Shore Thing!

Here’s the situation: Mike “the Situation” Sorrentino isn’t just loving every second of his newfound fame, he’s doing his best to cash in—and that includes trademarking his suddenly popular nom de Jersey. “People are selling clothes with my name on it—dog clothes, baby clothes,” says the Situation, one of the stars of Jersey Shore, the new reality series that may be MTV’s guiltiest pleasure ever. “I hear there’s a drinking game called ‘the Situation.’ It’s wild.”

Wild, tasteless, tanned to a crisp—welcome to Jersey Shore, where the hair gel comes by the case, the alcohol flows like water and the hookups happen faster than you can say “house Jacuzzi.” Since its Dec. 3 premiere, the outrageous series about seven twentysomethings spending their summer in a Seaside Heights, N.J., beach house has almost doubled its ratings, to 2.5 million viewers—and made overnight stars of its foul-mouthed, hard-partying, fist-pumping cast. (An eighth cast member, Angelina “Jolie” Pivarnick, departed the show in episode 3.) “I never would’ve thought it would get this big, ever,” says Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, who says of a recent encounter with celeb fan Ashton Kutcher, “he was so hot, I kept staring at him. But he was more starstruck to meet us!”

Still, not everyone is pro-Jersey: Detractors have taken offense at the cast’s use of the term “guido,” which many view as a slur against Italian-Americans. “They don’t realize it is hate speech,” says Andre DiMino, president of the Italian-American service organization UNICO, which has successfully pressured sponsors like Domino’s Pizza to pull their advertising. “Not every show is for every person,” says MTV programming president Tony DiSanto. “I am Italian. I don’t think the word guido is about all Italians—it’s a particular slice of life.”

The series has spawned other controversies: Public uproar over a scene in which Snooki gets punched in the face by a bar patron prompted MTV to black out the footage. (The attacker, Brad Ferro, pled guilty to simple assault, was fined $500 and is required to take an anger management class.) As for rumors that the muscled male stars use steroids, “it’s absurd,” says castmate Ronnie Magro. For her part, Snooki says her comments about liking “juiced” guys refer to “a guy with big muscles—that’s pretty much it.”

As the show heads toward its Jan. 21 finale, “there’s more drama, hookups—it gets wilder,” teases Ronnie, who is still dating his castmate Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola. MTV says a second season is a possibility, but the single Snooki has her own idea for a spin-off: “I would love to have a show to find a boyfriend,” she says. “Snookin’ for Love.”


Jenni Farley, 24, Franklin Square, N.Y.

She almost split with boyfriend Tom after confessing her on-camera hookup with Pauly D, but she says she and Tom now live together. (There are no hard feelings between the men, who “said hi to each other” after the cast hosted MTV’s New Year’s Eve bash.) The designer hopes to launch a line of her club-ready clothes: “Everything I wore on the show, I made. The ripped jeans and everything—it’s my style.”


Mike Sorrentino, 28, Staten Island, N.Y.

Despite rumors that he once worked as an exotic dancer, “I wasn’t really,” he says. “I was a dude that walked around serving drinks with my shirt off at a male-revue-type club.” As for those abs, “it’s like a recipe to have [a body like] the Situation,” he says. “I have good genetics, and I work out six days a week.” He’s still single and says, “Once I take care of this reality world, I’d like to try some acting.”


Pauly DelVecchio, 29, Johnston, R.I.

“My hair’s a process. I blow-dry it up; I got a special gel, Spiker, that I use, a special comb…. The Situation is my best friend. Our schedule consists of the exact same things: gym, tan, laundry.”


Vinny Guadagnino, 22, Staten Island, N.Y.

“I don’t have to do anything [to get women] anymore. I went from two friend requests to 2,000 on Facebook. It’s superficial, but I’ll take it!”


Nicole Polizzi, 22, Marlboro, N.Y.

Sure, she’s a party girl who “loves being the center of attention,” but the 4’9″ breakout star says she is a closet “dork” who loves science fiction (“Roswell is my favorite show of all time”). As for the wild side she flaunts on the show, “obviously my parents see stuff they don’t want to see, but my mom and dad are my biggest fans.” And while she’s “trying to move on” from talk of her infamous punch, “it brought us all together as a family,” she says of the cast, “so there’s a positive out of it.”


Sammi Giancola, 22, Hazlet, N.J.

“Ronnie and I just click. My friends think [the Situation] is very into himself and not the right kind of guy for me, so it was funny how they were like, ‘I’m so glad you picked Ronnie.’ … No marriage, no moving in together—we’re just taking things one day at a time.”


Ronnie Magro, 24, Bronx, N.Y.

Ronnie, who hopes to open a tanning salon in New York, gets into fights in upcoming episodes, including one that briefly landed him in jail. “People auditioned for the show and didn’t make it, so a lot of kids down there were sour,” he says. “We didn’t go out looking for problems, but problems came to us.”


Updated by Diane Herbst
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