Fist pumps, partying and hooking up are all part of MTV’s smash reality series Jersey Shore, which centers around eight Italian American twentysomethings as they summer in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Popularizing terms like “guido” and “guidette” and catch phrases including “GTL” (gym, tan, laundry), series stars Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Vinny Guadagnino, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Angelina Pivarnick, Pauly Delvecchio, Ronnie Magro, Samantha “Sweetheart” Giancola and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, won raves from viewers and provided the network some of its best ratings to date.
Often deemed a guilty reality TV pleasure, Jersey Shore‘s first season premiered in Dec. 2009, and was not without controversy. From a drunken bar patron punching Polizzi in the face, to Magro’s arrest for alleged assault, the Shore cast saw some of their most private moments unfold in front of the cameras.
The cast’s outrageous behavior has been a cause of concern for Italian American advocacy groups including the National Italian American Foundation, which slammed the group for having “more in common with the adolescent residents of Animal House than with Italian Americans.” MTV advertisers Dell, Domino’s and American Family Insurance requested their ads not be aired during the program, declaring that the content was not a fit for their product.
Still, Jersey Shore delivered massive ratings for the network — nearly 5 million viewers tuned in for the first season finale — and MTV picked up the series for a second season, airing in summer 2010. The show went on to air for six seasons until 2012.
The original cast, with the exception of Giancola, returned in 2018 for a revival series, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation. Season 2 is currently airing.