together on Sunday dinner and put our differences aside, and we always had differences.”

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As for the meals that brought them all together, sausage and peppers were always a favorite, according to Sorrentino. Chicken parmesan with fresh tomato sauce and sautéed vegetables was always at the top of the list, too.